Katrina Keeps Glass Businesses Busy

Hurricane Katrina crossed Florida over the weekend and plowed through the Gulf Coast area today, including New Orleans, wreaking havoc and trails of broken glass in her wake.

Following its trip across Florida, the storm weakened overnight to a Category 4 and turned slightly eastward before hitting land early on Monday morning in Louisiana. Reports of devastation filled newspapers, television reports, and Web coverage throughout the day.

A post was put on the AGRR Magazine Forum by a North Carolina shop owner offering support to those affected by Katrina.
"If any shops in those affected areas need some technicians to borrow, let me know. My Florida locations went through Hurricane Charlie last year and I know how bad this devastation can be," he said.

Insurance companies deployed hundreds of adjusters and opened several mobile offices Saturday to take claims and start writing checks for South Floridians whose homes, autos and boats took punches or got soaked by Hurricane Katrina.

According to a company spokesman, Mercury Insurance Group staff appraisers have been canvassing damaged areas in easily identifiable claims response vehicles, literally making house calls and issuing checks to impacted policyholders. In some cases, immediately replacing damaged vehicle windows.

According to a report in the Miami Herald, Progressive Insurance, the fourth-largest auto insurer in Florida, started getting claims late Thursday, before the storm had even left the region. The company quickly set up three remote offices in addition to its three main offices and brought in 45 extra claims reps.

''We're seeing a good mix of wind and flood damage,'' Scott Snapp, a company spokesman was quoted as saying. That means everything from broken windshields to flooded cars.

The report said that workers at the six Safelite Auto Glass locations in south Florida had put in overtime both Saturday and Sunday to replace windshields and windows.

''We're trying to fix windows as quickly as possible to prevent future damage,'' Dan Loyal, Safelite's south Florida district manager was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile as Katrina came ashore in Louisiana this morning, scores of windows were reported blown out at New Orleans hotels. Among the earliest reports were the destruction of the French doors on the balcony at the hotel Le Richelieu in the French Quarter of the city, and broken windows in the high-rise Hyatt in the city's downtown waterfront area.

At the Superdome, which served as shelter for 9,000 storm refugees who had not evacuated New Orleans, wind peeled off pieces of metal on the golden roof, leaving two holes that were visible from the floor, according to press reports. People holed up in the facility watched as sheets of metal, flapped and rumbled loudly.

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