Photograph by Taj Forer for Bloomberg Businessweek

Simulating Storms for Insurance Purposes

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    On Feb. 20 researchers at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety will fire more than 8,000 fabricated hailstones at up to 76 miles per hour onto a test house inside the institute’s facility in Richburg, S.C. They plan to study what happens to different kinds of shingles, siding, and other building materials under the kind of barrage for which insurance companies don’t yet have good models. Click here to read the story.

    Pictured, the interior of the storm simulation lab, which is capable of producing 100-mph winds and intense hailstorms.

    Photograph by Taj Forer for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Fabricated hailstones in their rubber mold, just removed from the freezer.

    Photograph by Taj Forer for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Using compressed air, the hail cannon fires fabricated hailstones at the same speed as a storm, to damage various structures and building materials for assessment.

    Photograph by Taj Forer for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Shingled roofs that will be moved into the lab for assessment during simulated storms.

    Photograph by Taj Forer for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Mechanics tighten a bolt on one of the lab’s turbines.

    Photograph by Taj Forer for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    This concrete block structure is used to assess building material durability under storm conditions.

    Photograph by Taj Forer for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    A roof after a simulated storm ripped shingles off.

    Photograph by Taj Forer for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Hail damage on a shingled roof with notations after a simulated storm.

    Photograph by Taj Forer for Bloomberg Businessweek