Carolina Glass Companies Dealing with Hurricane Matthew

The damage from Hurricane Matthew is still being assessed and cleaned up and insurance claims are being filed, but many local glass companies haven’t seen a spike in automotive glass claims.

Current estimates are that the cost of the storm is more than $1 billion. The Category 5 hurricane – the first to hit the East Coast since Felix in 2007 – caused at least 43 deaths in the United States — 26 of them in North Carolina — with most deaths caused by flooding.

But so far, some glass companies have seen little increase in business – and in some cases, those companies are only just now getting back to work.

Martin’s Body Shop in Lumberton, N.C., is one of those local businesses. Billy Britt, a Martin’s employee, said the shop had been closed for more than a week due to a lack of water and power. Today was his first day back on the job.

As for claims and repairs, “We’re not seeing anything,” he said, noting that insurance companies are in the process of gathering claims.

“The insurance companies are setting up tents in parking lots in Wal-Mart and other places,” Britt said. “State Farm, Allstate and some of the others.”

Likewise, Louis Jarman of Ray’s Auto Glass in Kinston, N.C., said his business was slow.

“I’ve had but one customer all morning,” he said Monday, his first day on the job after the shop had to close due to the storm and rising floodwaters.

In South Carolina, also hard hit by Matthew, glass shops are reporting an increase in business to repair windshields damaged mostly from falling objects, such as tree limbs.

“We got very, very lucky,” said John Downs, owner of Charleston Auto Glass, referring to the area. “We had some wind damage, but not like [1989’s Hurricane] Hugo. We had a lot of water damage.”

Still, Downs said, the winds of Matthew caused havoc.

“We’ve seen a slight increase in claims for tree limbs breaking windshields,” he said Monday.

Clearview Auto Glass, also based in Charleston, has seen similar claims.

“There’s been an increase in claims for windshields,” said Rachel Koehler. “Mostly falling objects like tree limbs.”

Koehler said the shop closed for about four days as a result of the storm.

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