Opinion: Insurers Must Invest in Leak Detection Tech

A leading water mains claims tech specialist says the insurance industry must invest to fight the rising cost of ‘escape of water’ claims currently running at more than £2.5million every day and rising.

Fast becoming the highest value category of insurance claims, this issue deserves attention with expertise and technology, says Auger.

Chris Cowen, Client Relationship Manager for Auger, said: “We need to understand why it is happening and address it. Investigation and reinstatement of leak detection claims are increasing for a number of reasons as our lifestyles have changed.

“Pipes are no longer exposed in buildings, and are either boxed-in or encased behind floor surfaces or wall finishes. Homes now have more expensive finishes and will usually have fully-fitted kitchens and bathrooms. Most houses also have much more internal plumbing, including multiple bathrooms, en-suites and separate utility rooms.

“We often see underfloor heating, integrated plumbing and electrical appliances, and technology that is more expensive to repair and replace.”

ESCAPE OF WATER CLAIMS IN NUMBERS

  • 31 – the percentage increase in the average cost of escape of water claims in the last three years
  • 48 – bathtubs of water can escape from one burst pipe
  • 21 – the percentage of escape of water claims in domestic property
  • 438 – million pounds cost to the insurance industry in the first nine months of 2017 in these claims
  • 654 – million pounds cost to the insurance industry in 2016 in this category

*Source: Association of British Insurers, November 2017

Other factors in this area of insurance include the claims from High Net Worth individuals (HNW), who often own much larger properties and expensive possessions, complicated bathroom and kitchen plumbing and high specification fittings.

These individuals are often away from the property for long periods of time whether on holiday, business or own multiple homes as rentals.

Chris Cowen added: “At Auger, we have spent some time developing the right skilled expertise and scientific technology to correctly diagnose the issue first time, and importantly reduce the amount of expensive enabling and reinstatement works required to substantially reduce claim costs in this area.

“New technology is available including flow-based devices and leakbots which can send information to a mobile phone app. It is how the technology is adapted and used for the insurer and the end user that is important.”

 

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