Articles | Volume 15, issue 2
Research article
05 Feb 2015
Research article |  | 05 Feb 2015

On the occurrence of rainstorm damage based on home insurance and weather data

M. H. Spekkers, F. H. L. R. Clemens, and J. A. E. ten Veldhuis

Abstract. Rainstorm damage caused by the malfunction of urban drainage systems and water intrusion due to defects in the building envelope can be considerable. Little research on this topic focused on the collection of damage data, the understanding of damage mechanisms and the deepening of data analysis methods. In this paper, the relative contribution of different failure mechanisms to the occurrence of rainstorm damage is investigated, as well as the extent to which these mechanisms relate to weather variables. For a case study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, a property level home insurance database of around 3100 water-related damage claims was analysed. The records include comprehensive transcripts of communication between insurer, insured and damage assessment experts, which allowed claims to be classified according to their actual damage cause. The results show that roof and wall leakage is the most frequent failure mechanism causing precipitation-related claims, followed by blocked roof gutters, melting snow and sewer flooding. Claims related to sewer flooding were less present in the data, but are associated with significantly larger claim sizes than claims in the majority class, i.e. roof and wall leakages. Rare events logistic regression analysis revealed that maximum rainfall intensity and rainfall volume are significant predictors for the occurrence probability of precipitation-related claims. Moreover, it was found that claims associated with rainfall intensities smaller than 7–8 mm in a 60-min window are mainly related to failure processes in the private domain, such as roof and wall leakages. For rainfall events that exceed the 7–8 mm h−1 threshold, the failure of systems in the public domain, such as sewer systems, start to contribute considerably to the overall occurrence probability of claims. The communication transcripts, however, lacked information to be conclusive about to which extent sewer-related claims were caused by overloading of sewer systems or failure of system components.

Final-revised paper