Water Damage is the Most Common Claim in Buildings
In early August in Toronto, sudden, heavy rains dumped up to 75 millimeters of rain in various parts of the city within a three-hour period, resulting in some of the worst floodings the city has seen in years.
The evening was ablaze with stories of lost vehicles, stranded passengers, and most dramatically, a heroic last-minute rescue of two construction workers trapped in an elevator.
Final insurance claims statistics are not yet available, but it’s safe to assume the damage will be in the hundreds of millions.
While intense weather patterns are frightening and costly, the reality is that catastrophic water damage isn’t limited to seasonal flooding. In fact, water damage originating from the plumbing inside a building continues to be one of the most common types of property insurance claims. The average cost of a claim is approximately $120,000 and accounts for an outstanding 71% of all claims in terms of dollar amounts.
Zurich Insurance recently shared the following cases:
• A major leak from a failure in a hot water tank relief valve damaged nine floors of an office building as the leak ran through an entire weekend. The tank had been installed without the owner’s knowledge and risk transfer provisions between the owner and the tenant were not sufficient. A pipe corroded near a coupling. Prior evidence of staining indicated that a small leak was present for some time. A loss of $600,000 occurred.
• During a high-rise renovation, an abandoned water line ended up slowly leaking for an extended amount of time. Unbeknownst to the contractor, pressure began building up in the pipe, causing the water column to rise as high as four levels before finally breaking through the plaster. Losses mounted to more than $500,000.
• A window left open in a vacated tenant space caused a pipe to freeze just inside the exterior wall. Coupled with the heat shut-off during the vacancy, the pipe burst, and water leaked down four floors. This inspection oversight resulted in a $100,000 loss.
• A sprinkler fitting separated between the fourth and fifth floors of a 30-floor hotel, causing an instant leak and triggering the start of the electric fire pump and waterflow alarm. Unfortunately, both went unnoticed by onsite management. Two building engineers eventually discovered water pouring down the stairwell. By this time, the water had flowed into ceiling tiles, carpeting, drywall and vinyl wallpaper on all the floors below, and onto two 480-volt circuit breakers. The elevator pits were left with three feet of standing water, as well as the escalator pits. On the first floor, the guest business center and management offices also suffered from water damage. In the end, losses came close to $1.5 million.
• A commode overflowed in a tenant bathroom of an apartment building causing water damage to multiple units below. The damage was more than $65,000 despite a quick response from the staff.
• To provide water for a piece of equipment, a section of rubber hose was used. This hose eventually failed and flooded several levels of an office building. The damage was over $500,000.
Water damage can be extremely costly and, in many cases, debilitating. However, water damage that originates within a building is preventable with intelligent water monitoring/leak prevention solutions. Internet of Things (IoT) powered water/leak protection (such as Eddy’s technology) that triggers alerts the moment water is detected, acting as an alert system that detects the presence of water can help, notifying the property manager and/or resident so that action can be taken, and can include a remote/automatic shutoff system at the main that enables users to shut off their water immediately if a leak is detected. Some solutions employ both a sensor and shutoff valve that enables immediate detection and water shutoff as part of a closed loop system. The end result is the mitigation of water damage, cost, and resident distress.
About Eddy Solutions
Eddy is an industry leader in leak protection and water monitoring solutions. Our suite of smart products offers a comprehensive water management system for building operators and homeowners that protects, controls, and conserves water. Our products have saved thousands of customers millions of dollars in damages and millions of litres of water waste by continuously monitoring water usage in their properties. For more details, please contact us at 1 877 388 3339 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.