Severe Thunderstorm Season Begins to Ramp Up

By Verisk Weather Solutions  |  April 19, 2018

After a slow start to the season, the first weekend of strong thunderstorms moved across the South.

Through the first three months of 2018, there were far fewer severe thunderstorm events across the southern/central regions of the US than in previous years. Based on the number of severe storm reports recorded by the Storm Prediction Center, there were fewer than a quarter of the reports through March compared to 2017 data, and less than half compared to data from 2016.

Respond hail swath overlay on wind peril (April 13th)

On Friday afternoon, April 13th, severe thunderstorms developed across the Plains ahead of a strong frontal system and moved eastward into the Mississippi Valley, resulting in large hail and strong winds that brought damage to properties from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast states. The National Weather Service confirmed multiple damaging tornadoes across the region from Missouri to Louisiana. The storms proceeded across the Southeast over the next two days, producing high winds and a few tornadoes.

These thunderstorms came exactly one week after a similar, weaker system moved across northern Texas and Louisiana on April 6th. After a slow start to the severe weather season, the frequency of these types of events may begin to increase, and insurers need to be prepared to handle the claims associated with them.

Respond

The claims process began for many of our insurance customers when large hail and damaging winds were forecasted for Friday. To better visualize the extent of the event, Verisk Weather Solutions’ Respond product provides a spatial representation of the weather data. For events like this, our customers can overlay the Respond weather data with their affected policies-in-force to pinpoint the hardest hit areas, and therefore predetermine which areas may file large numbers of property claims.

Benchmark

Hail History Reports

Adjusters utilize the Benchmark Hail History Reports to streamline and speed up the claims process. Available immediately following an event, the reports present the most accurate weather data available for property locations across the US, allowing adjusters to minimize guesswork in claims investigation decisions, as well as date of loss issues. About one out of every three hail claims industry-wide are assigned an incorrect date of loss. Benchmark’s historical data provides alternatives to determine the most likely date of loss. For example, after the hail events of the past two weeks, adjusters are using the Benchmark reports to differentiate between the claims that may have occurred with each event, based on the location of the claims.

Wind Reports

The severe winds associated with the band of thunderstorms also create potential difficulties for claims adjusters and insurance carriers. To pinpoint the wind speed at a specific property, we must consider many sources, including radar data, observations from weather stations, regional topography, etc. The Benchmark Wind Reports provide information about maximum wind speeds at the property, within 1 mile of the property, and within 5 miles, enabling insurance professionals to expedite the claims process.

Learn more about how our weather solutions can impact your business by visiting: Xactware.com/WeatherSolutions.