In the last three years, wind, hail and wind-blown fire have caused significant damage along the southeastern and gulf coasts of the United States, as well as in parts of California, and even in the upper Midwest. Iowa and Texas are still working with FEMA and other government agencies on post-Hurricane Ike damage resolution.
Knowing all this, it seems logical that property and casualty insurers around the country have high hopes for a new test facility that will be coming to South Carolina in about two years.
The Institute for Business and Home Safety announced the construction of a $27 million research facility that will be located in Chester County, SC, that will allow scientists to determine exactly what happens when an 1,800 square-foot, two-story house meets winds from a Category 3 hurricane. The impact of wind-blown fire and hail will also be tested, in the facility, which will essentially do for home construction what the advent of crash-test dummies did for automobile design and safety.
The facility will be large enough to hold an entire house, and is expected to be up and running in late 2010 or early 2011.
While the facility will not directly impact insurance practices or premiums, it will help define construction techniques that will help minimize storm damage.