Merrill company processes church claims for Superstorm Sandy - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Merrill company processes church claims for Superstorm Sandy


A North-Central Wisconsin insurance company is getting flooded with claims, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Leaders at Church Mutual Insurance in Merrill say the number of claims is growing every day, and it's expected to continue to climb.

Church Mutual Insurance is based in Central Wisconsin, but handles claims across the country.

Right now, the company is processing 550 claims, while recovery on the east coast is still far from over.

Superstorm Sandy ripped through the east coast -- less than two weeks ago--killing more than 100 Americans and leaving close to 8.5 million without power.

"This was a terrible tragedy for the people on the east coast," Chuch Mutual Vice President of Claims Brian Arndorfer said.

Now, a Merrill-based insurance company is one of many helping to pick up the pieces.

"During the first week of the storm, about 100 claims a day were being reported, for the first four days last week," Arndorfer told Newsline 9.

But now, Arndorfer says the company is handling more than 500 claims, involving churches hit by Sandy--and there's still a lot of work to do.

"Cell phone coverage is bad, if at all. So they're having trouble getting in contact with our insured to make an appointment to get out and see the damage," Church Mutual National Catastrophe Coordinator Dale Zimdars said.

It's been two weeks since Sandy, but Church Mutual leaders say there's usually a delay between a natural disaster and filing a claim.

"People tend to take care of their personal safety first. Second in rank--taking care of home and residence. And after all of that is managed, then they turn to church property," Arndorfer said.

That's why they say it could still be a while before they know how many claims church mutual will have to process.

"Generally, it takes about two weeks. I'm expecting it to take two months. Only because of all the issues we're dealing with up there," Zimdars added.

Church Mutual Leaders say there have been no reports of churches being destroyed -- just damaged. But they estimate Superstorm Sandy will rack up more than $10 million in claims for their company.

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