By Jeff Helms
An EF-2 tornado ripped through Wetumpka Saturday afternoon twisting steel girders in Cameron and Casey Stephens’ workshop and collapsing the ceiling of their upstairs apartment. As the winds calmed, Casey notified Alfa Insurance.
“I sent our agent, James Hamner, a picture, and he called immediately,” Casey recalled Sunday. “He wanted to make sure we had reported the claim to the 800 number and said they would be starting everything at 9 or 10 this morning. We heard from him again this morning, and people were out here at 10:30 a.m.”
Standing inside the barndominium, which houses Cameron’s landscape business and custom-built apartment, Casey said she was happy to see Hamner and adjuster Terry McKelvey so soon after the storm.
“I was very surprised,” she said. “We actually have two insurance companies — we use a different one for the business. I talked to them yesterday, and we’ve yet to see them, but Alfa has been here on Sunday morning. Everybody thought they wouldn’t come today, but I said, ‘No, James said they would be here,’ and they were here early.”
McKelvey, who’s a 30-year Alfa veteran, said being able to exceed customers' expectations is rewarding.
“We were at the office early this morning, waiting to go see customers. I didn’t see anybody else (from other companies); I haven’t yet,” he said. “There’s no question, Alfa’s the best insurance company in the country.”
Fortunately, no one was killed in the storm which leveled a 150-year-old church and badly damaged another in the historic riverside town. Property damage, however, was reported across Elmore County as Alfa opened its local service center to help customers.
“It’s crazy how fast it can be gone,” Casey said. “It was hard to see everything displaced. We had a lot of personal possessions in the house part that were OK, thankfully.”
Despite working countless tornadoes and hurricanes, McKelvey said it’s never easy to see the impact on families and businesses.
“My main objective is to assure our customers we are here to help and to assess the damage,” he said. “But I hate it for them because now they’ve got to rebuild, restart and list contents they had not even thought about listing. It’s a long road, and people don’t realize that.”
To file a claim contact a local Alfa service center, call the Customer Resource Center at 1-800-964-2532, go to AlfaInsurance.com or use the Alfa2Go app for iPhone and Android smartphones.