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Insurers, property owners tally Sandy's damage

USA Today
Insurers, property owners tally Sandy's damage - Insurers - Sandy - property inssurance - USA

Most people stay home from work during a hurricane, but for Ben Sykes, 31, Hurricane Sandy was a time to get moving. An insurance adjuster for State Farm, Sykes works on the company's team that handles large and complex claims.

On Monday and Tuesday, he was one of hundreds of adjusters who met with homeowners to deal with their most pressing issues: finding new places to live and getting money for basic living expenses. "It's all hands on deck," he says. "We get as many people to assist as possible."

And a staggering number of people need assistance now. Calls are pouring in to insurance companies from up and down the East Coast. Catastrophe risk modeling firm Eqecat estimates that Sandy will do $10 billion to $20 billion in total economic damages and $5 billion to $10 billion in insured losses. More than 1 million homes have been evacuated.

An army of claims adjusters is working its way toward the hardest-hit areas, tackling the enormous task of evaluating damage, putting a price tag on it — and deciding whether it's covered by insurance. Experts agree that the nation's insurers have enough money to pay for the staggering damage done by one of the biggest storms to hit the East Coast. Just how much will be covered will depend on what kind of insurance property owners have, how well they have documented their losses — and the damage estimates that adjusters arrive at.


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