On the evening of April 13, 2006, an F2 tornado struck Iowa City, Iowa creating a damage path approximately three and a half miles long, and a third of a mile wide. Many structures throughout the city sustained damage.
CTLGroup was hired by a major insurance carrier that was sued by an insured party for alleged damage to numerous properties as a result of the tornado. The plaintiff claimed damages far exceeding what the insurer had previously estimated and paid. The plaintiff hired experts whose opinion was that many of the properties sustained significant damages as a result of the tornado and extensive repairs were necessary.
Tornados are extremely complex wind events. F2 tornados have estimated wind speeds in the 113-157 mph range, yet those winds vary tremendously over very short distances, even within the tornado funnel itself. Although it was apparent many buildings were damaged, observations suggested most structures did not experience winds capable of causing structural damage. In buildings where some damage clearly occurred, physical evidence and engineering data indicated damage was confined to the most vulnerable portions of the building.
Following the tornado, CTLGroup conducted on-site visual inspections of all properties owned by the plaintiff and covered by the insurer to document conditions. The goal was to determine whether tornado-related damage, that had not been previously paid for by the insurer, still existed at any of the properties. Differentiation between damage that is attributable to the tornado, and that due to other typical sources such as volume change and settlement movements, constituted a major aspect of CTLGroup's work. CTLGroup filed individual reports for each property outlining inspection findings and overall conclusions. CTLGroup experts were deposed and provided trial testimony. The verdict regarding the first set of properties tried, and the subsequent settlement, was favorable to the client.