BRAINERD – Several large storms have wreaked havoc on the Brainerd Lakes region this spring and summer.
Early morning storms on May 30 knocked out power to thousands of people in central Minnesota before a second wave of storms ripped through the area again later that night, toppling trees with heavy rain and high winds.
While many continued to make repairs and clean up the damage caused by the Memorial Day storm, a second round of severe storms rolled through the area again a few weeks later, between June 20 and 24.
Those two storms caused extensive damage across the county, said John Bowen, director of emergency management for the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office, who had just finished briefing cities, townships and co-ops on the How to Apply for Federal Disaster Relief.
Bowen said the damage from both storms met and exceeded the requirements to file a disaster relief claim. And all of the damage in the state from the May 30 storm prompted Minnesota to meet the requirements to file for federal disaster relief.
“For the May 30 storm, I believe we were just under $700,000, which is our preliminary damage assessment,” Bowen said. “And on June 20, we had just over a million damage.”
In the event of a federal disaster, townships, cities and county are reimbursed 100% for eligible costs. For federal disaster relief, 75% comes from the federal government and the remaining 25% comes from the state government.
Disaster relief money is used to repair local and state infrastructure. For homeowners and businesses in the area, who had to turn to their insurance companies for help with their repairs and losses, there were many requests for funds and repairs and, as a result, the answers were slow. For example, the number of State Farm claims has reached 40,000, Jake Brandt, agency manager for Jake Brandt-State Farm Insurance told Brainerd.
“Whether it was wind or hail in the Brainerd Lakes area, due to the magnitude we experienced, we suffered a lot of property damage,” Brandt said.
Brandt said much of the owners’ personal property, such as boat lifts and docks, have been damaged this year by the strong gusts of wind associated with the storm, and it’s not uncommon for an owner has three different types of claims pending at the same time. time they have their homes, vehicles and personal belongings repaired.
“If you work in tree maintenance or roofing, this year has been good for them and bad for insurance companies,” Brandt said.
Trying to find contractors is difficult, Brandt said. With multiple storms moving through the state, tree service businesses were busy and building and construction contractors were hard to plan for even before the storm hit.
Brandt said many of his clients are finally getting roofs replaced as contractors work their way through damaged areas. However, delays in obtaining materials and the costs associated with these materials have also increased.
Jim Sodomka, branch manager at Weizenegger Engel Insurance, can attest to this. He said everyone is extremely busy right now, so it’s hard to find contractors who have the time to do repairs. .
“It was a big challenge to find someone to do the work to fix it,” Sodomka said.
Booked solidly for about six weeks with plenty of work still to come, Jamie Lyter, the managing director of Neumann Construction, said he had clients waiting just as long for adjusters to come to people’s homes.
Shannon Christian, owner of Shannon’s Auto Body, said the auto repair industry started having vehicle owners become their own adjusters about five to six years ago with the widespread availability of smartphones.
These enhancements to filing an auto insurance claim come with their own challenges, and Christian said they’re often adjusted too low and often miss other damages associated with an accident.
Christian said his technicians and staff are trained to handle claims adjustments to get the most out of customer repairs, but they’re still seeing delays in receiving parts.
Lyter said he still gets calls from people who may not have been in the area during the storms, but are now having their roofs checked after seeing their neighbors making repairs.
“I guess you could say the Memorial Day storm was kind of the one that started it,” Lyter said. “Since probably the first or second week of June, it has been busy. We have three salespeople who work five or six days a week. And they haven’t stopped since.
Even after finding someone to do the job, Sodomka and Brandt said everything costs more to fix and they both recommend reviewing policies as they may not have enough coverage as repair prices rise. and materials.
Financial assistance is available for businesses, nonprofits, landlords and renters with a September 23 deadline
The Little Falls-based Initiative Foundation recently reported that about 40 homes and several businesses were inundated by floodwaters when the late June deluge – considered a 500-year rain event by the National Weather Service – made outflank the Little Elk River from its banks and outflank the community of Morrison County.
“On May 12, straight line winds over 85 mph caused damage in Todd County. The storms damaged dozens of homes, machine sheds, silos and barns. At least two of the houses are uninhabitable. Most homeowners have some level of insurance but experience a myriad of complications, ranging from high deductibles to insufficient coverage to significant delays in obtaining labor and materials for necessary repairs. “, reported the Initiative Foundation.
The SBA recently sent a reminder to Minnesota businesses, nonprofits, homeowners and renters of the September 23 deadline to apply for physical damage disaster loans. “Anyone in counties declared to have suffered property damage from severe thunderstorms and flooding on June 23 and 24 should apply for the low-interest disaster loan program,” the SBA reported, adding that the statement covers Morrison, Benton, Cass, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Stearns and Todd Counties.
Interest rates are as low as 2.935% for businesses, 1.875% for nonprofits, and 1.688% for homeowners and tenants, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA sets loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s financial situation.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application through the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/ and should apply under SBA Statement #17537.
TIM SPEIER, editor, can be reached on Twitter
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