On the 4th of July around 3pm, a hail storm broke out in the commune of St Sornin and its surrounding villages (Rouzede, Chabanais, Chazelles, Vouthon, etc). In the space of 5 minutes, between 800 and 1000 houses had been damaged. The hail stones were the size of tennis balls! The stones had perforated roofs and went through the ceiling of some of the houses. The people affected had to be relocated. Cars have also been dented. So, for some customers, they are facing not only a claim for storm damage on the house but also for water damage (water inside the house) and damages to cars.

The scale of this storm was unprecedented in the Charente. In the case of major disasters like this one, Allianz mobilised a special dedicated team with a mobile office installed inside a truck.

The truck was stationed in the heart of the damaged area (place of the Mairie in St Sornin) from the Friday so just 1.5 days after the storm and were present until the Monday after. 4 assessors and 2 Allianz claim managers from Paris were present on site alongside 4 of our Allianz team office from Chasseneuil sur Bonnieure and La Rochefoucauld.

They were able to realise more than a 100 expertise/assessment between Thursday and Sunday. By the Monday, 95% of our customers damaged have been visited, quotes validated, and some work had already started. I must stress that only two companies have made this special effort! Of course, Allianz (me!) and Groupama.

So, in the very unfortunate case of something like this should happen to you, this is what you should do:

First, call the pompier, they are here to help. Do not attempt to go on the roof yourself. The only serious casualty from the storm in St Sornin is someone who sadly felt from his roof.

In the case of St Sornin, the Pompier ran out of Baches! So, try to call a roofer. If you cannot speak French, there are a listing of English speaking roofers in this magazine and on our web site.

If we are open, you can contact us, and we can give you details of builders.

Take pictures. And contact your insurance company. By email alongside an explanation of what happened with date and time and attach the pictures if you can. If you phone, we will ask you to do a written declaration anyway so save some time and email us.

We will then arrange for an assessor to come and visit you to assess the value of the damages. The assessor will decide if you need relocation. This is covered by the insurance.

You then need to get some quotes from builders, then send us the quotes to be approved by the assessor. Once this is approved, start the work and we will pay on the presentation of the bill.

You can do the work yourself, in this case discuss payment with the assessor.

You do not have to wait for the visit of the assessor to start getting quotes. On the contrary, if you have the quotes when the assessor is visiting, it can approve them there and then.

In the case of the St Sornin storms, the assessors were stationed in our truck so could visit our customers alongside one of our staff straight away.

Be aware that if you don’t have the option that covers garden furniture (tables, pergola, green houses, etc.) it won’t be covered.

To finish, don’t panic, this type of storm is rare, but they happen so first don’t panic and be patient. We are here to help and will always try our best.

If you are not one of our customers, feel free to contact me for a quote. As long as you have had your contract for at least one year, you can swap at any time!

Some facts and figures of the 4th of July storm

18 communes affected in the sector of Saint-Sornin, Vilhonneur, Rancogne, but also Chabanais and Étagnac.

1749 bâchages done by the firemen. The last one was in La Rochefoucauld on Wednesday the 25th of July.

13600 claims declared in a dozen different insurers, of which 6500 houses, 5400 cars (only the one that have fully comprehensive cover), 1700 professionnels including 1000 farms et 700 artisans or commerçants.

1000 demandes of expertises for this area, but for the department of Charente it is more than 2500 files that have been opened following that storm. Insurers and assessors hope to have done 90% of expertise before the end of August.

The average cost of repair is 50 000 euros per building.

450 inhabitants from Saint-Sornin, 180 from Vilhonneur.

100 solutions of relocation have been found.

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In order to discuss and meet your need as best as possible, feel free to contact us with a mail, phone call... We can also schedule a meeting in one of our four agencies... Or directly to your home !