Thousands of claims rolled into insurers Tuesday from a massive hailstorm Monday, unreserved rental cars were unavailable, and glass-, roof- and vehicle-repair businesses were flooded with calls, with some scheduling work months from now.
USAA received 8,000 claims for damage to homes and vehicles Tuesday, twice as many as from the June 13 hailstorm that hit Fountain, the insurance and financial services giant reported. Other top insurers, including State Farm, Farmers and Progressive, didn’t have claims numbers or didn’t return calls.
Damage from major hailstorms along the Front Range, which totaled more than $500 million before Monday’s storm, already triggered rate increases by insurers, said Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association in Greenwood Village.
“We are already seeing rate increases, and this looks to be another major catastrophic event that will add to the losses,” she said. “It will also add to the backups with roofing contractors and body shops.”
Estimates of the number and total value of the claims are expected to be available next week. Walker said she expects those estimates to surpass the 26,000 vehicle and homeowner’s insurance claims totaling $169 million from the hailstorm that hit Fountain on June 13.
USAA sent a mobile claims center to The Home Depot in the Southgate shopping center, 2250 Southgate Road, to process claims and answer policyholder questions. A second mobile claims center will arrive later, said Becca Nelson, a spokeswoman at USAA’s San Antonio headquarters.
Rental car agencies at the Colorado Springs Airport were honoring existing reservations but weren’t taking new ones, at least for a day or two, said Aviation Director Greg Phillips. All major car rental companies in the Colorado Springs area listed no vehicles for rent in Colorado Springs early Tuesday.
Auto glass giant Safelite brought in 30 extra technicians from around the nation Tuesday to help with more than 2,000 appointments scheduled since the storm hit Monday, said Eric Carruth, district manager for Colorado Springs and Denver. The company was booking appointments for next week.
“This storm was twice as bad as the last one,” Carruth said. “Because of 10 hailstorms between Pueblo and Wyoming since June, some pieces of glass are becoming difficult to find. We are getting daily truckloads from across the country to keep up. I would expect there are 2,000 to 5,000 vehicles that will need glass replacement. We will get to them as quickly as possible. We are finding a lot of damage to windshields and back windows and even some side windows.”
City Glass phones were “blowing up” with 150 calls for repairs since the storm, said company President Chris Bole. Service technicians were put on mandatory overtime, and repairs now are being scheduled for the end of August.
Jackie Richardson, customer relations employee at Status Symbol Auto Body, said the downtown shop is now scheduling repairs in December or January, with a backlog of hundreds of vehicles. The shop’s 13 employees are putting in extra hours on nights and weekends to reduce the backlog, she said.
Dave Beem, owner of Beem’s Collision Center at 6275 E. Platte Ave., said he is scheduling appointments for October and November, and that doesn’t even include any from the latest storm. He said the shop’s employees are working extra hours to try to keep up.
“We have cars showing up on tow trucks overnight. The insurance companies want us to figure out a way to get it done. It is overwhelming.”
Brttanee Sinclair, executive assistant at Old World Roofing, said the company took 87 calls Tuesday and is scheduling appointments for next week.
The storm unleashed softball-sized hail on the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and surrounding area, injuring 14 people and numerous zoo animals as well as killing a vulture and a duck. About 3,400 people were evacuated from the zoo after the storm, which caused extensive damage and forced the zoo to remain closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hanover School District 28 canceled the first day of school Tuesday because of hail damage.
Jack Damioli, president of The Broadmoor, said the resort had “hail damage like any other business in Colorado Springs,” but declined further comment.