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A Common and Expensive Claim

Excerpt from The Hartford

Water Damage: A Common and Expensive Claim

Water intrusion and property damage are some of the most frequent and expensive property loss claims filed each year for the following real estate asset classes:

· Office

· Industrial

· Retail

· Multi-family

· Mixed Use

· Hotel

Over the past few years, water damage claims have increased in both frequency and severity. They cause billions of dollars in financial losses across the real estate industry. These claims can get extremely costly for businesses because of:

· Direct costs for cleanup, repairs, replacements and mold remediation

· Indirect costs, such as legal fees, delayed projects or business interruptions

“The number of stories your building has is a major factor in how severe water damage can get,” said Rob Sullivan, Middle & Large Commercial underwriting officer and industry lead for The Hartford’s Real Estate Practice. “That’s because a water leak from a top floor can flow down several stories undetected and cause extensive damage. We’re seeing this happen with increased frequency and severity. What’s more, older and less-cared-for buildings can be subject to sudden and accidental water leaks due to exposed conditions going unnoticed.”

“Although water damage can be costly, there are things you can do to help prevent and mitigate it,” said Sullivan. “We’ve identified a number of strategies, such as creating a water damage prevention plan and using technology, which can be implemented to help reduce water damage risks and costs.”

Proactively Preventing Water Damage

Despite how common water damage is in the real estate industry, only a small percentage of our clients actually have a written plan.

Real estate building owners and managers should create a plan. It's critical to both preventing and mitigating water damage losses.

High-Risk Areas for Water Damage in Property

Finding areas at a high risk of water intrusion is one way to protect a business, according to Sullivan. Our experience tells us that approximately 75% of all real estate industry property losses are due to accidental discharge related to plumbing, HVAC systems and appliances.

Using Technology to Help Prevent Water Damage

Technology can watch and alert business owners to water leaks or intrusions. You can install these detection systems in a part of your facility that has had a history of water damage. If your system senses a leak, it can send an alert to your phone or computer. This gives you the chance to make necessary changes before they turn into a costly claim.

Water detection systems can also connect to control valves. So, if there’s a leak, the system can automatically shut off water to prevent any further damage.

Some examples of these devices that can help prevent water damage are:

· Water sensors to detect the presence of water and send an email or text alert.

· Flow monitoring systems placed near a water meter to detect unexpected or unusual flows.

· Automatic shut-off switches, which get triggered by a water sensor or flow monitor.

· Temperature and humidity monitoring to detect potential mold conditions or to identify potential freeze conditions before a pipe bursts.

Let’s say your business installed water sensors and automatic shut-off valves. A pipe begins to leak, which activates your water sensor. The water sensor can then trigger the automatic valve to shut off to prevent more water from leaking. At the same time, you can receive an alert through email or your phone to let you know about the leak.

With IoT devices, the technology is always on the job to help protect business owners from water damage and intrusion.

Learn what you can do to protect your property. Call 941.350.1227

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