The tornado didn't just damage homes and destroy trees -- it altered the lives of north Minneapolis residents. Minnesota Public Radio reporter Brandt Williams spent much of the first week after the storm talking to residents and touring some of the damage. He talked with MPR's Tom Crann about how the recovery is going.
Tom Crann: Brandt, you've spent a lot of time in north Minneapolis as a reporter, and you also used to live there.
Brandt Williams: Yes, I lived there from the mid-1990s until 2006. I experienced some notable man-made catastrophes -- I lived there during the year the city earned the nickname "Murderapolis," and I watched out my front window in 2002 when the intersection of 26th and Knox blew up in a riot.
Crann: Last year this part of the city saw a natural catastrophe. You witnessed the damage the morning after the storm, and have seen the recovery over the past year. What are some of your impressions of the impact of this storm?
Williams: Nearly everyone I spoke with in the week following storm has had their property repaired. I followed up with several people over the last few weeks and asked them how the repair process went.
One woman told me the first contractor she selected didn't work out, so she had to find a new one. Others had problems with their insurance companies. They said the claims process was either slow or they had disputes with their insurers over what kind of damage was covered by their policies.
Crann: How much has this storm cost in dollar figures?
Williams: According to the Minnesota Commerce Department, insurance companies have paid out nearly $64 million. But there are still about 365 claims that haven't been paid out of a total of nearly 3,900 claims. These numbers include damage done in Fridley. The state also says it received 50-60 inquiries and complaints from north Minneapolis residents.
The city of Minneapolis also released some updated numbers recently, which say that nearly $29 million worth of repair permits have been issued since the storm.
About 3,700 properties sustained some damage, and 206 were heavily damaged.
REPAIRS AND RECOVERY, BY THE NUMBERS:
Here is the latest information on tornado recovery efforts from the state of Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis.
From the City of Minneapolis:
By the end of April 2012, residents and property owners had made repairs and improvements to the vast majority of properties. So far:
•2,891 repair permits have been issued
•$28.7 million in repairs have been made or are under way
•About $2 million in assistance has been provided to people affected by the storm through loans and other help from the City, state and federal governments, as well as many non-profit organizations involved in the tornado recovery
•96 percent of properties that suffered major damage have since been repaired or demolished, or that work is in progress.
There were 206 properties with major damage, and so far:
• 149 were repaired or are in the process of being repaired
• 48 were demolished or demolition is pending
• Nine still have unrepaired damage
•81 percent of properties that received orders from the City to make structural repairs have resolved those issues. Of the 1,030 properties with orders, 834 have been resolved.
Four homeowners who lost their homes in the tornado are building new homes from the ground up.
From the Minnesota Department of Commerce Consumer Response Team:
•Number of Claims Received: 3,853
•Claim Payments to Date: $63.7 million
•Average Days to Close Claims: 41.7 days
•Number of Outstanding Claims: 355
The Consumer Response Team received roughly 50-60 insurance inquiries and complaints from north Minneapolis consumers following the tornado.
Roughly 50 percent of those calls have been from consumers who wanted to know what their insurance rights were following the tornado, and generally what they should do to get their claims processed.
The other 50 percent of calls have been regarding complaints of delayed insurance claims, lender/foreclosure issues, and insurance company/contractor issues.