Insurance agencies classify hailstorm as ‘catastrophic’

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Michael Lawson, a State Farm insurance adjuster from Ft. Worth, Texas, examines the hood of a vehicle Wednesday afternoon at a mobile claims center in the Lowe’s parking lot on North Prince Street.

Sharna Johnson

A hailstorm that moved through the area in a span of about 30 minutes more than two weeks ago has left lasting effects on the community.

Insurance companies have classified the event as catastrophic, bringing in teams of agents and adjusters to process hundreds of claims.

State Farm insurance — between four agents — had as of Tuesday logged almost 1,300 home and auto claims, according to spokeswoman Tamara Pachl.

And one of Clovis’ two Allstate agencies had logged 350 claims as of Friday, according to agent Rebecca Marquez, who said the last catastrophic event close to this one she recalls was the tornado in March 2007.

“We’ve been pretty swamped with claims. There is just so many,” she said. “We’re pretty busy. We hadn’t had (a hailstorm) in a while this big.”

Marquez said the majority of the damage was in the northeast area of the community.

Albuquerque Meteorologist Chuck Jones said while not uncommon for the region and season, the June 12 hail event was significant.

The hail hit and moved through the community between 7:30 and 8 p.m., he said, with reports of hail up to 1.75 inches in diameter, or “golf ball-sized”.

“I’m sure there was a lot of hail damage,” he said. “I wouldn’t say (it’s) typical; it was an above average storm to bring that size of hail. It’s fairly common actually, but that was large hail over a pretty significant area.”

And the weather is expected to remain moist and stormy he said, as Hurricane Alex moves inland.

“Perhaps some of the moisture from the remnants of Alex could move inland (through the southeast areas of the) state this weekend,” he said.

Even the city was not spared the damage, according to Emergency Management Director Ken De Los Santos, who said adjusters are working to tally damages to city vehicles and facilities this week.

“I’m not surprised just because of the wideness of that particular storm. It hit all over our town and county,” he said, explaining accompanied by severe weather alerts and warnings, the storm brought with it high winds and heavy rains.

Throughout the community, businesses have sprung up offering various hail damage repair services from auto to roofing.

Last week the city issued a caution to residents to verify contractors possess local licensing and bonding.