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Thursday, March 19, 2015

hailstorm damages (ஆலங்கட்டி மழை) ~innovative hail protector.

I have earlier posted on ‘hailstorm’ -   a storm during which hail falls ….. in common parlance ‘ice shower’  ….  Recall the Thenali song  ‘ஆலங்கட்டி  மழை  தாலாட்ட  வந்தாச்சா?’….. the word ‘Alangatti’ … means ‘hailstorm’ – which is not regular in these parts of the land – though it would occur in Northern parts of our Country. 

Hail is a form of precipitation that occurs when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they freeze into ice.  Hailstorm - a type of storm that precipitates chunks of ice that aren't snow.  The falling of (sometimes) golf ball sized hail ~ could damage the property resulting in insurance claims.  In automobiles, this could be more pronounced as they could damage the outer surface of vehicles with dimple dent damages (minute dents)  all over the bonnet, hood, rear trunk and side as well and few windscreen glasses could be broken too !

India is an agrarian country with around 60% of its people depending directly or indirectly upon agriculture. Agriculture in India  is beset with trouble as it is dependent on monsoon, the failure of which leads to series of droughts, exploitation by middlemen and more……..  sadly, crop failure, indebtedness and lenders confiscating land all have lead to loss of precious life of farmer.    In some cases, the unseasonal rains and hails have damaged plantations.   The crop failure coupled with spiralling prices would push the marginal farmers to extreme despair.

Getting back to automobiles, damage to vehicles in open [especially new Unregistered vehicles] could pose trouble to Insurers.  Stray thought often occurs whether they could be protected by simple vehicle covers – perhaps not, as they come down with force ! ~ here is something on ‘hail protector cover’ read in MailOnline of 27th Feb 2015.

More than a quarter of a million car insurance claims are made each year in the US alone for damages caused by hail stones.  Now an inventor has devised a 'bouncy castle-inspired' system to protect vehicles from these storms. Called Hail Protector, the cover inflates within five minutes to surround a car or truck and stops stones damaging the chassis beneath.  The inflatable protector was inspired by a bouncy castle and was designed by Texas-based Michael Siciliano. It works with an early warning app that gives drivers up to 30 minutes notice about the chances of a hail storm at four different locations. These locations can include the driver's home or office, for example.

The driver must get to their vehicle, unpack the cover and place it over their car, plug in the remote control and hit a button to start inflating it - which alone takes five minutes. Once inflated, though, its makers claim the cover can protect cars from hail stones as large as 2lbs (1kg). The button on the remote is powered through a car battery or plug socket and it activates four blowers typically used as cooling fans in desktop computers.

Air flow remains constant - much like a bouncy castle - throughout the storm and once it passes, the cover can be compacted to fit in a boot. Depending on the length of the storm, this could also have an impact on the car's battery life - especially when stationary.  Its maker Mr Siciliano, 48, said: 'Physically, the Hail Protector System uses similar principles to bouncy castles. 'In 2009 it came to me that there is no solution for protecting vehicles from the damaging effect of hail. 'I was working in renewable energy at the time, but throughout my career I would look at an issue or problem and ask 'why don't they come up with something that will fix this?''

The system has been publicly tested against air cannons, cantaloupes, coconuts, watermelons and baseball pitching machines. Additionally, the system has been tested in winds in excess of 60mph (97km/h) and comes with an instructional video of how to use it. The Hail Protector is available in six sizes - three for sedans, hatchbacks and wagons and three for SUVs, vans and trucks.  These range from vehicles 10ft (3.3 metres) up to 22ft (6.7 metres) long. Prices start at $349 (Rs.22000 approx) and the inventors are in talks to set up distribution centres in Europe.  They are also contemplating another option that will enable activation and deactivation of the system via a text message from anywhere in the world.

Sounds like a great invention, indeed.  In India, the fire policy coverage is under Standard Fire Policy specifies the ‘insured perils’ ….. “STFI” is a named peril… it actually is a group of wind and water perils ….  As could be  deciphered, only such damages caused by the action wind, the speed of which could be classified as ‘storm, cyclone, typhoon, tempest’ becomes tenable.   All India Motor Tariff specifies more peils.  The Comprehensive policy which is also a ‘named perils’ covers  ‘fire, explosion, self ignition or lightning’ ……………. – the wind & water perils are more elaborately described as - “by flood typhoon hurricane storm tempest inundation cyclone hailstorm frost; ” The subtle difference is so well pronounced.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

19th Mar 2015.

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