After 16 months, storm repairs wrapping up

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It’s taken contractors 16 months, but repairs to thousands of central Indiana houses and cars following storms in March and April of last year finally are winding down.

Marc Fairchild, vice president of claims at Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. in Carmel, said only 10 of the 4,330 claims his firm logged remain open.

“It was a great challenge,” Fairchild said.

High winds and hail pelted houses and cars across the region, leaving $1.5 billion in claims in their wake. No other state sustained as much catastrophe-related damage to insured property in the year.

The heavy volume helped Indiana Farmers Mutual improve customer service and cut the number of days needed to settle claims, Fairchild said.

Most homeowners appear to have repaired their roofs, although some kept the money and not gone ahead with repairs, Fairchild said.

That’s consistent with what Rod Standifer sees at his far northwestside roofing business, ABC Roofing Co.

Some homeowners, fearful that work would be too expensive or that repair quality would suffer during the flurry of repair activity, held back.

As a result, Standifer estimates 25 percent of roofs still must be repaired. But those roofs were not so heavily damaged that homeowners can’t afford the luxury of waiting to pick their time, contractor and price, he said.

Standifer said some contractors performed such shoddy work that an enterprising person probably could earn $100,000 a year simply performing follow-up repairs.

Standifer said shingle manufacturers told him that an estimated 400,000 houses would need repairs. Soon after the storms, ABC Roofing was receiving 200 calls a day-so many that he changed the voice mail to explain that ABC wouldn’t be able to respond to every request.

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