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Posted on April 30, 2015

Water damage is now the number one source of insurance claims for hotels, offices, retail and general commercial property.  This is one of the findings in a recent report from Zurich Insurance which concludes that water damage is a bigger risk for insurers than fire or burglary.

The vast majority of losses occur in residential properties and can run to many thousands of pounds.  The report cites the example of a leak from a washing machine in a high rise London flat which resulted in a claim for £150,000 following damage to several flats.

The most common causes of escape of water are from burst pipes and water tanks; leaking domestic appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers; overflowing baths and showers; and radiators.  The age of the property is also a factor with wear and tear affecting the pipework in older properties whilst problems can occur in new properties when appliances are plumbed in incorrectly.  Interestingly, however, the report also found that more than 60% of water damage claims – involving wear and tear, and human error – could have been mitigated or prevented.

There are various ways in which property owners can reduce the risk of potential losses -including passive leak detectors, water flow sensors and more sophisticated active leak management systems, which can shut off a leak when it is detected.

Property owners would be well advised to carry out a risk assessment on their properties to assess the likelihood of water damage and how this can be prevented.  In addition to avoiding the disruption which is caused by water damage  it should be borne in mind that ongoing issues caused by water damage can have an impact on premiums.

If you would like to discuss the above issues and what you can do to protect your property speak to Gemma Worton [email protected].

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