Property Insurance News

04/02/2020 01:30 PM
Car Theft Ring Targets Memphis Area Dealerships
Eight car dealerships in the Memphis metro area have been hit by an auto theft ring in the past 10 days, according to a news release from the Greater Memphis Auto Dealers Association. The ring has targeted dealerships in Memphis, Millington, West Memphis, Southaven, Olive Branch and Collierville, according to the release, and police departments in each of those areas have been involved. “There have been 3 high-speed chases called off due to excessive speed,” the release read. “In every case, numerous perpetrators rush the dealership at once, break the glass and enter the store. Lookouts are posted on the streets in the delivery and getaway vehicles.” In some instances, the thieves have scaled barriers and used stolen vehicles as rams, according to the news release. Security camera footage from one of the scenes shows a group rushing the dealership, breaking the glass and entering the store to search for keys before looking for the matching vehicles.

04/01/2020 01:45 PM
Earthquake, Strongest In Decades, Shakes Central Idaho
It was a typical Tuesday evening at the Albertsons grocery store in this resort town about 100 miles north of Boise. Until Susie Baker looked up and saw all the hanging aisle signs swinging back and forth. “Then I thought I heard a sound … and the floor was moving,” said Baker, a checker at the store. It was the force of the most powerful earthquake to strike the Gem State since 1983, a magnitude 6.5 temblor that jolted people across Idaho and three neighboring states. No injuries or damage were immediately reported. The quake was centered 73 miles northeast of Meridian, near Boise, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and, for some, conjured up memories of the state’s worst such natural disaster, the 6.9 magnitude Borah Peak earthquake nearly four decades ago that killed two people and resulted in millions in damages, according to the Idaho Geological Survey.

04/01/2020 01:00 PM
Hundreds Of Homes Damaged, Destroyed In Arkansas Tornado
Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed in an EF-3 tornado that swept through Jonesboro, officials said Monday following damage assessments. Craighead County Judge Marvin Day said about 150 homes were mostly or completely destroyed in Saturday’s tornado, along with more than 300 homes that had minor damage. The twister also directly hit The Mall at Turtle Creek, causing an estimated $100 million in damage, Jonesboro TV station KAIT reported. The mall had been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, and officials said that closure likely saved lives. Twenty-two people were injured in the tornado but no fatalities were reported.

04/01/2020 12:30 PM
Tornadoes Touch Down In Alabama And Mississippi
At least three tornadoes touched down in multiple locations across the Southeast Tuesday as the National Weather Service issued tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings urging people to seek shelter. There was significant damage, but no deaths, in the Basin Refuge area and in Agricola, areas just south of the city of Lucedale, Mississippi. George County Sheriff’s Department Emergency Coordinator Doug Adams said the damage was mainly structural and included downed power lines and trees, roof damage and at least one flipped vehicle. "It could have been a lot worse, with school being out and everything," Adams said. "We were very lucky." Two other tornadoes touched down in Alabama: one in Eufaula, according to the Eufaula Police Department, and one in Troy, according to the Pike County Sheriff’s Department.

03/31/2020 05:30 PM
Tips On Property Claims Handling During The Virus Outbreak
During the COVID-19 outbreak, we need to work differently but the work doesn’t stop. Damage still happens and people will still make claims, but we need to work smarter regarding what claims need an inspection. One of the CDC recommendations is avoiding close contact to help stop the spread of the disease. Others are better trained to tell you about that. Let’s focus on what claims handlers can do in settling homeowners and commercial property damage claims efficiently and effectively while protecting themselves and our customers. Communication with the customer and creating a relationship is the most important element in the claim process. Discuss the situation regarding inspections and the precautions being taken to avoid spreading the disease with the customer. Get their feedback and their thoughts about how they want their claim handled.

