Many property owners in western P.E.I. are picking up the pieces after Hurricane Dorian hit home with a vengeance.
Blair Campbell, the chief executive officer of P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Company, says the company had its greatest single claims day ever on Sunday. More than 400 home insurance policy holders called in claims.
“These are damage claims in the frequency and magnitude that we have not seen before,’’ says Campbell.
"As of 11:30 this morning we have dispatched 539 claims to adjusting staff which is approximately one-third of our usual annual volume.''
He says the damage includes whole buildings destroyed, roofs blown off of houses and trees fallen on buildings. Water damage to basements is also being reported.
Claims to just this one insurance company alone, adds Campbell, already total in the “multiple millions’’ of dollars.
He says the majority of damage claims are coming from Summerside and east and west of that city.
The province’s Emergency Measures Organization offers the following reminders to Islanders in the wake of Hurricane Dorian:
- Never leave candles unattended.
- Generators must be used outside only and at least five feet away from anything that can catch fire.
- Always allow the generator to cool down before refueling.
- Islanders with health appointments should call ahead to confirm appointments.
- Take photos and videos to use when reporting damages to your insurance company.
- Call 911 in case of any emergency.
- Get updates from local media, @peipublicsafety on Facebook and Twitter, and municipal and community social media pages.
Fortunately, Dorian did not cause any major damage to infrastructure in the province, says Justice and Public Safety Minister Bloyce Thompson.
“This system could have been a lot worse if Islanders weren’t prepared,’’ he adds.
Some Islanders – possibly thousands – will not get their power restored until the end of the week, says Maritime Electric CEO and President John Gaudet.
He says the utility company has been able to triple its complement of restoration crews to 55.
Gaudet says while Dorian is not the largest storm to hit P.E.I., it is the most wide-spread that he has seen in his 37 years with the company.
He says Dorian’s strong and sustained winds has caused significant tree damage – and removing trees from lines takes time.
“We are making progress, but it is slow going,’’ he says.
Maritime Electric reported 18,702 customers were without power as of 2 p.m. Monday.
Premier Dennis King notes restoration efforts are well underway but could take several more days, possibly even weeks.
He says Islanders seem to be expressing a sense of relief that “we did not get hammered to the extent we could have.’’
Still, Dorian has damaged its share of property and disrupted plenty of Islanders.
Over the weekend, one storm-related fire struck a single-family dwelling in Vernorn River while a second ignited in a barn in Miminegash. There were no injuries in either incident.
Government departments began assessing and addressing the aftermath of Dorian at first light Sunday.
Crews have cleared the majority of provincial roads of debris.
Some farmers and fishers are dealing with significant damage to infrastructure, boats and crops.
English and French school boards closed schools Monday to continue to assess damage.
The province’s Emergency Measures Organization continues to work closely with communities to ensure Islanders are aware of the municipal reception centres. Islanders can contact their local municipality to learn of reception openings and closures.