The Courts Simply Made It More durable for Adjusters and Engineers to Use Some Automated Climate Reviews | Property Insurance coverage Protection Regulation Weblog

Observe: Howard Altschule is the Founder and CEO of Forensic Climate Consultants, one of many largest climate knowledgeable corporations within the nation. He’s the recipient of the coveted “Licensed Consulting Meteorologist” (C.C.M.) designation from the American Meteorological Society (AMS), which is the very best certification a consulting meteorologist can obtain. Howard and his crew have been retained on greater than 8,300 insurance coverage claims and lawsuits across the nation, testified not less than 128 instances, and have been deposed 124 instances. 

Proving the date of loss in weather-related claims and lawsuits by utilizing cheap automated climate reviews has not too long ago grow to be rather more problematic, and professionals concerned in these claims might want to modify to the adjustments or danger having their claims and lawsuits crumble. Most professionals who need to present what the climate was at some location merely depend on a $39.00 automated vendor hail report or automated wind report to indicate what occurred traditionally, however latest courtroom selections might change how these are used.

You by no means actually understand how dependable or correct automated hail or wind reviews are. When you order three totally different automated hail or wind reviews, you’ll doubtless get three wind speeds or three totally different hail sizes for a similar property on the identical date of loss. The reasoning for that is easy: Completely different firms use totally different algorithms to generate their automated reviews in seconds, thus the totally different hail sizes or wind speeds. This calls into query how dependable these readings actually are. There have been many claims and lawsuits I’ve labored on, whether or not for the insured or insurer, the place the hail dimension and wind speeds on some automated reviews have been grossly inaccurate.

What’s equally or much more regarding is the frequency during which Daubert motions are being filed to strike professionals from utilizing a few of these automated reviews. And increasingly more have been profitable.

In a 2021 Miami-Dade County Circuit Courtroom resolution, Hernandez v. Residents Property Insurance coverage Company,1 the courtroom dominated that the engineer for the policyholder “is precluded from giving any knowledgeable testimony concerning the wind speeds on the topic property on the purported date of loss because the CoreLogic report he depends upon and the methodology by which they calculate the info therein can’t be verified, as is required by the courtroom underneath Daubert, thus deeming the testimony unreliable.

In a surprising September 2023 State of Florida District Courtroom of Appeals resolution, Common Property & Casualty Insurance coverage Firm v. Navlen,2 the appeals courtroom granted Common’s movement remanding a brand new trial after the jury beforehand discovered for the insureds. Previous to the unique trial, Common objected to the admissibility of the insured’s knowledgeable, stating, amongst different issues, that the knowledgeable “stated the wind speeds had been 60–70 mph however indicated these measurements had been taken over 17 miles away from the property” and the knowledgeable primarily based his opinion “on ‘Benchmark’ information that was not included in his report and primarily based on an algorithm.”  The Courtroom of Appeals said, “the knowledgeable relied on ‘Benchmark’ information to assist his conclusion. The one try to ascertain that information’s credibility was the knowledgeable’s assertion that he “makes use of it on a regular basis.” As well as, the courtroom stated that “not like different circumstances with comparable information, right here the knowledgeable didn’t present any assist or impartial corroboration for his information’s reliability.

Up to now, using automated Corelogic and Benchmark hail and wind reviews have been relied upon solely to resolve claims and resolve lawsuits. Whereas these two courtroom selections are for “wind-related” lawsuits, the identical methodology points exist for his or her automated hail reviews. Think about what occurs if and when the Corelogic hail reviews are precluded as a result of they’re primarily based on proprietary algorithms and methodology.

The instances are altering, and public adjusters, insurance coverage carriers, engineers, and attorneys have to be ready that their claims might crumble if the underlying climate reviews aren’t allowed.  This doesn’t even handle the difficulty of whether or not the automated reviews are even dependable. What you don’t know CAN harm you. 

There’s by no means been a extra necessary time to make use of certified and skilled Forensic Meteorologists for a lot of of your insurance coverage claims and lawsuits. In the event that they do their job proper, you’ll discover out what occurred proper on the property location, whether or not it’s for a particular date of loss or a multi-year hail or wind research. The findings will assist public adjusters and insurance coverage carriers make knowledgeable claims selections and assist attorneys resolve whether or not to settle or defend a case.  Engineers have been embracing using Forensic Meteorologists increasingly more and are utilizing our info of their reviews so that they’re not subjected to Daubert challenges or motions to strike. 

Not each climate declare justifies retaining a Forensic Meteorologist. Nonetheless, when correct climate info is necessary, particularly in giant worth claims, disputes, or lawsuits, having correct and dependable climate information from a Forensic Meteorologist could be essential to the end result of your case.

Howard Altschule

CEO, Licensed Consulting Meteorologist


1 Hernandez v. Residents Prop. Ins. Corp., No. 2016-015721-CA-01 (Fla. Cir. Ct, Miami-Dade Mar. 24, 2021).

2 Common Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Navlen, No. 4D2022-1590, — So. 3d — (Fla. 4th DCA 2023).

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