Guide and tips

Interview with a claims adjuster

It isn’t always easy to assess the repercussions of a disaster caused by a water leak in a condo building. What are the impacts for the owner of a unit and for the condo association? How will this affect everyone’s insurance policy? To get the answers to these questions, we met with Linda Collin, Compliance and Technical Director at Laguë, Vary, Verreault & Associates, a claims adjustment firm that works with insurers and condo associations.

Ms. Collin, what kind of damage occurs the most frequently in a condo building?

All kinds of accidents can occur. According to statistics by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, 95% of accidents in condo buildings involve water leaks. There are many reasons for this: natural causes, burst pipes, defects, or simply human error. Many devices can cause water leaks in a home: dishwasher, refrigerator with a water dispenser, toilet, etc. Water by nature infiltrates everywhere and consequently can cause a lot of damage. In fact, every building includes sealed areas for wiring or pipes that can increase the extent of the water damage.

How can you prevent these kinds of accidents? And what do you think of leak prevention systems such as HydroSolution’s Akwa solution?

Prevention is key. It’s very important for owners and administrators to regularly assess their installations. Among other things, they must visually inspect appliances, conduct inspection tours, carry out regular maintenance work, and collaborate with certified professionals to install equipment such as water heaters. We always insist that installation technicians be accredited professionals with the experience necessary to carry out a safe installation. As for the leak detection system, I think this is a great innovation. It’s a device designed for prevention purposes and can ensure peace of mind for co-owners and administrators.

On average, how long does construction work take after water damage and how much does this cost?

Every accident is different. It really depends on the scope of the damage, the condition of the site, and the availability of the entrepreneur. In the case of a condo building with many floors, water damage may unfortunately affect several units and have major repercussions. Water damage cleanup that involves drying equipment may take several weeks. In the case of a major accident, the occupants may even have to leave their home and stay somewhere else. The loss of movable property is also a possible consequence. In brief, this kind of accident creates a lot of stress. Sometimes, the location where the water damage began isn’t affected but adjacent units are, which can lead to strain between neighbours.

Are their costs associated with water damage that are not covered by insurance policies?

An increase in the number of water leaks has resulted in changes in the insurance market for condo associations: policies don’t cover as much and there has been an increase in premiums and deductibles. Other than the deductible, the damage is covered by the underlying contract or by the rider. Of course, the costs of fixing the cause are not covered except in the case of frozen pipes. On average, even with an insurance policy, the costs of a water leak can vary between $8,000 to $12,000 for co-ownerships. Keep in mind that these amounts can be even higher depending on the cause of the leak.

To your knowledge, what are the benefits of trusting a company like HydroSolution?

Peace of mind because the work is done by certified installation technicians. That’s what is recommended for co-owners.