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Country Financial: Nov. 17 tornado claims top $65 million

Published: Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

BLOOMINGTON – Country Financial expects to pay more than $65 million to policyholders to cover reported property and auto losses from the Nov. 17 tornadoes, the Bloomington-based insurer reported Wednesday.

More than $61 million will be paid to cover property claims and about $4 million to cover auto claims.

“Because of our financial stability, we are able to get claim checks into the hands of our customers in a very quick timeframe,” Tom Tracey, country director of property and material damage claims, said in a prepared statement.

The 72 tornadoes on Nov. 17 caused loss of life, injuries and damage in seven Midwestern and Southern states. In Washington, Ill., one person was killed, 122 were injured and about 1,000 homes damaged or destroyed.

The Coal City and Diamond area also were hit by a tornado Nov. 17. An EF2 tornado, with winds above 120 mph, came through the area shortly after noon that day, leaving four injured and more than 200 structures damaged. Clean up efforts continue in those two Grundy County communities.

Other Illinois communities affected included Pekin, East Peoria, Roanoke, Gifford, New Minden and Coal City-Diamond.

Of 4,717 auto and property claims received by Country since the storms, 3,708 are property and 1,009 are auto, the insurer reported. Adjusters have closed 3,520 of the storm claims, or 75 percent.

“Being able to close three-fourths of all reported claims in about two weeks shows how committed we are to keeping that promise” to help customers in time of need, Tracey said.

Meanwhile, Bloomington-based State Farm has received at least 11,700 claims from the storms. Claims from homeowners’ policyholders include 4,800 from Illinois, 2,600 from Indiana, 1,500 from Michigan and 600 from Ohio, State Farm spokeswoman Holly Anderson said.

Auto claims for Illinois alone total 2,200, she said.

Anderson on Wednesday did not have a dollar estimate for State Farm claims nor the percentage of claims that adjusters have closed.

“Our claims professionals remain in the areas impacted by this storm,” Anderson said. “State Farm has the largest catastrophe team in the industry, which allows us to act quickly to help our customers recover.”

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