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 feel 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 in 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!

And remember to check out our web site www.bh-assurances.fr/en for all my previous articles (“practical information”) and register to receive our monthly Newsletter.  You can also follow us on Facebook: “Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Romain Lesterpt”

And don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subject such as Funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top up health insurance, etc…

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