Thanks to our good friend Rick Trahant we have the trial exhibit which illustrates how State Farm wind insureds had little chance of collecting for wind damage from the good neighbor after Katrina. One wonders of the extent of independence among the engineers that worked for State Farm that let claims management there write their reports in advance of their visit to the claimant’s property:
This is a suggested format for the written evaluation of a structure. Please be sure to include the header information and reference the loss by address and claim number. An opening paragraph is appropriate detailing your assignment and disclaimer.
Hurricane Katrina struck southeast Louisiana during the early morning hours on August 29, 2005, as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The eye made landfall in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, just south of the town of Buras with sustained winds of around 140 MPH at 6:10 AM. The strongest winds were associated with the east eyewall which passed to the east of New Orleans. As Katrina moved northward, dry air was entrained into the circulation and wind speeds decreased substantially. Meanwhile, the storm surge increased rapidly along the Mississippi coast in advance of the hurricane hours before landfall of the eyewall. Hurricane Katrina made a second landfall at the mouth of the Pearl River between Louisiana and Mississippi around 10:00 AM as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of around 120 MPH (estimated at 33 feet above ground in the open). The west eyewall passed over Slidell, Louisiana, whereas the east eyewall passed over Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Winds in Bay St. Louis were initially from the east, then switched to the southeast and south as the eye made landfall. A record storm surge occurred to the east of the eye with the Gulf waters rising more than 31 feet in Waveland. The storm surge preceded and accompanied the strongest winds. Also, the storm surge reached its peak along with the strongest winds.
OBSERVATIONS / CONCLUSIONS
Based on our inspection, we made the following observations and reached the following conclusions:…..
6. In summary, the (insert policyholder’s name) residence was destroyed by storm surge moving south to north. Water reached higher than the eaves/ceilings. There was a lack of wind damage to the roofing, indicating that the roofs were likely underwater when the winds were the strongest and/or the winds were not very strong at roof level. Homes to the north at higher elevations survived the storm surge and wind damage was limited primarily to roof materials.
Here is the pdf of the State Farm boilerplate report for those interested.