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JACKSON, Miss. — The latest report from Mississippi’s major insurance carriers on the March, 2013 hailstorm to the Mississippi Insurance Department, shows that both claim and payment numbers continue to rise. As of the April 15, 2013 reporting period over 56,000 homeowner and automobile damage claims have been filed and claims payments are at $209.4 million.

“Companies continue to work with consumers as quickly as they can and again MID has had very few complaints about the claims process,” Commissioner of Insurance Mike Chaney said.

The most frequent question being asked of MID Consumer Services has to do with the total loss process for automobiles and delays caused by the volume of claims filed.

According to the aggregate figures reported to the Department, as of April 15, 2013 there have been over 15,000 homeowner claims and nearly 40,000 auto claims filed and paid. The next reporting period during which insurance companies report updated figures to the Department is May 1, 2013. Commissioner Chaney expects the numbers will increase more at that time and will probably exceed 60,000 claims.

While waiting for inspection of your damaged property you should take the following steps to protect your property from further damage.

§ Cover any broken windows and holes in your roof so that no water can enter and damage your home’s interior.

§ Cover any broken windows in your car to prevent damage to the interior from rain and remove glass from the car’s interior to prevent cuts and damage to upholstery and carpeting.

§ Save receipts for what you spend and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Select a repair company

§ After an insurance adjuster has surveyed the hail damage to your property, select a reputable roofing company or auto body shop to make repairs.

§ Allow only the insurance adjuster and roofer you have selected to get up on your roof. Each time someone walks on it, more damage can occur.

§ Hire licensed and reputable contractors for repair work. Call the Mississippi State Board of Contractors at 1-800-880-6161 or visit their website at http://www.msboc.state.ms.us to determine if a contractor is properly licensed.

§ Be wary of out-of-town roofers who move into an area and set up shop immediately following a storm. While most of these firms are reputable, some collect money from homeowners and move on to the next storm site leaving work unfinished or without paying suppliers. This can leave homeowners holding the bag for those additional costs. It is a good idea to select a company with established credibility and local references. Word of mouth is still your best guide.

§ Be sure roofers have workers compensation and liability insurance. If they do not, you may be held liable if one of the workers is injured on your property or if they damage a neighbor’s property.

§ Do not make final payment to the roofing company until your roof has been inspected and you are satisfied.

Additional information will be provided via Twitter @MSInsuranceDept. A special Hailstorm of 2013 page has been set up on the MID website (www.mid.ms.gov) for additional information.

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