Triaging your homeowners’ foundation claims

As potentially costly and risk-intensive as foundation settlement claims can be, the enduring Property & Casualty leaders are those that put the insured’s well-being and peace of mind first. At Guardian Group, Inc., two things that help insureds feel they are being well-served by their carriers are: 1) the expediency of our dispatch and investigative reporting, and 2) the thoughtful, methodical and plainspoken way our Cause and Origin reports explain the engineering science behind the conclusions.


Foundation settlement issues and related damages, including moisture intrusion and standing water in the basement, were reported by the homeowner of this 2400 square foot residence located in our nation’s Southeast. Guardian Group’s Property & Casualty experts were asked to perform an immediate preliminary investigation so that the in-house claims examiner could simultaneously address the homeowner’s concerns while better assessing potential liabilities and next steps.


Guardian’s forensic construction and engineering inspection included: visual site inspection, relative elevation survey, review of USDA – NRCS soil maps, and review of NOAA weather data.


Based upon the county’s typical soil (in situ soil testing was not requested), the rating indicated is “somewhat limited” for construction of dwellings due to high potential for shrink-swell. Expansive clay is a clay soil that is prone to large volume changes; it can expand 30% or more upon water absorption.
Ceiling staining, as reported by the homeowner, is most likely entering through an opening in the roof covering.
Guardian’s property expert observed evidence of interior gypsum drywall cracking as well as basement standing water, but the lack of either a proper grade slope or an engineered system for rainwater removal were also observed and documented. The low elevation levels evidenced by the survey are the result of this and the saturated soil. Long-term expansion and shrinkage caused the wall cracks.
The report also noted that, where visually accessible, the base of the basement’s ventilation openings had been installed at grade level.
The water intrusion in the basement is not related to a weather event; it is a long-term condition. Past structural repairs to the foundation and wood structural members also support this.


When complex property claims hit your desk, you need reliable cause & origin reporting and prompt turnarounds. Serving carriers, adjusters and TPA’s with time-tested construction and engineering expertise, Guardian Group’s nearly 30-year complex construction claims background helps you resolve your property claims more efficiently. Call on the forensic engineers at Guardian Group today.

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