Take Action to Prepare for Hail Storms

As any property owner can attest, hail is a destructive weather event. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that there were 5,536 major hail storms in 2014. It may seem like hail storms are becoming more frequent and more severe each year. In fact, there is data to support this observation. A report issued in August 2014 by Verisk Insurance Solutions indicated that insurers in the United States paid nearly 9 million claims for hail losses, totaling over $54 billion, during the period from 2000 to 2013. Seventy percent of these losses occurred during the last six years of the reporting period, and claim severity during the six-year period from 2008 to 2013 was 65 percent higher than that occurring from 2000 to 2007.

Hail Storm Action Plan

For many self-storage business owners, hail storms have resulted in costly property damage, business interruption and insurance claims. Here are some recommendations to help protect your facility from hail damage.

  • Roof Inspections – Inspect your roof regularly to evaluate its condition and identify defects that require maintenance.
  • Roofing Materials – When building a new facility or reroofing, select roofing materials that provide better hail protection. Light metal roofs and smooth roof coverings, including single- ply and built-up coverings, are more easily damaged or penetrated by large hail stones. Ballasted membrane roofs and other impact-resistant coverings perform better during hail storms.
  • Protective Shields – Install protective screens over skylights and protective shields for rooftop equipment such as HVAC units.

Roof Inspections

If employees are inspecting roofs, it is advised that they be trained on ladder safety. The MiniCo Safety Shorts video series – featuring our newest video on ladder safety – is available at www.minico.com/SafetyVideos. Another innovative roof inspection tool being offered today is the utilization of a drone that can capture photographs and video of the roof surface and equipment attached to the roof.

In addition, work with your insurance agent to ensure that your policy contains the appropriate coverages and limits to address hail exposures. Your agent is also an excellent resource for risk management information to help minimize claims.

Liberty Mutual Insurance, one of MiniCo’s carriers, has prepared a detailed hail action plan that you may download at www.minico.com/hailplan. Additional resources are available at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website www.ready.gov.

Mike Schofield
President and CEO