In recent years, home insurance companies have been hit hard by unexpected weather conditions leading to large-scale material damages and extremely high insurance claims. Last year, homeowner insurance companies across the globe paid $36 billion in catastrophe losses, ranking it the fourth highest in losses over the past decade. And it’s clear that with unpredictable weather patterns and natural disasters occurring more and more, home insurance companies are searching for methods to enhance homeowners safety while still minimizing their own losses.
South Carolina Wind Tunnel
Jump to Chester County, South Carolina, where a wind tunnel large enough to fit nine large residential homes has been built. The fans in the tunnel create winds of up to 175 miles an hour—comparable to the wind gusts that destroy homes in major storms and hurricanes. Instigated by an industry group of home insurance companies, the purpose of the experiment is to find out how well current building codes and commonly used building materials withstand extreme weather-inflicted stress. In addition to wind, the home insurance companies have also simulated conditions to study the impact of heavy rainfall on modern constructions, as well as how wildfires spread via air currents.
Improving Construction Standards
According to a spokesperson, the goal of the testing site is to demonstrate the importance of construction standards and create a building code that will set the standard for homes insured by home insurance companies in the United States. With improved building codes and materials, new construction will be better equipped to hold up under extreme weather conditions, thereby protecting homeowners’ investments and reducing costs for home insurance companies.