Insurers set up in areas of Oklahoma hit by tornadoes

Insurance providers were on the ground Monday assisting victims of Sunday's storms when a tornado tore through Moore and Oklahoma City, causing more damage.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: May 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm •  Published: May 20, 2013

Insurance agencies already on the ground surveying the damage from Sunday's tornadoes were preparing to reorganize after another round of devastating storms hit the central part of the state Monday.

An emergency declaration issued early Monday by Insurance Commissioner John Doak allowed out-of-state insurance appraisers to handle claims more quickly. Agency spokeswoman Kelly Collins said many appraisers contacted the Insurance Department to fill out a required form so they could begin working.

In Shawnee and Carney, tornadoes caused a small number of intense, large losses, said John Wiscaver, vice president of public affairs for Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance. Agents were instructed to expedite claims, giving customers the funds to find temporary housing and fulfill immediate needs such as clothing.

After another tornado swept through Moore and Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon, and the potential for others remained high Monday evening, field representative Amanda Riddle said the Insurance Department planned to regroup late Monday and determine where to set up Tuesday.

Doak was in Shawnee on Monday morning with other state and local officials, assessing the damage. A command center has been set up at The Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, 1700 W Independence, Shawnee, giving victims a centralized location to find assistance from insurers as well as disaster relief agencies.

Doak estimated 100 to 150 insured home losses and “many, many more uninsured” from the Shawnee tornado. Many of the victims either leased or rented a mobile home and did not have insurance, he said.

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