Hurricane Harvey Damage Assessment, Adjuster Placement: Northern Region

Hurricane Harvey Damage Assessment, Adjuster Placement: Northern Region

Posted on: September 2, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Field Observations

Next stop on our damage assessment tour: Houston and Beaumont and Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Certainly this was the largest municipality affected by Hurricane Harvey. At the time of our inspection (more than a week after landfall) evacuations were continuing in some neighborhoods, as water north and south of the Buffalo Bayou continued to rise.  Though Houston had a flood management system in place, it was built in the 1940’s and was simply not capable of handling the amount of water from this storm. Timed releases from the Addick and Barker reservoirs continue to flood and re-flood properties. Utilities in those areas have purposefully been shut down until water recedes.

As the fourth largest city in the US, there are many other parts of Houston that were untouched. The flood affected the affluent as much as the economically depressed. Many of the worst affected neighborhoods were secured and barred from being visited. As can be seen from the below photos, other parts of the city are still inaccessible due to continued flooding. Very little wind damage was noted while moving through the city, though smaller losses are expected. Without a doubt, Houston was spared the effect of Harvey’s wind, but suffered most from its water. Though the CAT response will be very long, the city’s current facilities and resources are capable of supporting the effort.

Beaumont/ Lake Charles, LA
Regrettably, we were not able to inspect Beaumont or Lakes Charles, Louisiana, due to the continued cresting of water. All four roads leading into Beaumont were impassible and the city was, for all intents and purposes, its own island. Although we could not access this community, we’re anticipating significant flooding losses similar to the intensity found in Houston. We initially feared that nearby Lake Charles would be exposed to both water and wind, be early reports indicate the area incurred some cases of flooding, but much less wind damage than anticipated.

Adjuster Placement

Houston, of course, is a much bigger and more significant problem. Though the majority of claims will be from flood waters, this still qualifies as a major wind event. That said, it should be easier to strategically place adjusters in key spots as there are a surprising number of “pockets” within the city that show little sign of infrastructure damage. In fact, in the Woodlands area (20 minutes north), there was no sign of a hurricane at all. If proper grouping is achieved, and attention paid to ensuring adequate numbers of adjusters support resources, the CAT response within the city of Houston should not present an insurmountable logistical issue.

Beaumont/ Lake Charles
As it is approximately 90 minutes outside of Houston, logistically we would expect it to be more efficient to locate a handful of adjusters directly in the Beaumont area to address an expected large number of flood losses. Unfortunately, we are unsure of the extent of wind damage in this area and will have to supplement the report later. Though 1-1/2 hours away, we believe that a Beaumont-based adjuster should be able to address whatever losses may be reported in Lake Charles, Louisiana, as well.


Robert Gilliam is the original founder and only president of Vanguard. As part of his role, he also serves as the active director of all corporate operations including claims handling, marketing and finances. Even with these diverse duties, Robert still maintains a small pending to ensure that corporate responsibilities don’t cause him to lose touch with the ever-changing state of the adjusting profession.