Claims Consultants for the Insured

Do Shutters Really Help When The Wind Blows?

The effect of a shutter on the wind induced loads on a window and wind driven rain intrusion into the building through experiments at the Wall of Wind Experimental Facility

M. Moravej a, B. Hajra b, A. G. Chowdhury a*, I. Zisis a, P. Irwin
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Florida International University, USA, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
bInternational Hurricane Research Center, Florida International University, USA

SUMMARY:

In the event of a storm that normally includes high wind speeds and rain, damage to a window can occur if the wind loads exceed the design loads of the window. This damage can result in increased internal wind induced pressure that can increase the uplift forces on the building roof, besides wind driven rain (WDR) intrusion into the building causing damage to the building interior. For many years, shutters fixed to a window have been thought to reduce wind induced loads on the window and protect them from wind borne debris. The present paper focuses on an experimental investigation of these issues through large scale testing at the Wall of Wind (WOW) Experimental Facility at Florida International University (FIU), USA. Two types of shutters, namely: shutters with bracket and shutters without bracket were considered for wind directions varying from -90 to 90 degrees. For each of these cases, the mean and peak pressure coefficients were measured on the exterior and interior surfaces of the window and surrounding wall, as well as the volume of water that accumulated inside the building. Results show that the mean and peak pressure coefficients on the window do not change markedly for cases with and without the shutter. However, the shutter greatly helps in preventing WDR intrusion into the building for all the cases tested. Future research in this area devoted to the effect of window size and multiple wall openings is needed.

Keywords: Wind loads; Wind driven rain; Wall of Wind, Shutter; Window; Peak pressure coefficient.

1. INTRODUCTION

A window is an essential component of a building, since it enhances occupant comfort through proper ventilation, by allowing the entry of air and light into the building. Proper ventilation in a building is necessary to provide a comfortable temperature and maintain indoor air quality for the occupants (Mochida et al., 2005). However in the event of a hurricane involving high wind speeds and rain, a damage to the window can lead to the damage of the building in two ways: increase in internal pressure leading to high uplift forces on the roof, and WDR intrusion into the building interior. Shutters made of plywood or metal are very often used, especially in hurricane prone areas to prevent damage on windows in the event of high wind speeds (Beason et al., 1984; Kordi et al., 2010). Based on a study in Houston, Texas, Beason et al., 1984 found that glass damage to windows was mostly due to windborne debris, and these damages could be avoided by improving the existing building design guidelines. Indeed, the role of the shutters is important since they are known to protect the window from windborne debris, besides preventing WDR intrusion (Minor, 2005).

In fact, many loss modelling techniques assume that a shutter can reduce the wind loads on a

8th International Colloquium on Bluff Body Aerodynamics and Applications Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA June 7 - 11, 2016

window in the event of high wind speeds (Fernandez et al., 2010). In the absence of available literature on the effect of shutters on the wind loads on a window and WDR intrusion, it is necessary to investigate these aspects experimentally.

This paper presents results from an experimental study carried out at the Wall of Wind (WOW) experimental facility at Florida International University (FIU), Miami, USA. In this context, wind directions were varied from -90 to 90 degrees for two different cases: shutters without bracket and shutters with bracket. The ‘shutters without bracket’ were directly fixed outside the window. The ‘shutters with bracket’ were installed by sliding the shutters through the bracket fixed on top of the window. Measurements of mean and peak pressure coefficients at various internal and external locations around the window were made, as well as the volume of water that accumulated inside the building. These measurements for both the cases were compared to the case of “window without shutters”. Section 2 describes the WOW experimental set up and various cases. The results and discussion and conclusions form part of sections 3 and 4 respectively.

2. WALL OF WIND EXPERIMENTAL SETUP AND VARIOUS CASES

The Wall of Wind (WOW) experimental facility at FIU consists of 12 fans placed in a two–row by six-column pattern, capable of producing a wind field of 6 m wide and 4.25 m high (Aly et al., 2011). The WOW can generate up to a Category 5 Saffir–Simpson Scale hurricane wind speed that reasonably replicates mean wind speed and partial turbulence characteristics of real hurricane winds (Mooneghi et al., 2014). The velocity and turbulence characteristics corresponding to an open terrain were produced by spires and roughness elements.
Three different cases were considered:

Case 1: Unprotected window (no shutter installed);
Case 2: Window protected by ‘shutter with brackets’ (Figure 4 (b));
Case 3: Window protected by ‘shutter without brackets’ (Figure 4 (c)).
For each test, the external and internal wind induced pressures at various tap locations were measured using a ZOC 33 Scanivalve system (Scanivalve Corporation, 2013) at a sampling rate of 512 Hz for one minute duration. A tubing transfer function was used to correct the distortion effects (Irwin et al., 1979). The tests were found to be repeatable within ± 5%.The peak pressure coefficients were estimated using the partial turbulence simulation (PTS) method.

