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Yes, the roof leaked, but were hail and wind really the bad guys?



Recently Guardian Group’s Property & Casualty Group was asked to investigate alleged roof damage and interior moisture intrusion at a residence in the Southwest. The over 2000 square foot home was originally constructed in 1998 and utilized a steep-slope roofing system with asphalt shingles. Our client on this claim, the insurance carrier, asked Guardian’s construction and engineering experts for an immediate and thorough investigation and determination of cause and origin for the homeowner’s reported damages.


As with all potentially weather-related claims, Guardian’s forensic engineer began the investigation with a review of location-specific weather and wind data. Immediately thereafter, Guardian’s construction/engineering expert deployed to the claim scene and performed a thorough visual inspection, inclusive of the roof. On this claim, Guardian’s expert was accompanied on the investigation by the insured’s prospective roofing contractor.


In a scenario such as this, capturing salient details and data with both photos and facts comprises a vital component of the clear-cut cause and origin determination. The report commenced by noting that there were no significant hail or wind events on the loss date, though there some of these events had occurred in years prior. Wind data showed that on the reported loss date maximum gusts were 35 mph; four years prior a wind event was recorded at 50 mph. The report issued by Guardian’s engineer then summarized the following observations:

>No evidence of hail or wind-related damage to exterior finishes or landscaping

>Only dents to the metal exhaust vents represented damages consistent with a prior hail event, but these dents were purely cosmetic in nature

>On the roof, shingles are in fair to poor condition, showing signs of exposure damage and granular loss; in multiple locations shingles are not attached to one another; there are a number of horizontally creased shingles

While the lifted (creased) shingles mentioned above would typically be associated with a wind event, the lack of adherence/bonding is likely due to a manufacturing defect or an installation error because 50 mph winds wouldn’t lift bonded shingles. Ultimately, the roof appeared to be original construction; based upon an expected 15-20 year lifespan it had approached (completed) the end of its useful life.


When carriers, TPAs, and adjusters require expert determinations of cause & origin, they often rely on the construction and engineering expertise at Guardian Group, Inc. Because certain claims require greater experience and expedience, Guardian puts its over 30 years complex claims experience to work for you. Rapid response. Clear communication. Definitive reporting. When you need a more vigilant eye on your property claims, have Guardian’s forensic experts take a look. Kindly call on Guardian Group’s Property & Casualty Group today.

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