May 21, 2014 10:21 pm

Hailstorm net looks to minimize damage for car dealerships in the Prairies

WATCH (above): How often have you heard the phrase “hail stones as big as golf balls”? Well today, in Langley, real golf balls were falling from the sky. It’s all part of a field test for a system designed to prevent the damage from hail. Specifically — the damage to cars. Tanya Beja reports.

It’s not every day you see a helicopter dropping more than 9,000 golf balls to simulate a hailstorm.

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But that’s exactly what engineers with Langley’s WeatherSolve Structures, which designs nets and fencing to shield worksites from the elements, did today to test their new hail net.

The hail net is made of a retractable fabric (polypropelene) designed to protect everything it is covering from an onslaught of hail.

Is a hail storm net necessary?

Yes, if you look at the hundreds of hail storms the Prairies have suffered over the years and the number of car dealerships that cannot keep up with the costs.

“What’s happened with dealerships is they’ve had so many claims on the insurance that the insurance companies are saying we can’t afford to insure you anymore,” Mike Robinson from WeatherSolve Solutions  said.

“We’ve had so much damage from hail over the years that for a start we’re going to put a very high percentage 50 to 65 per cent of the cost of the hailstorm gets covered by the dealership first. The insurance company is only picking up what’s left. So it’s a very expensive thing because you’ve got a brand new Lexus and you’ve got one dimple from a hail storm and you have to replace that panel.”

Several dealerships are waiting for his hail net  and while Robinson says they still have some tweaking to do, the experiment was a success.

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