4. CONCLUSIONS

This paper presents result from an experimental study to determine the effectiveness of shutters in reducing wind loads on the window while preventing WDR intrusion into the building. The study was carried out at the WOW experimental facility at FIU, USA. Based on observations, it was noticed that the shutter (with and without bracket) does efficiently prevent WDR intrusion into the building. However, considering the mean and peak wind loads on the window, experimental results indicated that any wind pressure reduction due to the installation of the shutter, irrespective of the wind direction and the shutter installation method is minimal. Although a similar trend was observed among the net loads on the window, but the net loads across the shutter itself do reduce significantly as a result of pressure equalization. This study shows that the assumption often made in loss modelling techniques of reduced wind loads on the window due to a shutter is questionable. Future research in this area directed at the effect of shutter type, window size and multiple wall openings is needed.

 

Duane Reade Business Interruption -Case Study


Business Interruption Coverage – When has the Insurer 
Satisfied Its Obligation?


The facts of the case are relatively straight-forward. Duane Reade owns and operates more than two hundred drugstores in and around New York City. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, its single most profitable store occupied lease premises on the main concourse of the World Trade Center. On Sept. 11, Duane Reade was insured under a $150 million property insurance policy written by St. Paul.

After the destruction of the World Trade Center, St. Paul adjusted Duane Reade’s claim in an attempt to indemnify it for Duane Reade’s property damage and business interruption losses. Following its theory of how to adjust Duane Reade’s losses, St. Paul paid $9.8 million to cover nine months of lost profits (in St. Paul’s view) “to locate, furnish, and open a new drugstore,” and paid an additional twelve months of profits to compensate for the lowered profits Duane Reade was likely to receive when its store re-opened. Duane Reade took a different view concerning the operation of its business interruption coverage and filed a declaratory judgment action.

Fundamentally, Duane Reade sought a declaratory judgment that its recovery for business interruption losses caused by the store’s destruction should continue until the entire World Trade Center complex was rebuilt.

In response, St. Paul maintained that the business interruption coverage was properly terminated 21 months after Sept. 11. During this 21-month period, St. Paul claimed Duane Reade would have been able to relocate its store to a new location and resume operations. The district court rejected both views of how the St. Paul policy was intended to address the problem.

Instead, the district court held the period for business interruption coverage was to be measured by the hypothetical or constructive (as opposed to actual) time from for rebuilding the World Trade Center store itself, not the entire complex that once surrounded it and the Restoration Period would end once Duane Reade could resume functionally equivalent operations in the location where its World Trade Center store once stood.

Although the Second Circuit Court of Appeals had to address several issues concerning whether the district court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case as well as the operation of the “No Action” clause in the policy, the principal focus of the opinion is the policy’s Restoration Period clause.

After closely analyzing the St. Paul policy, the Second Circuit concluded that the district court’s interpretation of the Restoration Period could not be reconciled with the policy’s other provisions, particularly the Extended Recovery Period, and determined that the district court’s opinion had to be modified to eliminate the terms “functionally equivalent” to define the type of operations that would terminate the Restoration Period.

However, the Second Circuit was also unpersuaded by Duane Reade’s argument that the parties specifically intended to provide business interruption coverage until Duane Reade could resume operations at the site of its former World Trade Center location. The Court noted that the St. Paul policy was a general policy addressing two hundred different stores and did not make specific reference to the World Trade Center store. Since it was a policy intended to cover numerous locations, the Second Circuit found no support for a conclusion that the parties intended to treat the World Trade Center location with any special particularity.

In sum, the Second Circuit held that St. Paul was not obligated to provide business interruption coverage until Duane Reade could restore operations at a store located at its former World Trade Center location. Instead, the Court ruled that coverage only extends for the hypothetical time it would reasonably take Duane Reade to repair, rebuild, or replace its World Trade Center store at a suitable location.

