Overtime central after hail storm

IT LASTED just 20 minutes, but the ferocious hail storm that hit Tamworth a little over a month ago still has insurers counting the cost and repairers hard at work.

The storm swept across a large area of the city and its outskirts but hit the hardest in South Tamworth, where cars and homes suffered serious damage after hailstones as big as golf balls pelted down.

Employees of Taminda Smash Repairs are still as busy as they were in the weeks immediately following the storm.

“We’re going to have work for 12 months to come,” manager Darrin Hogan said.

He estimated the firm  had done about 200 quotes for work so far, despite taking two weeks’ holiday over Christmas.

Before that break, he said they had been working 12-hour days and working all day on Saturdays to get through the deluge of jobs.

These jobs range from all paintless repairs to those that require whole panels to be replaced, and respraying of most of the vehicle, which can leave cars in the workshop for up to a month.

It was a similar story at Nyman’s Smash Repairs. Manager Rick Vine said 470-odd quotes had been received since the storm, about 85 per cent of which were the result of it.

“It’s hard to gauge how long it will take, but I’d say at least six to eight months from what we’re looking at,” Mr Vine said.

The average job cost about $3500, he said, and they would book about 20 jobs each week.

Belmore Smash Repairs owner Neil Artuso said he had seen a small increase in work, but paintless dent removal companies that arrived in the wake of the storm had been given the majority of work from insurance companies.

Mr Hogan also said out-of-town companies had absorbed some of the workload.

Tamworth’s four glass companies have also had few moments to spare in the wake of the storm, even with the arrival of numerous out-of-town glaziers. Grassy’s Glass owner Brett Turner said they were dealing with the surge of non-urgent jobs and expected these to take another six weeks to get out of the way.

He estimated there were 40 to 50 of these jobs to be completed, on top of the 200-odd urgent repairs they did.

Tamworth Glass owner Narelle Cross said she recently completed the 88th invoice for hail damage, with another 70 to 80 to go – not counting those jobs already booked in and described the workload as “absolutely horrendous”.

Assessment work on damaged roofs was also ongoing, roofer Michael 

Hellmann said. He said he had inspected up to 80 properties so far and expected the year ahead to be similarly busy, once insurance assessors approved the repair work to go ahead.

GIO Insurance spokesman Duncan Bone said it was difficult to estimate the damage bill, but 916 home and contents claims were received, and another 1000 were expected.

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