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Wildfires declared a catastrophe. (Briefing).

The wildfires that swept through Arizona have officially been declared a catastrophe for the period of June 23 through June 28.

A catastrophe is defined as an event in which losses total at least $25 million. The Arizona wildfires are expected to cost insurers about $120 million in insured property losses, according to preliminary projections from the Insurance Services Office Inc.'s Property Claim Services unit.

While claims are expected for hundreds of homes known to have been destroyed, insurance company representatives said the number reported so far is limited by what areas residents have been able to access. Insurance companies have received hundreds of claims.

State Farm, which insures about 2,000 customers in the affected area, has received about 450 homeowners claims and about 50 auto claims, said Gus Miranda, spokesman for State Farm. The claims adjusters on site are supported by claims representatives at nearby offices, and they are working to help customers as they begin to return to their homes, Miranda said.

Allstate has received about 352 homeowners claims from the fire area, with about 38 homes that have been confirmed as completely burnt down, said company spokesman Joe Gacioch. Allstate, which insures about 750 customers in the area, has two of its three mobile claims units on site, complete with computer and phone hookups, to support about 40 claims representatives and adjusters, Gacioch said.

Hartford Insurance Co. does not have any figures yet for the wildfire claims, but it does have adjusters and claims representatives in the area, said spokeswoman Marnie Goodman.
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Title Annotation:Arizona
Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2002
Words:257
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