The number of insurance claims associated with a storm packing up to softball-sized hail that tore through parts of eastern New Mexico a week ago is lower than expected, according to local insurance companies.
Melrose and Dora were the hardest hit communities from the storm that also spun off a weak tornado.
Local insurance agents said although claims were lower than expected, there have been enough to keep them busy.
Robin Pebsworth, owner and insurance agent for Pebsworth Insurance in Portales, said her company received a few auto claims for hail damage from Floyd and Portales but not nearly as many as expected.
“It was not what I was expecting,” Pebsworth said. “I expected a whole lot worse on Wednesday morning but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But we kept busy.”
The EFO tornado (lowest on the Fujita scale) touched down just outside Floyd and Dora but caused no severe damage, unlike the hail, which left certain areas of the two communities looking like a war zone. Most of the damage was to roofs and house and vehicle windows.
“I don’t know yet,” Melrose resident Jason McDonald said of what his house damages total. “The insurance adjuster was here, but I won’t know for two weeks.”
McDonald said he would estimate the shingle damage to his roof and the nine broken windows on his house as adding up to more than $5,000.
J.K. Kos, an insurance agent from Farm Bureau Financial Services in Clovis, said his company has had numerous insurance adjusters in Ruidoso, assessing property damage from the Little Bear Fire currently in progress, so they had to call in out-of-state re-enforcements to assess local hail damage.
“Every car window was pretty much broken out in Melrose,” Kos said. “It was a rough week.”
Kos said he did not know the number of claims his company had received in the last week but adjusters were busy in the area.
Matthew Hunton, of Hunton Insurance in Portales, said 20 claims have been filed with his company, which was less than expected.
“The hail itself mostly avoided Portales. We just had some pea-sized hail,” Hunton said. “Most of the claims at this point, adjusters are looking at, so they haven’t put numbers on them yet.”
New Mexico State Farm Auto Claims Manager Kris Sweeney said 619 auto claims have been filed for the Curry and Roosevelt County area and Hobbs and Lovington in the last week, which is what would be expected after severe hail storms like the Tuesday night one.
She said home owner claims were less than 100, which is not a severe number after large-sized hail.
She said local State Farm agents have also had to bring in outside agents to help with local claims.
“We’re expecting that (claims) number to grow as people realize they have damage and realize we’re in the area as far as catastrophe services for State Farm,” Sweeney said. “We really encourage people to go ahead and report their claims timely so we can look at it and resolve their claims for them.”