Business owners, institutions and all commercial enterprise needs to be aware of the risks of water damage and how to prevent it.
2014 has seen an increased focus on water damage from the insurance industry. With severe weather events costing Canadian insurers (policy-holders indirectly) $3.2 billion last year.
Water losses are prevalent in all major industry sectors – it's not just a residential realty story. Fire and water damage are the two biggest causes of loss impacting commercial properties.
Weather is a hot topic at the moment because it is a major contributing factor, especially following the severe winter we've just encountered which has caused a significant spike in water claims.
Unsurprisingly, sewer back-up and water-main breaks are two key causes of loss for business owners but it is water escape from internal plumbing that is responsible for over half the claims paid to commercial clients. Freezing pipes, age related deterioration and leakage from sprinkler systems are all key contributors.
Flood is less common but very costly and disruptive for businesses when it does occur, as we saw last summer in Alberta. Businesses with perishable contents have a particularly high exposure to water claims as stock may be destroyed in the event of an incident.
Commercial enterprise needs to properly understand the potential risks they face to protect themselves from water damage.
Here are some top tips for protecting your commercial enterprise from the most common causes of water damage:
- Avoid storing stock that is easily damaged by water in basements or make sure it is placed on shelving of an appropriate height – keep floors free.
- Ensure pipes close to exterior walls are properly insulated – this is particularly important in older buildings.
- Keep the premises heated – even if it is shut down for short periods of time.
- If premises is unoccupied shut off water.
- Conduct regular maintenance including the roof, plumbing systems and equipment. Leaks and/or clogging can lead to burst pipes. Make sure you hire a professional.
- Install alarms on sprinkler systems to provide an early alert to leakage.