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Insurance claims pile up after Black Forest fire

By: WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com
June 16, 2013 Updated: June 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm
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Three of the largest insurance carriers in Colorado reported Saturday that they have received about 1,100 claims related to the Black Forest fire.

USAA had received about 600 claims from the fire by Saturday afternoon, said Nicole Alley, a company spokeswoman in San Antonio.

Farmers Insurance received 374 claims by Saturday afternoon, said Mark Toohey, a company spokesman in the Los Angeles area.

State Farm had received nearly 130 claims stemming from the fire by Saturday morning, said Angela Thorpe, a company spokeswoman in the Denver area. The company has brought in additional resources to help customers with claims, she said.

"Claims representatives have been helping our customers from the time when the first evacuations were called, located in multiple locations, even meeting with customers at their hotels," Thorpe said. "We've been answering questions our customers have about their coverage, filing claims, walking our customers through the claims process, issuing advances anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 and setting up our customers in temporary housing."

All three insurers and many other carriers have claims representatives at the El Paso County Disaster Recovery Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road.

The fire, which started Tuesday, destroyed 480 homes, damaged 17, killed two people and burned 15,500 acres as of 4:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234 Twitter @wayneheilman

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