Remembering the Derecho: Insurance agent looks back - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Remembering the Derecho: Insurance agent looks back

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(WSIL) -- "The Super Derecho" is infamous in these parts and one of the most costly disasters for insurance companies in Illinois history.

"When it was all said and done, State Farm paid out on 7,600 claims over $60,600,000 on the homeowner's side," said agent Bill Ecker. "Then we had 2,770 auto claims to the tune of $6,100,000."

This storm was a worst case scenario, overwhelming for everyone that went through it.

"Just trying to get our arms around how many claims that there were and what the severity was," explained Ecker. "We had no idea at the time that it really ran from river to river."

Even the insurance agents themselves were left cleaning up in the storm's wake, reexamining their own disaster plans and preparedness.

"Now, I have a trailer with a generator, tents, and water, and a mountain bike and even a motorcycle," said Ecker "What I learned after May 8th storm was just how many tree limbs we had down, it was hard to navigate."

Ecker says several other agents in the area bought generators for their offices and back up telephone systems. No power left many without a way to communicate for more than a week in some cases. 

MORE: 10 Years: "The Derecho" still fresh in many minds

MORE: 10 Years Later: Remembering May 8th

MORE: 'Seared into my memory': SIU official reflects on May 8th

MORE: 'It was just unbelievable': Residents, leaders, reporters recall super derecho

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