03/30/2020 11:00 AM
Major Storm System Creates Tornado Outbreak In Central US
A major storm moving through the central U.S. brought at least 17 reported tornadoes to parts of the central U.S., eight in Iowa, three in Arkansas, one in Missouri, four in Illinois and one in Wisconsin. In Jonesboro, Arkansas, a violent tornado did damage in the town with six reported injuries. In total there have been at least 190 reports of severe weather in the last 24 hours from the Midwest to the South to the Ohio Valley. The same powerful storm system was responsible for a 90 mph wind gust in Henderson County, Kentucky. The storm also brought very heavy rain with widespread rainfall totals of 1 to just over 2 inches of rain from Iowa to Pennsylvania. Flash flooding was reported on roadways and surrounded parked cars in parts of the Cleveland metro area overnight. The system also is responsible for bringing snow from Colorado to Minnesota with 10 inches of new snow reported in western Nebraska. As we head into the last days of March and begin April, we see the severe weather begin to ramp up dramatically. The U.S. averages around 80 tornadoes during March with the greatest chances across the southern Gulf Coast.

03/25/2020 12:15 PM
Wide Tornado Spins Through Mississippi Town, Causing Injuries And Damage
A "large and destructive" tornado ripped across northeastern Mississippi and northwestern Alabama late Tuesday afternoon, reportedly causing injuries and damage in the town of Tishomingo, Mississippi, near the Alabama state line. A Dollar General store was destroyed in Tishomingo, the Weather Channel said. Tishomingo police chief Mike Kemp told WTVA-TV that some minor injuries had been reported. The National Weather Service in Memphis confirmed the tornado moved through shortly after 5:30 p.m. local time. Weather Service meteorologist Mike Johnson said there were reports of widespread tree damage and some structural damage in the area. After going through Tishomingo, the tornado crossed the border into northern Alabama, AccuWeather said, prompting the weather service to issue an extremely rare "tornado emergency."

03/20/2020 10:15 AM
Tornadoes Strike Overnight Around Abilene, Texas
An overnight storm that spawned multiple tornadoes caused damage west, north and northeast of Abilene, including wind turbines south of Merkel, houses in Tye and vehicles and structures at the Robertson and Middleton prison units near the Jones County line. The storm rumbled through the area during the first hours of the first day of spring. A team from the San Angelo office of the National Weather Service surveyed the area Thursday and determined that a tornado had touched down south of Merkel about 1:15 a.m. Thursday, followed by second near Tye at about 1:27 a.m. and a third at the Robertson unit at 1:47 a.m., NWS lead forecaster Patrick McCullough said. The Merkel and Robertson unit tornadoes were classified as at least EF-2, which have winds of 111 to 135 mph, the NWS said. The Tye tornado was classified as EF-1, with wind speeds of 86 to 110 mph. Power lines were down, wind turbines toppled and several structures and residences in Mulberry Canyon south of Merkel were damaged, said Sgt. Cliff Griffin with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office.

03/19/2020 12:00 PM
New Insights Into US Flood Vulnerability Revealed From Insurance Big Data
An international team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has found that current estimates of flood risk rely upon methods for calculating flood damage which are inadequately verified and match poorly with observations. Instead, building damage at a given flood depth is highly variable and can be characterized by a beta distribution. When calculating flood risk—that is, translating modelled representations of the physical of phenomenon of flooding to its impacts—it is common to apply a ’depth-damage function’ or curve, which relates a given water depth to a proportional building loss (for example one metre of water equals 50 per cent loss of building value). Academics have understood that this depth-damage relationship is variable and that there is no perfect fit, but it is still common to apply such curves which are inadequately verified. The new study, published today in the journal Nature Communications, used commonly applied curves, developed by various US government agencies, and examined how they compare to millions of actual flood insurance claims made in the US.

03/18/2020 12:15 PM
5.7 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City was struck by an earthquake and subsequent aftershocks this morning. According to USGS, the quake had a magnitude of 5.7, a depth of 10.1 km (6.3 miles) and hit 4 km north-northeast of Magna, Utah, at 9:09 a.m. ET this morning. The intensity map shows that severe shaking and potential damage were recorded northeast of the epicenter, in the direction West Valley City. Ground shaking from a Magnitude 5 earthquake can cause significant damage at distances up to 10 km. Following the earthquake, there has been three magnitude 3 or higher earthquakes—which are strong enough to be felt—according to USGS. The organization predicts that over the next week there will be a six percent chance of one or more of the aftershocks being larger than magnitude 5.7 as well as smaller earthquakes being magnitude 3 or higher. USGS reported there is a low likelihood of casualties from the earthquake but some possible local damage.