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⛈️ Stop Shopping for Weather

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

Meteorologist Daniel Schreiber, CCM, shares his thoughts on finding accurate weather data for first-party property claims, and mistakes to avoid.

Stop shopping for weather. Stop it.

Yes. Weather Shopping.

It’s what we all do when we want the weather to work out for us—whether it be something in the future, like a fishing trip or ball game, or for the past, like an insurance claim. We shop around till we find the favorable weather info that suits us best.

In my early years as a meteorologist, I worked with military pilots.

Pilots want to fly.

When they can’t fly due to bad weather, they aren’t happy.

Some pilots even shop around trying to find some good news weather-wise that allows them to fly, even when the majority of the weather source indicate otherwise. That’s dangerous, and I always discouraged it.

But the same can be said about the insurance industry.

A screenshot of a social media post from LinkedIn, showing weather data from Algeria, from Daniel Schreiber, CCM.
The author's "Weather Observation of the Day", via LinkedIn

When weather 'shopping' goes wrong

Here, historical weather info often makes or breaks a claim, often worth millions of dollars.

Naturally, the temptation is there—for both insurance carrier, and policyholder, representatives—to go weather shopping for whatever works best for a particular position. This is also dangerous.

I’ve worked over one hundred insurance claims and lawsuits just this year alone, some for carriers and their affiliates, and some for policyholders and their affiliates.

It is extremely common for me to consult on a case for the policyholder and must simply explain that the weather that was hoped for by the policyholder’s team did not occur.

This happens at least once to twice a week. Remember, I’m not an advocate for either side. I’m an unbiased scientist.

This may be a tough thing for some professionals to swallow: I very rarely ever come across an issue working for carriers when I tell them there was bad weather that supports the claim at hand. They may argue about the price, or the damage, but not the weather. I’m just the weatherman.

My experience is that carriers trust an actual meteorologist—especially one that tells the tough truth. Most of the issues I see with carriers, weather-speaking, is when they don’t use a meteorologist.

Ironically, that’s same issue that I see with the policyholder’s side. In fact, I notice more issues with policyholder representatives not accepting unfavorable weather advice than I do carrier representatives.

Interestingly, I’ve even witnessed some lawsuits that are setting precedent in various states with weather information that is clearly incorrect. The lawsuit probably would have never even been filed if both sides of the aisle had simply picked up the phone and dialed a certified meteorologist.

We’re talking multi-million-dollar claims, and incorrect weather that has gone unchecked by an actual professional meteorologist, on both sides.

My point: At the shopping mall, you can find all sorts of different types and brands of whatever you want. On the internet, you can find all sorts of different weather information in different styles and formats for whatever you want. You can shop all day long, and undoubtedly, you will find something that suits your position. And, chances are, the insurance company will do the same for theirs. So, what did you accomplish, really? Nothing. Carriers won’t trust your “weather report” anymore than you trust theirs.

The key: don’t confuse a “weather report” with “weather expertise”. There is a reason that the former is so