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American Family dispatches catastrophe team to help St. Louis-area storm victims

Madison, Wis. (March 1, 2011) — A catastrophe team from American Family Insurance is joining the company's local personnel to assist customers in seven counties in the St. Louis area following last weekend's powerful windstorm.

The storm left damages to residences and businesses in the Missouri counties of Franklin, Gasconade, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis, along with Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois.

The company has already received about 350 claims from customers whose homes were damaged from the strong winds, including some with severe damage.

American Family customers who have claims should immediately contact the company's 24-hour Customer Care Center 1-800-MY-AMFAM (692-6326) or their agent to arrange an inspection of their damaged property or vehicle.

Local agents and adjusters from the American Family claim office in St. Louis are already helping customers with immediate needs, with an additional 10 adjusters from the company catastrophe team.

Questions and answers for American Family customers:

How do I report my claim? To report a claim, please contact our 24-hour Claim Customer Care Center at 1-800-MY-AMFAM (692-6326) or your American Family agent.

What damages to my property might be covered? Your homeowners insurance policy covers tornado and wind damage to your home and personal property. The "comprehensive" section of your auto insurance policy provides coverage for tornado and wind damage to your vehicle.

Can I get an emergency advance payment? Yes. If you have a covered loss and need emergency funds, we can provide you an advance payment. This advance payment will be applied to your final claim settlement.

Can I start to make repairs to prevent further damage? You should protect your property immediately against further damage and theft. Use plywood, tarps or other materials to cover broken windows and damaged rooftops. Keep the receipts of any materials/services that you purchase to make these repairs so your adjuster can review them and reimburse you for expenses covered by your policy.

Is there anything I can do to help with the claim process? Begin to compile a list of personal property and belongings you believe were damaged or destroyed by the storm. Briefly describe each item, including its age, current value, make, model and serial number if you have it.

When can I remove debris from my property?  Document your storm-damaged belongings with photographs, video and/or a written list before disposing of debris. If this is not possible, please wait to remove the debris until an adjuster can help you with the documentation.

Who do I call to make repairs? You are free to select any contractor or repair shop you wish. It is usually best to select one who has operated in the area for several years, is insured and bonded, and will give you a written guarantee for the work performed.

Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family insurance is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company. Web: wwwqa.amfam.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter: www.twitter.com/amfam