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American Family Insurance claims rise from Black Forest Fire

Customers report 158 claims; 41 for destroyed homes

Colorado Springs, Colo. (June 17, 2013) – As firefighters make progress battling the Black Forest Wildfire northeast of Colorado Springs, American Family Insurance says claims from the historic blaze continue to mount. American Family customers have filed nearly 160 wildfire claims, including 41 for destroyed homes.

“We continue to reach out to our customers to let them know we’re here and ready to help,” said Tim Rogers, American Family catastrophe operations administrator. “As soon as our customers get the all-clear to return to their homes, we’ll be right with them to start the claim process.”

The Black Forest fire northeast of Colorado Springs is believed to be the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, surpassing last year’s Waldo Canyon fire. Officials estimate 485 homes have been destroyed and 38,000 residents were issued mandatory evacuation orders. Containment of the fire increased to 65 percent overnight, authorities said.

Employees from American Family’s catastrophe team and Denver claim office remain stationed just outside the Black Forest fire zone, meeting the immediate needs of customers who have been evacuated and advising them on the expected claim process. American Family agents also remain in close contact with their affected customers.

So far, American Family customers have filed 158 wildfire claims, including 41 claims destroyed homes and four claims for destroyed businesses. The remaining claims are for smoke damage and/or additional expenses for customers ordered to evacuate their homes. The company estimates damage from all reported claims at $25 million.

American Family Insurance customers who have wildfire claims should immediately contact the company's 24-hour Customer Care Center, 1-800-MY-AMFAM (692-6326). They can also report claims to their local American Family agent, or online at www.amfam.com.

American Family Insurance is responding to the Black Forest fire in other ways. In addition to its regular support of the American Red Cross, the company is donating $5,000 to the Red Cross Pikes Peak chapter, based in Colorado Springs.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR AMERICAN FAMILY CUSTOMERS:

How do I report my claim?

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

What damages to my property might be covered?

Your homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for damage to your home and personal property caused by fire, smoke, water and slurry dropped from aircraft.

Civil authorities have ordered me to evacuate my home. Does my policy pay for food and lodging during this time?

Your homeowners policy pays for additional living expenses for up to two weeks if you are denied access to your home by the civil authorities. This includes reasonable motel and food expenses. Keep copies of the receipts for your adjuster.

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.

Does my policy have coverage for boarding pets?

Yes, your homeowners policy covers the cost of temporarily boarding domestic pets, other than livestock, if civil authorities prohibit access to your home. Keep copies of the receipts for your adjuster.

Do I have coverage to replace trees that were damaged by the fire?

Homeowners insurance generally provides limited coverage for trees, shrubs and other plants directly damaged by fire. Normally, the limit is 5 percent of the coverage amount on your home, but no more than $500 for any one tree, shrub or plant.

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 fire. Briefly describe each item, including its age, current value, make, model and serial number.

Who do I call to make repairs to my home?

You are free to select any contractor 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.

Contact:
Sandra Spann
American Family Insurance
In Colorado Springs
Cell: (920) 342-4405

Ken Muth
American Family Insurance
In Madison
(608) 242-4100, ext. 30680