Information Release



Contact:   Hugh Strawn




Date:   April 16, 2015  


PLRB Map Rapid Updates Following Catastrophes

GIS Data for Use by Member Insurers Aides Claims Process


PLRB Catastrophe Services PLRB Map provides member insurers and affiliate members a real-time flow of updated data, information, and radar imagery from a variety of sources, including the National Weather Service (NWS).  They may be utilized by catastrophe managers, claims adjusters, and claims service providers to rapidly assess both pre-and post-catastrophe conditions. 


The April 9, 2015, tornado outbreak in the Midwest (PLRB Occurrence Number:  2015-0024) is the latest example of rapid updates to PLRB Map.  Both NWS post-event damage assessments and aerial imagery were added as soon as they became available. 


Quickly added to PLRB Map were the


• National Weather Service Post-Event Damage Assessments - click here

• Aerial Imagery of Damaged Fairdale, Illinois, added to PLRB Map - click here


National Weather Service Post-Event Damage Assessments


Whenever wind damage from a possible tornado is reported to the National Weather Service, meteorologists from the local forecast office are assembled into a Damage Assessment Team and tasked with surveying the damage to determine if it was caused by a tornado or straight line wind. 


The damage survey for the recent EF-4 tornado that struck south of Rockford, Illinois, was available on the PLRB Map within two days of the storm striking the area.  Employees of PLRB member insurance companies and affiliate member companies were able to retrieve these geocoded data by logging on to PLRB Map. 


The colored triangles that appear on the PLRB Map identify areas where the survey team has assessed damage to structures or trees. By clicking on a triangle, you will learn the type of damage that was documented and any associated pictures that were taken at the scene. 


The survey team may also map the track of the tornado and the storm’s approximate width.  If damage was caused by straight line winds, the damage assessment team may create a “damage polygon,” depicting the general area of straight line wind damage.  Some assessment teams may also use the “damage polygon” layer for the tornado damage path.


In the example below, it was determined that the single family homes were damaged by winds of 136-165 MPH or EF-3 tornado damage, as defined by the Enhanced Fujita Scale.  A link to the picture of the damaged structure will also be displayed, if available.  The damage line, or track of the storm, reveals that the tornado caused up to EF-4 damage, that it was 700 yards wide and traveled on the ground for 30.2 miles.


PLRB Map zoomed into Keith Street, Fairdale, Illinois, displaying data from the NWS Damage Assessment Toolkit
PLRB Map zoomed into Keith Street, Fairdale, Illinois, displaying data from the NWS Damage Assessment Toolkit


The NWS archives the damage assessment data and it is available via PLRB Map.


Fairdale, Illinois Catastrophe Imagery Added to PLRB Map


PLRB Map users could also view the catastrophe imagery of Fairdale, Illinois.  After conducting an address search the map zoomed to a map of the village. 


PLRB Map users could then select the post-storm image of the catastrophically damaged village. 



The pre-event imagery of the village could also be viewed by PLRB Map users. 



PLRB Map is a no-fee service exclusively for employees of PLRB member insurers and affiliate members.  For further information about PLRB Map, please contact Andrew Louchios, Geologist / Geospatial Specialist, at or 630-724-2233.


The Property & Liability Resource Bureau is a not-for-profit association of property and casualty insurance companies.  It is located in Downers Grove, Illinois.