To the extent there was a difference in terms of benefits between the location of the new drugstore and the former World Trade Center location, the Court directed the parties to the operation of the Leasehold Interest Clause in the St. Paul policy. Per the direction of the Court, the Leasehold Interest Clause provided coverage for any actual loss sustained in the event that a lease is terminated due to necessary untenantability arising from destruction of leased premises by a covered peril.

Claims for business interruption coverage can quickly become areas of dispute between policyholders and insurers. The opinion highlights that it may be difficult for a policyholder to maintain that the parties had agreed a policy’s business interruption coverage would continue until the business entity could be re-opened at its former location, regardless of how long that may take.

In the alternative, policyholders and insurers may be mindful that policies may need to be tailored and priced to provide for such specific terms, if the policyholder is intent on needing such coverage.

 


Public Adjuster V The Unlicensed


This flyer was provided by FAPIA to let you the customer better understand the benefits of having someone represent you that is licensed to deal with your claim. You may be approached by contractors and others purporting to do this same service and there are many reasons this is not in your interest.

 

How To Successfully Deal With Your Insurance Company


After the Fire or Disaster: Dealing with Your Insurance Company

                                                                              

10 tips for homeowners facing fire or smoke damage.
Homeowners whose property has been damaged or destroyed will look to their insurance for relief -- with varying degrees of success. Here are ten tips to keep in mind as you interact with your insurance company and its adjustors.
          

                            
1. Get an Advance
If you were forced to evacuate your home, you might not have grabbed basic necessities -- from a toothbrush to clothes that you can wear to work. Your homeowners' policy will cover the cost to replace these items, but you don't have to file a claim and have it approved before heading to a department store to purchase that suit you need for the office.
Instead, ask your company for an advance against your eventual claim. Ask a representative of the company to bring a check to you wherever you're staying, be it a hotel or a friend's house. Save the receipts for everything you buy, and be reasonable -- if you lost khakis and a blazer, don't head for the Armani suits (you'll end up paying the difference).
Check your policy -- even if you have "replacement" coverage for the house itself  (see Tip Six, below), you may have only "actual cash value" for the personal items that were in your home. A good agent will alert you to this and suggest buying an endorsement so that your contents will be covered under a replacement policy, too.

2. Secure Your Property
Every policy requires you to take reasonable steps to minimize the harm to your property. In legalese, this is known as your duty to "mitigate damages." It includes such common-sense steps as covering a section of your leaky roof with a plastic tarp until you can get it repaired or turning off the water when you discover a burst pipe. Your insurance company will pay these costs when you make your claim. Other steps you might need to take to mitigate damages include:
Stop the smoldering. After a fire, if the structure is still burning, contact the fire department to do what's necessary to prevent a flare-up.
Board it up. To prevent vandalism, board up your property and consider erecting a portable chain-link fence to keep people away.
Be vigilant. Depending on the situation, you may need to keep a close eye on your property, checking for new problems and making sure it hasn't been disturbed.

3. File Your Claim Right Away
All policies require homeowners to report their loss as soon as is reasonably possible. You can comply by calling your agent or sending an email. After that, you'll be asked to submit a "proof of loss claim," in which you itemize your losses and list the value. (Hopefully, you already followed the guidance in, "Preparing a Home Inventory in Case Your Property Gets Damaged or Stolen.") If you delay notifying your company, you may find yourself far down on the list when it comes time for the company to send an adjustor to deal with your claim.
Get a Three-Ring Binder
When you deal with an insurance company over a major claim, you need to be organized. Calls, emails, and letters can be crucial pieces of evidence if you and the company later differ as to who said what to whom, and when. Take notes during every phone call, and organize your communication in one section of the binder. Use other sections to store estimates, invoices, bills, permits, and contracts for repairs. Never part with an original document; if your insurance company wants to see an invoice or bid, make it a copy.

