SOUTH MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It has been a difficult winter for insurance companies! We've seen snowfalls that have led to auto accidents, bitterly cold, sub-zero temperatures that have led to burst pipes -- and insurance companies say this time of the year is when they receive the most calls.
Even though Sal Purpora tried to stay positive, his nearly 50,000 square foot Papa Luigi's restaurant was under water after a pipe burst in the restaurant's sprinkler system -- and crews were busy cleaning up what was estimated to cost half a million dollars.
It happened on Thursday, January 9th -- and the restaurant is expected to be closed for one to three months.
"It's unbelievable the stress. (The damage) could go up to $700,000," Purpora said.
Adding to the stress is the fact that Purpora's insurance adjuster couldn't come out to check out the damage until four days after the fact.
Terry Gannon knows how busy it can get. He has been handling property claims for more than 30 years, and says while the time it takes insurance companies to respond to a claim can vary -- in 2014, his company, American Family Insurance has seen a 300 percent spike in claims.
"We had those two days last week where it was brutal and the frozen pipe claims just keep coming in," Gannon said.
The majority of his claims come from his "snow bird" clients.
"They're all going to Arizona, Florida, Texas -- if they don't turn off that water supply and if the pipes burst, that water runs and runs and runs. I've seen two houses that we literally had to gut," Gannon said.
Mike Wyne's Fire and Water Restoration Company was hired to clean up Papa Luigi's, and he says to ease your worries, it's important to know exactly what you're paying for, and what coverage you're getting.
Fortunately, Papa Luigi's will be covered fully.
"I can't wait to open up those doors and say 'hey, how you doin'" Purpora said.
Experts advise it is important to make sure you're doing your preventative maintenance checks which could be the difference in hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage.