A large number of local residents whose cars were damaged by hail earlier this month are having and are continuing to have their insurance claims processed by a special team sent in by State Farm.
On April 5, the combination of a weak area of low pressure that formed over the region and a front that passed through northern Georgia, western North Carolina, and the Upstate of South Carolina created conditions that not only spawned thunderstorms but also enabled those storms to generate even more thunderstorms as they move eastward. The storms that passed through Union County brought with it heavy rains, locally gusty winds, and hail which in the Union and Bonham areas reached sizes of 1.75 inches in diameter.
It was the hail and the damage it did to hundreds of automobiles owned by State Farm policyholders that brought a team of State Farm estimators and claims representatives to the Union Plaza parking lot. The team set up several tents where policyholders could park and meet with claims representatives while estimators reviewed and assessed the damage to their vehicles and determined how much it would cost to repair it.
“We are inspecting the vehicles of our policyholders for hail damage,” estimator Christy Bouchillon said Wednesday morning. “We have been here since last Wednesday (April 11). We’re here each day from seven in the morning until seven in the evening. We’ve seen an average of one vehicle every 15 minutes since we started.”
Bouchillon said State Farm assembled the team and sent it to Union to handle the large number of claims requests it has received in the aftermath of the April 5 storm. While she did not have an exact figure for the number of claims the team has processed since it arrived, Bouchillon said it was at least several hundred if not more.
As long as the claims continue to roll in, Bouchillon said the team will remain on the scene continuing to inspect vehicles and process claims
Beyond the vehicles damaged, the hail also damaged the dome atop the Union County Courthouse.
The hail pitted the century-old dome which functions as the ceiling for the law library on the third floor of the courthouse, causing several leaks and forcing county personnel to, first, remove a number of legal documents and book from the room to keep them from being damaged. County personnel then placed buckets, trash cans and even a children’s swimming pool in the room to prevent the water leaking in from damaging the carpet and the floor.
The day after the storm, county personnel then went on top of the dome and temporarily patched the holes until permanent repairs can be made. The repairs will be made once the damage is assessed and the cost of repair determined.
The gusty winds the storm brought were responsible for the collapse of a carport on to a 1995 Honda Accord at 905 Linersville Road.
The storm is also blamed for a three-car accident on SC 18 that sent three people to the hospital. The accident occurred when a car whose driver did not slow down because of weather conditions crashed into the rear of a car whose driver had slowed down. The impact sent the second car into the rear of a third car whose driver had also slowed down because of weather conditions. The driver of the first car was charged with driving too fast for conditions and he and the drivers of the other two vehicles were transported to Wallace Thomson Hospital.