Homeowners in Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia won't have to pay "hurricane deductibles" on insurance claims stemming from Superstorm Sandy since officials contend that the deductibles weren't triggered because Sandy was not classified as a hurricane when it made landfall (see news story, p. 6).

As a veteran forensic meteorologist, I have worked on numerous hurricane-related lawsuits and insurance claims of this sort, whether the weather system was a "named storm" or not. In the past, terms like "hurricane-force," "tropical storm" and even "remnants of Hurricane X" have been significant issues and arguable topics when it comes to litigation or determining coverage from claims that arise. It appears this could be the case with Sandy as well.

This will be a hotly debated topic for insurance-company executives and also the attorneys that represent both insurance companies and homeowners. As a meteorologist, it is my job to study the detailed weather records and data in order to provide opinions in a true, scientifically based and unbiased manner.

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