The modern concept of insurance started as a fire protection policy following the Great Fire of London in 1666. However, "in today's world of extreme weather events, $1 billion has become the new normal for yearly catastrophic losses -- most of this is due to water-related damage" (source: Insurance Bureau of Canada).
Why are we seeing more water damage claims?
The weather is ever-changing, unpredictable and in more times than ever, EXTREME. We are seeing record snowfalls and colder temperatures driving the frost deeper into the earth. When the spring melt occurs, the water cannot be absorbed into the ground fast enough. This causes pooling to happen against buildings with only one direction to go: INSIDE!
Rain is also falling at record amounts creating the same result. Storms are brewing and landing in places generally untouched by such devastating destruction.
Much of Canada’s ageing storm and sewer infrastructure cannot handle the precipitation we have been experiencing.
Evaluate The Financial Impact To Your Business
Water damage can come in many forms such as flooding, burst pipes and sewer backup. It is the leading cause of home insurance payouts averaging at over $40,000 per incident. With this dollar amount in mind, have you considered how your business would be affected by water damage? Will key staff be pulled away to manage the restoration process? Will your business or an aspect of your business need to be closed, leading to lost revenue?
When quantifying the cost of water damage, carefully evaluate how it can impact all aspects of your operations.
How can you protect your property from water damage?
It is important to talk to your insurance broker about your policy to ensure that in the event of water damage, you are protected. Find out what your deductible would be as it could vary depending on the type of loss. You can also take preventative measures to mitigate the risks surrounding your property and map out a plan that outlines emergency procedures that can minimize damage.
Below are 10 ways to help you mitigate the impact of water damage to your property and business operations:
- Regularly back up computers, important data and records (i.e.: sensitive client information, insurance policy details) in a safe place above flood level or a different location.
- Clean out eavestroughs, drains and downspouts on property buildings.
- Have a professional roofer inspect roofs and perform any required maintenance.
- Inspect windows, doors, etc. for gaps and leaks. Install permanent or removable barriers to seal doors, windows or other openings.
- Have a professional plumber inspect pipes to make sure they are functioning correctly and show no sign of leakage.
- Check dishwashers and washing machines to make sure there are no leaks.
- Install an alert program that will sense any possible water leaks and have it report to your smartphone.
- Inspect your surrounding foundations for areas that water/melting snow can pool and sit.
- Install or regularly inspect and maintain any sump pumps on your property.
- Where applicable, install an impermeable layer of soil around buildings (i.e. foundation backfill areas) to reduce the risk of water infiltration and seepage through foundation walls.
Ensure all staff are trained on an evacuation plan, and emergency procedures should a water-related incident occurs. Taking steps to inspect your property at least twice a year can save you a lot of time and money should a water-related incident occur.
If you have questions or concerns about your coverage or how to mitigate water damage, comment in the space below or contact us, we're here to help you wade through the chaos.