Picture this. It’s Summer in the Midwest and a severe storm blasts through your property. The horses are in the barn and you’re riding out the storm at your farm house. Gusty winds begin and you start to hear a familiar, steady clink, clink, clink sound. “Here comes the hail,” you think. Soon it turns into a loud and fast KLONK, KLONK, KLONK. Uh oh. You know that sound means the hail is significant and coming down strong and fast. You get nervous, but you can’t really do anything until it’s over. After the storm passes, you head outside. To your horror, you see dents all over your gutters and tiny holes on the siding of your home and screen panels. You step over downed branches as you head over to the barn to check on your horses. You noticed the roof of the barn has dents everywhere. You sigh. The horses are ok. You begin to take photos and begin the process of a filing an insurance claim. You hire a company to provide you with an engineering report to estimate the damage. $250,000. Unreal.
The insurance adjusters come out and take photos. You then get word that they’ll only cover $50,000. Why? Because “the hail damage pattern found at the Property was inconsistent and likely had sustained hail damage from past storms.” Wait. What? You know the damage you’re seeing was from the recent severe storm. The insurance tells you that the damage to the small barn is consistent with the recent hailstorm, but the large barn and the home had older hail damage as evidenced by the “inconsistencies” in the damage pattern, so those won’t be covered. It seems absurd. Emails and phones calls later, you’ve now retained an attorney and the fight begins.
This story is based on a true story for a case we recently worked on and is a reflection of the an all-to-common scene: an insurance dispute. Insurance disputes are common and make up the majority of our forensic weather client base. As weather experts, our job was to reconstruct the weather and make educated approximations and professional conclusions. When it comes to weather-related insurance disputes, things are rarely black and white. Therefore, attorneys and insurance companies alike come to us for the extra detective work. If there were reliable, regularly maintained weather stations at every Property in the U.S. and streaming webcams, this would be easy, but this isn’t reality.
As weather experts, we take a deep dive into our extensive library of archived weather data and radar. How does the process work? We are typically retained as “weather experts” by attorneys and provide detailed reports of our findings as well as serve as expert witnesses in court. However, if you haven’t yet hired an attorney yet and you’re looking to see if it’s worth taking on an expense, you can contact us directly to provide a detailed weather report on your own. You can then make an informed decision on whether or not to escalate the dispute.
Our anecdote above has a happy ending for the property owner. Thanks to our report and testimony, the property owner got their $250,000 and went on to fully repair the damage done.
If you need a team of expert meteorologists on your side, contact us for a free, no obligation preliminary consult.