4. Make Sure the Insurance Company Acts Promptly
Fortunately, insurance companies are required to handle claims in a timely manner. In California, for example, they must send you a "notice of intentions" within 30 days of receiving your claim. If there's no dispute over your coverage, you're entitled to payment within that time, too. If you haven't heard from your company and you feel that it's unnecessarily dragging its heels, write to it (and consider sending a copy to your state's Department of Insurance). Insurance companies are less likely to string you along when they're in the midst of a disaster and know that all eyes are on them.
5. Keep Track of Your Living Expenses
Your policy will include a "loss of use" clause, which entitles you to reimbursement for living expenses while you're out of your home. However, you're entitled only to additional living expenses -- that is, the difference between what it costs you to live on a daily basis at home and what it costs now. For example, if you ate most meals at home before the fire and regularly spent $300 a week on groceries, but are now spending $400 per week at restaurants, you can claim only $100.
When it comes to the motel bill, however, you can probably claim the whole thing. Even though you can't live at home, you still have to pay your mortgage, taxes, and insurance. (See Tip Seven, below, for more on paying your insurance premiums.)

6. Get the Right Repair Estimates
Your homeowner's policy will enable you to rebuild or repair your home. If you have an "actual cash value" policy, you're entitled to the amount of money it will take to return your home or its contents to its market value before the fire -- which, if it was run down and needed a new roof, may be significantly less than what you'll need for a quality rebuild.
If you have "replacement cost" coverage, you're entitled to the amount it would take to replace the home or contents, up to a limit that was fixed in your policy in advance. (Only a rare type of policy, called "guaranteed replacement" coverage, actually lets you claim all of your actual rebuilding costs.)
You Don't Have to Rebuild
If you have replacement coverage, that doesn't mean you have to actually rebuild your home on the same site. You can rebuild at a different location (if it costs more to build in Hawaii, you pay the difference). If you decide to use the money for something else, such as starting your own business or creating a retirement fund, your "replacement" policy will change to an "actual cash value" policy (in broad terms, you'll get about 15% less).
For either type of coverage, you'll need an estimate of the prior market value or the cost to replace the damaged items or parts. Your insurance company will offer its own estimates, supplied by its own adjustors. Because these adjustors work for the insurance company, it's in their best interests to get you to quickly accept a modest settlement. You're under no obligation to accept these numbers.
Instead, hire an independent estimator who will work for (and be paid by) you. Choose a contractor who is experienced not only in building, but in how insurance companies respond to typical issues. Be sure that you and the insurance company agree on the scope of work to be done if you're replacing or repairing. If you're dealing with an actual cash value policy, don't accept the insurance company's number unless you are satisfied that it's a fair estimate of what a buyer would have paid for your home just before the disaster (not including the value of the land).

7. Keep Paying Those Premiums
It may seem ridiculous to continue paying homeowners' insurance premiums to protect property that's severely damaged or gone, but stopping your payments can be a big mistake. Remember, your homeowners' policy includes liability protection for you and your household, including your pets. This may come in handy if, for example, your stressed-out dog chews up an expensive Oriental rug while you're camped out at your brother-in-law's house.
If you'll be staying somewhere for a while, call your agent and ask for that address to be added as a second location for purposes of liability coverage. If your home has been destroyed, ask your insurance company to cut back on the part of the policy that covers the structure, and ask for a corresponding reduction in premiums.

8. It's Not Over Until You Say So

Your insurance company will want to close your claim as soon as possible. The longer it's open, the greater the chance that you'll discover and file a claim for an additional loss. But homeowners often discover losses that they initially overlooked, perhaps because of the stress of living through the disaster. Protect against this possibility by waiting at least a few months before allowing your claim to be closed.
Don't be surprised if you receive a check from the insurance company saying that you're accepting the payment "in full release of" your claim. Don't believe it, and don't let it stand. Cross-out that language (and initial it), then send a letter to the company, politely thanking them for the check and telling them that you do not consider the matter to be closed.

9. Consider Hiring a Public Adjuster
Despite hiring your own estimator or contractor, you may not be able to reach an acceptable settlement of your claim. In that event, consider hiring a "public adjustor:" an independent, licensed adjustor whom you pay to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. You'll typically pay the adjustor between 9-15% of what you recover from the insurance company, but that can be well worth it if the adjustor succeeds in significantly increasing the settlement. To find a public adjustor, start with the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, the national organization that regulates public adjusters, at www.aapia.com.
10. Don't Worry About Losing Your Insurance
You probably know that drivers who've had an accident or two commonly face higher car insurance premiums or even lose their coverage. Fortunately, this isn't a realistic fear for homeowners who file legitimate damage claims following a disaster such as a fire. As long as you're not what the industry calls a "habitual claimant" and there's no proof of fraud in connection with your claim, you won't see an increase in your premiums or lose your coverage.

 

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