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Nothing fishy going on here, just a policyholder wanting more



The owners of a two-story commercial building comprised of concrete masonry units reported damages, alleged to be storm-related, to their roof. They also claimed resultant water intrusion and damage to the interior finishes. The building contained a fish market, a restaurant, and associated office space. While the building had been constructed in the 1920s, it featured subsequent additions and a full roof system replacement in 2015. Upon notice of the claim, the third-party administrator called upon Guardian Group, its go-to property & casualty forensics specialist for complex claims and those requiring greater construction and engineering expertise.


Guardian’s forensic construction and engineering specialist obtained site-specific weather data and quickly made his way to the insured property. There, he conducted a thorough investigation of the low-slope roof, the rest of the exterior, and the interior. At the exterior, no impacts from wind or wind-borne debris were observed – no displaced building materials, no damage to vegetation, etc. As for the built-up roof with the granulated cap sheet, observations included:

• Ponding water and staining to the surface of the cap sheet

• Vegetation and organic growth occurring where HVAC and other equipment were discharging water onto the roof’s surface

• Pitch is cracked and degraded in several pitch pockets

• Deteriorated sealant beneath HVAC equipment

• Considerable staining, damage, and water intrusion at corresponding interior locations


The cause & origin report for the claim cited the maximum wind gust speed (<35 mph) for the location on the date of loss (although a much higher wind speed had been recorded 5 years prior). It also cleanly spelled out the visible storm or wind damage one would expect to find. While the roof was generally in acceptable condition, the ponding water was a state building code violation as was the drainage from the mechanical equipment. The duct work, sealant, and roof penetrations were all likely points of water intrusion. The damage observed to the interior finishes was the result of water bypassing the waterproof barriers of the roofing system through various mechanical ducts, conduit, and other penetrations of the roofing system. These are all maintenance and/or installation defect issues, not storm-related damage.


When your residential and commercial property claims are complex, you can count on the forensic specialists at Guardian Group. Whether it’s because property claims pose inherent, unique risks, require greater engineering expertise, or are larger in size/square footage than your standard, everyday homeowner’s claim, Guardian’s Property & Casualty Group answers the call for fast forensic support like nobody else can. Plus today, since Guardian now operates as a division of YA, claims can be supported by over 600 building consultants, engineers, and other technical personnel who are strategically located across the nation. Kindly call on Guardian today.

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