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Haley Nelson inspects damages to her family properties in Panama City, Fla., after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida's Panhandle on Wednesday.

BLOOMINGTON — Teams from State Farm are surveying damage from Hurricane Michael and assessing what resources are needed to respond to customers' needs, a spokeswoman for the insurance company said Thursday.

It is the second major hurricane to hit the Southeast in less than four weeks.

“We are mobilizing teams of claims adjusters, trained for disaster response, all across the affected area,” Mikal Brower, State Farm public affairs specialist, said in an email. “We are on the ground and ready to help our customers.”

In addition to staff on the scene, including State Farm agents and agents' staff, thousands of employees are handling claims nationwide in the company's centralized operations hubs, she said.

“We have three Centralized Catastrophe Services operations and our Initial Loss Reporting teams located throughout the United States,” said Brower.

Both the CCS operations and ILR teams are available 365 days a year, she added.

Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane, causing what Florida Gov. Rick Scott described as “unimaginable destruction.

Brower said, “We urge customers to make safety their priority whenever they return to their homes.”

She did not have specific numbers on how many State Farm personnel will be deployed to the affected areas but said, “We've already started taking steps to strategically position resources — people and equipment — in the impacted regions as needed.”

Michael hit on the heels of Hurricane Florence coming ashore in North Carolina on Sept. 14.

“Our claims organization was specifically designed to enable State Farm to successfully respond to multiple events simultaneously,” said Brower. “While there may be two major recovery efforts taking place simultaneously, we have one focus and that is helping our customers when they need us most.”

So far, State Farm has received about 3,420 auto and 25,500 homeowner claims in North Carolina related to Hurricane Florence, according to Brower. That storm also has resulted in 780 auto and 2,640 homeowner claims in South Carolina, she said.

Reported claims from Florence “are tapering off from the initial phase immediately following the storm, but it is to be expected that claims will continue to come in as damage is reported,” said Brower.

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Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota


Education Reporter

Education Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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