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Weather Proof: Why This Insurance Association is Testing Roofs

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety is currently experimenting with a wide array of long-term roof-testing projects around the country. The goal? To get a better understanding of how shingles hold up to the elements.

How do roofing manufacturers know which materials are best for resisting different climates over time?

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) is working on figuring that out.

The trade association has teamed up with American Modern Insurance Group,  a company based in Ohio, to examine how roofs resist weather damage and age over 20 years.

On May 20, the two organizations unveiled the test at the AMIG’s headquarters. The “roof farm” consists of four structures covered with shingle panels from six well-known manufacturers.

Cutting-Edge Research

“This is cutting edge research,” IBHS Vice President of Research Anne Cope told The Clermont Sun. “No one has taken a roof and let it sit outside to test regional weather differences and how they affect roofing materials over time.”

While this is AMIG’s first time trying something like this, it is one of a few go-rounds for IBHS, which has similar roof-testing projects in Richburg, South Carolina, and Madison, Wisconsin.  (The latter is a collaboration with American Family Insurance.)

“We believe this is the right thing to do, both for our policy holders and potential policy holders and consumers,” AMIG Senior Vice President Kevin Randall told Cincinnati.com. “Certainly we’re all in business here to mitigate loss and keep insurance premiums low.”

Specifically Not Built to Last

The Ohio roof farm project will look at aging roofs, the climate, and wind damage.

Each of the four structures has an alternating timeline. They’re designed to last over four-year intervals, with the strongest standing for 20 years. IBHS will take panels from each roof at the end of their slated time and test them against wind and hail at its research lab.

“As buildings age, and as they weather and as time takes its toll on building products and building systems, they perform differently than they did when they were first out of the box,” IBHS’s Cope told Cincinnati.com.

A weather station at the roof farm will record temperatures, humidity, and solar radiation.

“This is hugely important, especially for homeowners,” Cope said of why a roof is so important. “It’s protecting you, it’s protecting all your personal property. It’s the shield against Mother Nature.”

The structures also come with another side benefit for AMIG employees: They can use them for shade when eating lunch or taking breaks outside.

They probably shouldn’t use them when the roofs inevitably fail, however.

(Handout photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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