Rising Property Risks


We are all aware that the severe weather in Alberta over the last few years has resulted in an increase in the chance of property damage or loss. What you may not know is that there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure to a loss.

We thought it would be helpful to outline these steps for you, but first we will take a look at some of the recent weather events.

Last year alone the City of Calgary and surrounding areas witnessed some extreme weather events, including the Southern Alberta floods and summer hail storms. Although this extreme weather is happening across the country, the majority of them (62% in 2012) are occurring in Alberta.

According to a study completed by Intact Insurance, Alberta’s property losses are comprised of the following perils:

– Hail 20.8%
– Windstorm 17.3%
– Water Escape/Sewer Back-Up 16.2%
– Water 17.8%
– Fire 16.0%
– Other 11.9%

The climate has changed, with extreme precipitation events being more frequent. The end of 2013 marked five consecutive years of industry losses over $1,000,000,000.

With a vast majority of homes being built with materials such as asphalt shingles and vinyl siding, and the cost of materials and labor constantly increasing, it is no surprise that property insurance premiums are increasing as well.

As a property owner, there are several steps that you can take in order to assist in the prevention of loss or damage to your home:

Water Damage

1. Regularly inspect all plumbing
2. Inspect older appliances regularly
3. Replace old and worn hoses with newer, braided hoses
4. Install water sensors and/or monitors
5. Check caulk and grout around bathtubs and showers, and replace as necessary
6. Never leave water running
7. Replace aging hot water tanks
8. Have the home regularly monitored during the heating season
9. Refrain from using appliances while you are not in the house
10. Allow easy access to the main water shut off valve
11. Install a water hammer arrestor
12. Install a drip/drain pan

Water Escape/Back-Up

1. Install a backwater valve
2. Install a sump pit with a primary sump pump and an alarmed sump pump with battery
3. Keep storm sewer grates clear
4. Seal cracks in foundation walls and basement floors
5. Maintain eavestroughs and downspouts
6. Ensure proper lot grading
7. Prevent ice damming
8. Maintain sewer pipes
9. Talk with the Municipal Government about flooding

Windstorm and Hail Damage

1. Upgrade roofing materials to concrete tile, rubber tile, clay tile or slate tile
2. Upgrade siding materials to cement fiber board, cement fiber shingles, stucco, stone veneer, solid stone, solid brick, or brick veneer

Thank you to Intact Insurance for providing the above checklists. For more information, please click here.

Please watch for next week’s follow up Blog post on steps you can take to help reduce your property insurance premiums.

Thank you,

The Costen & Associates Team