Update – Nashville & Chattanooga Tornado Insurance Claims
In Nashville, scenes of absolute devastation still remain as if the March 3, 2020 tornadoes sliced through just yesterday. Several tornadoes were reported during the March 3rd storm with three consisting of an EF-2, EF-3, and one large EF-4 wedge tornado that carved the largest swath of destruction throughout the Music City and surrounding areas nearly 3-months ago. The massive storm also produced hurricane-force winds in many areas that toppled ancient trees and destroyed power poles leaving 131,000 people without electricity for over 2-months. It took until May 11, 2020 for power to be restored to all NES customers. Sadly, this is only the beginning for many businessowners and residents as the Music City deals with the tornado rebuild along with Covid-19 issues.
Link: Nashville, Tennessee Tornado Drone Footage Shows Incredible Path of Destruction
Adding to the misery, the Chattanooga - East Brainard area suffered a devastating tornado barrage on Easter Sunday as 7 tornadoes were reported to have touched down in the Tennessee Valley. The fury began around 8:15 pm and then at 11:19 pm, an EF-3 tornado with estimated wind speeds up to 145 mph touched down staying on the ground for 14 minutes as it traveled 14.5 miles from Southeast Chattanooga, into Ooltewah, Southeast, and Southwest Bradley County where it finally dissipated around 11:33pm. The tornado was approximately 1,500 yards wide leaving yet another scar in a region where many thousands of people are still trying to recover from the aftermath and shock.
See: Aerial view of Chattanooga’s Easter Sunday tornado devastation.
According to a April 27, 2020 article posted by the Insurance Journal, more than 15,600 insurance claims have been filed in Tennessee with claimed property damages in excess of $1.1 billion. Officials at the State of Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance affirmed that 7,400 claims have been processed (less than half at 47%) and out of those 7,400 claims, only $370 million has been paid out. That’s only 34% of the reported $1.1 billion! Based on the calls we have been receiving, it does not appear much of the remaining $730 million has been paid since April 17, 2020. What is clear is that 83-days later in Nashville, numerous commercial property owners, businessowners, churches, schools and many thousands of homeowners are still continuing to receive the run around by their insurance companies.
Is the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic to blame? Based upon what I have witnessed, I do not believe this is the case and here’s why: This weekend, I attended a joint inspection for a homeowner claim. The homeowner works for a very large Architectural/Engineering firm based out of Tampa, Florida. The insurance company reassigned and sent a catastrophe (CAT) adjuster from out of state who only had 1.5-years of experience to conduct a 3rd reinspection of the property, which to me made absolutely no sense. Clearly all the time, money and effort spent by the insurance company to investigate and coordinate the multiple inspections of this particular property would have been sufficient enough to pay the insurance claim in full (possibly twice) which would have made for a happy customer. Instead, the opposite affect occurred. The homeowners are now becoming increasingly frustrated watching their insurance company continue its efforts to find ways to get out of paying the claim.
Below is a picture of the homeowners shingled roof damaged by wind uplift, hail and other impacts from flying debris. Also, to prevent any further damage from occurring, such as water intrusion, a roof tarp was installed by a roofer who used #68 nails to keep it in place given the property’s elevated location that overlooks the City of Nashville.
Below is a picture of many impacts from hickory nuts, hail, other flying debris. The roof was replaced in 2005 and was only 15-years old. The roof consisted of true laminated shingles that have a 30-year warranty. Clearly the many impacts have compromised the integrity of the shingles, not to mention all shingles have experienced significant granule loss, which reduces the roof surfaces protection against water, ice, snow, and absorption of the sun’s intense heat during the day and shed during night, keeping the home at the desired temperature. Granule loss also reduces uniformity of shingle coating and color, reduces necessary added weight that helps the adhesive strip to bond well and improves wind-resistance, reduces durability and protection from weathering and abrasion, and reduces protection against fire resistance.
The insurance company chalked the roof with the letters “MCD,” which means mechanically created damage. This is a tell-tale sign that an inspector/adjuster will note as mechanical damage over the damage that has been caused via natural means. Here is an excerpt from a policy explaining “mechanical damage” and its causes. Mechanical damage happens when a roof surface and its components are penetrated, punctured, or otherwise damaged unnecessarily. This sometimes occurs inadvertently when a roof is installed improperly, or it can happen purposefully when someone tries to mimic the damage that’s naturally caused by events such as hailstorms. The results of mechanical damage may not be covered under your insurance or warranty.
In this case, it appears this particular insurance company is up to the old deny and delay game. Left to their own, a homeowner would not have the technical knowledge to counter these claims. Luckily, we’ll be having some in-depth discussions regarding their allegations.
Tutwiler & Associates adjusters stand ready to handle tornado damage insurance claims throughout Nashville and Chattanooga. If you have concerns or questions about your claim give us a call. Contact us today by calling our Nashville office at 615.686.2858 or in Chattanooga call 423-702-4685 or click to contact our team.