Over the weekend, a hail storm hit Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Internet posters showed photos of hail piled like snow in yards. While it seemed like a neat conversation starter, it’s just this type of event that gets people like Kevin Hassfurther busy.
Kevin owns HailAlerts, a neat little company doing big things to help businesses find hail damage while it’s still small and easily repaired. Moreover, the technology Kevin and crew employ works after hours and on weekends, when 65 percent of all hail events occur. If you’re not there to know if hail has fallen, they are.
I met Kevin at the RIMS conference last year, and he walked me through the process. Where this technology seems to shine is in its ability to pinpoint quite accurately the location within which hail has fallen. Building owners and managers get notification within 24 hours, and can then inspect for roof, siding, and other damage.
I met also with Tom Winant of Straam LLC, a company that measures structural damage of the most minute degree post-earthquake, after shock, hurricane, tornado, etc. Both of these companies have mitigation tools that potentially could save hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs. They’re getting great reception among businesses and insurers, yet few are truly grasping the potential.
Here’s why it matters: Property damage from hail in 2010 cost businesses and consumers $924.11 million, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which also put total damage to crops and injuries to people in that same year at $1.023 billion.
Yet insurers are not lining up to use these tools. Hassfurther says insurers are enthusiastic about the possibilities, but lukewarm on application. Why? There isn’t enough evidence supporting the technology to prompt insurers to hop on board. Auto insurers are the exception, with many of them using the technology to warn customers of impending hail events.
Have your buildings sustained weather- or natural event-related damages? Were you able to mitigate the damage early or was it discovered much later?