Mudslides often have furry, four-legged accomplices
Property claim investigation mudslide at backyard of residence


Recently, an industry leader in property insurance called upon Guardian Group’s Property & Casualty Group to provide additional engineering support on a more complex claim type. In the wake of storms and heavy rains, one of their homeowners had reported an apparent mudslide. Guardian was asked to inspect the property and determine whether a mudslide had occurred and, if so, what was its cause and origin.


Shortly after receiving notice of the loss, Guardian’s forensic engineer arrived at the scene. He observed that the surrounding grade of neighbor properties was higher than the insured’s backyard and an undisturbed, natural hillside sloped toward a relatively level backyard at about 30 degrees. Guardian’s property claim expert noted two slides on the south slope. While there was no damage to the residence itself, the backyard had obviously been impacted by the recent rains, with significant local rainfall confirmed by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (N.O.A.A.) data. Guardian’s seasoned claim investigator also took note of several burrows in the side of the slope.


In this case, Guardian’s expert could confirm one slide of considerable depth and a width of 10 feet and one superficial slide (with a slip surface within one foot of the surface.) While excessive rainfall caused the slides, two factors contributed to destabilization of the slope: a lack of deep-rooted vegetation (strong shrubs) and the labyrinth of rodent holes. In addition to the homeowner’s addressing of these, Guardian recommended that physical drainage structures utilizing an underground pipe and catch basin system and the addition of a retaining wall would further protect the property.


When property claims require the immediate attention of construction and engineering experts, carriers, TPAs and adjusters often turn to the forensic property claim experts at Guardian Group, Inc. When potential claim risks and complexities transcend the ordinary, Guardian’s 30-plus years’ experience investigating and resolving construction and engineering claims helps both insurers and insureds understand exactly what happened and why. Kindly call on Guardian Group today.


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