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Issue: Wind vs. Rain Damage

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This is an important issue that frequently comes up in connection with insurance coverage for water damage to structures and their contents due to rain. Insurance typically covers wind damage, but not water damage, unless it can be established that the water intrusion was a direct result of damage caused by the wind. This issue frequently comes up in the wake of widespread damage from severe storms including hurricanes and tornadoes, where both wind and heavy rain are components, but also from typical winter-time storms. In this particular case, a large complex of condominium buildings was found to have had water leakage problems, both from the roof as well as windows. In addition to damage from water, the occurrence of mold resulting from the wetness also became an issue. Individual claims were made by several condo owners for insurance reimbursement for damage, but their claims were rejected by the insurance companies on the basis of lack of coverage for water damage. Again, since the weather or meteorology was an issue, I was retained by the occupants to help shed light and determine whether the damage was due solely to water seepage or was instead due to damage to roof and windows by the wind that in turn allowed rain water to intrude.

To analyze this situation from a meteorological standpoint, I identified the relevant and representative weather stations, and obtained certified copies of rainfall data in different forms. Also included were special reports and documents which described the severity of the storm which took place, as well as certified copies of official surface weather observations which provided a time line of rain amount, rain intensity, wind direction and speed for the period of interest. By examining these observations and also visiting the site to establish the representativeness of the data points used, I was able to clearly establish that strong winds capable of doing damage were indeed prevalent over the region, and began before the actual onset of rain. The site visit further revealed that the locations of damage were on south-facing sides of the complex which is the direction from which the strongest winds occurred. By comparing information on rain rates for different time periods with historical records, I was also able to establish that the rains that did occur were both wind-blown, as well as of an intensity that occurs only about once in 50 years.

Based on my analyses, the clients were able to prove that the damage caused was insurable and covered.



To see the resume of the expert associated with this case study, see the link below.

Resume of GRX Meteorologist, Air Pollution Expert Consultant Resume

800.367.5524

 

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