DOUGLAS COUNTY — The phones rang nonstop for many Douglas County insurance agencies after a tornado and straight-line winds caused massive damage last Thursday, May 12.
Amy Christopherson, State Farm agent and owner of
Amy Christopherson agency in Alexandria
was on the phone late Thursday night with a family along South Darling Drive who lost their home when a tornado hit their neighborhood.
Christopherson was able to meet them early Friday morning, around 7:30 a.m., to give them a check so they could go out and buy some necessities, she said.
The family, who Christopherson says are a “lovely young couple with four kids,” needed new car seats, clothes, shoes and more after the tornado destroyed their home, she said. added.
Because the family had a local insurance agent, they were able to get help right away, Christopherson said, noting that after a disaster like this, having a local agent can be very beneficial.
When there is massive, widespread storm damage, Christopherson said his agency has had to prioritize clients with the greatest needs, or in this case, those with uninhabitable homes.
“Our customers have been so understanding and know that those who take the worst damage come first,” she said.
As with the family living along South Darling Drive who lost their home, Christopherson said getting funds for them was a priority so they could buy the items they needed immediately. In addition, she was able to find them temporary accommodation in
Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center.
Map of the area where a confirmed tornado has touched down.
“I worked directly with Shari (Prause, General Manager) and she was very helpful and accommodating to the family,” she said. “It was amazing. They can stay there until we find a long-term solution.
Christopherson said she was so impressed with the family, who she said handled everything so well. She also said she was speaking to another State Farm agent, Amy Roers of Glenwood, who has worked in the industry for more than 35 years. Christopher said Roers told her that this storm was the worst she had seen in her career.
Over the next week, Christopherson said insurance agents and adjusters will be on the road to investigate and estimate damages. At this point, she said it was difficult to say how much damage in terms of dollars had been caused.
She also shared some tips for homeowners like making sure they have holes in their roofs to get them covered as soon as possible to prevent more damage from happening inside the house if more storms or rain were to occur.
Another important tip, she said, is for homeowners to review their home insurance policy annually or semi-annually with their agent to make sure the policy will cover what needs to be covered.
“We don’t want there to be any surprises,” she said.
And finally, she said her office has received many calls about water in basements due to power outages and sump pumps not working.
“People should check their tenant/condo/landlord’s policy for optional sewer and emergency drain coverage,” she said.
She said ServPro in Alexandria has been integral in helping many people.
Christopherson said his customers had been understanding after the storm and realized it would take some time to figure it all out. In the meantime, she strongly urges people to check their policies.
“You don’t want any future surprises,” she said.