CEDAR RAPIDS — Claims adjusters have been moved into position by United Fire Group and Allied Insurance to respond to damage from Tropical Storm Isaac in states along the Gulf of Mexico.
David Conner, United Fire Group vice president and chief claims officer, said the Cedar Rapids-based property and casualty company began preparing for Isaac over the weekend.
“Our office in New Orleans is fully staffed and we’re staying in touch with those folks,” Conner said. “We also have our storm team enroute to the area. Some of them are on call to be sure they will have the hotel rooms we have set up for them.”
Des Moines-based Allied Insurance also is prepared to set up storm centers in hardest hit areas to receive and handle claims from customers. Claims representatives will be dispatched from these locations to assess property damage.
Conner said the damage is not expected to be anywhere near as severe as the $367 million impact of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“There will be shingles off, trees down and power will be lost for a time in certain areas,” he said. “We aren’t looking at this as an extremely significant severe-type event like Katrina was seven years ago.
“We are going to have claims, as are other insurance carriers that are more prominently represented in that area.”
Conner said United Fire took steps after Katrina to reduce its exposure in the hurricane-prone region within limits imposed by state regulators.
“The exposure that we had accumulated in that portion of the Gulf Mexico was sizable enough to be worrisome for a company our size,” he said. “After Katrina, we made plans over the years so that it was as minimally invasive to the policyholders and our agents as possible.
“We moved away from as much of the personal lines business and the commercial lines as we thought we should. We wanted to bring our exposure to a category 1, category 2 or category 3 hurricane in that concentrated area to better match the size of company that we are.”