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Iowa City Begins Insurance Claims Process

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IOWA CITY - Iowa City is beginning to look a lot better, but now there's a new, different kind of mess. People are trying to figure out how to get their insurance claims processed so they can start rebuilding.

"We've got just one issue after another," Rip Russell said.

His wife, Janis Russell, said, "You get involved in one project and then something else needs attention. So you're just constantly being drawn in 100 different directions."

The couple wants to start repairing their home, but they say the process of filing claims is overwhelming.

Companies like State Farm have brought help and special equipment to the area to make things easier.

"This is the perfect place to start your claims process and monitor your claim activity," State Farm Public Affairs Specialist Chris Longly said.

The company's special disaster vehicle uses a special satellite hook-up to process claims, but even with all of that technology, agents say it still takes time to process the claims.

"The demand is so much greater than insurance companies can handle.... a lot of the policy holders are going to have to do things on their own initially until we get workers in to get the areas assessed," State Farm Agent Randy Stevens said.

That's exactly what the Russells plan to do.

They know they have a lot of work ahead of them, but they're ready to move on.

"When we were cleaning up the yard, people were trampling all over the plants. This was a mess back here. But they're all coming back. So, we'll do the same," Janis Russell said.

Many of the students in Iowa City did not have renter's insurance, and that's creating a lot of problems, but there are certainly plenty of volunteers willing to help with cleanup.

E-mail Mark Geary at

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