Four Commercial Buildings, One Giant Hail Claim, Zero Scientific Support



Perhaps it is only expected, normal human behavior that in the wake of a storm a property owner will assume that any damage he/she takes note of must have been the consequence of the hail produced by that storm. It is a common occurrence among residential and commercial property owners alike. This particular claim involved a “compound” of commercial property comprised 2 primary buildings and 2 smaller-sized outbuildings. The owner of this 4-structure commercial compound alleged hail damage to the various roofs and to his roof-mounted HVAC equipment, of which there were a total of 13 units. All four buildings were constructed of CMU (concrete masonry unit), 1 was steep-slope, 2 were low-slope, and 1 was a combination. The combination was utilized on the largest building which was also the only structure to utilize a spray-foam roofing system.


Guardian’s forensic construction and engineering expert downloaded relevant weather data for the property site and immediately traveled there for purposes of an on-site inspection. As is common, a representative of the insured was present during the walk-through. Though this brief claim summary will not distinguish from building to building or roof facet to roof facet, as was articulated in the actual report, some of the visual evidence discovered and captured for use in the cause & origin report:

•Asphalt shingles were generally found to be in good condition, but impact marks and mechanical roof damage was detected on 2 of the structures.

•Spray-foam roofing in fair-to-poor condition.

•One interior did show water-damaged ceiling gypsum wallboard.

•Animal nest and other debris, water ponding found at roof drains.

•HVAC equipment not damaged.


While Guardian Group, Inc. never comments on issues on coverage, it is important for all parties, especially the insured, to understand exactly what happened. In the case of hail, there is a great body of evidence that forensic experts utilize, in addition to their own firsthand experience, to determine whether a property was genuinely damaged by hail. In this case, many of the things one would expect to find from a recent hail event were not in evidence: there were no broken windows, missing or displaced building materials, damaged vegetation, etc. Moreover, the weather data for this location revealed no recent hail activity; these buildings were most likely impacted by a storm 10 years earlier. This would reasonably account for the observed shingle damage, for which individual replacements would suffice. Meanwhile, the lack of care for the spray-foam roofing and drains was quite obvious.


When carriers, TPAs, and adjusters need definitive determinations of cause and origin they often turn to the Property & Casualty experts at Guardian Group, Inc. With over 30 years’ complex construction claims experience, Guardian provides the expertise, the clear communication, and the rapid response people truly appreciate. When property claims surface that may pose unique risks or challenges, call on experience. Call on diligence. Kindly call on Guardian today.

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