Wildfire survivors begin submitting insurance claims as they seek to rebuild their lives
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As they seek to come to terms with all they lost to the flames, thousands of wildfire survivors must now face the challenge of settling their insurance claims.
The estimate of damage from the fires is close to $6 billion. Much of that is private property, which is usually insured — and some insurance payments are already being made.
State Farm says it is Maui’s biggest property and vehicle insurer and it has already paid 1,750 claims. It has brought in mainland claims adjusters who are working out of a temporary structure at the former K-mart parking lot in Kahului to meet the demand.
They are paying many claims sight unseen based on aerial and satellite images.
But a community donation in Lahaina, people with ash, smoke or partial damage can find themselves at odds with insurance adjusters unless they are well prepared.
“So while they were dealing with the trauma of missing friends, family, we were helping them to say, OK, this is next step. Next step is insurance,” said volunteer Melissah Shishido.
Liza Souza, State Farm agent, called the disaster “devastating.”
“It definitely makes you sad. It’s very hard to hear your clients and all the many stories,” she said.
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