Thea Digiammerino

Homeowners, Insurance Agents, Towns Look at Next Steps After Damaging Storms

Wednesday marked eight days since tornadoes devastated parts of the state. But for those in the hardest hit areas, recovery is a slow process and includes filing insurance claims and finding contractors.

The Wiggins home on Sleepy Hollow Road in Southbury now has tarp on the roof after a tree came crashing last week. At minimum, there’s superficial damage.

But the impact took down sheet rock in the bathroom, according to Barbara Wiggins. If that wasn’t enough, another tree fell and dented the house and another came down and totaled the family car.

“When we first moved here, it was paradise here. Paradise. But the trees have grown up, the ground has weakened. It isn’t paradise anymore,” Wiggins said.

This is the third storm damage-related claim the Wiggins have had to file in their almost three decades in their home. And to make matters worse, it’s a private street so the town isn’t responsible for it.

Your Photos: Storm Damage Cleanup and Recovery Continues Across Connecticut

The Wiggins have called their insurance agency and said they already have a rental car and will be reimbursed for the value of their damaged car.

But the couple had to pay out of pocket to remove the trees from their home. While they remain optimistic, they’re not sure how much of the damage will be covered, yet.

Insurance agents have been out in force, touring the hardest hit areas, assessing the damage and helping clients file claims.

Missing Attachment Insurance agents are in some of the areas hit hardest by last week’s storms to assess the damage and help homeowners file claims.

Cintrina Wickham, a claim manager at Travelers, said local authorities have been allowing her, along with other agents, on closed down roads – as long as it’s safe and passible – so they can make as much ground as possible.

“The insuree would want to make temporary repairs to prevent further damages such as tarping, removing fallen trees. But as far as permanent repairs, they would want to wait until they work with a claim professional,” Wickham said.

Southbury First Selectman Jeff Manville said the town is looking into the best way to clean up the damage, in terms of cost and timing.

Thursday he’ll be on a conference call with the state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security(DEMHS) to go over information about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) damage assessment forms and see if FEMA could help with the clean-up of town-owned roads, right of ways and homeowner damage.

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