By Leslie Scism WSJ Thu., March 7, 2019 More American homes are flooding from the inside. Old pipes and valves, worn-out hoses on second-story washing machines and faulty connections for a proliferation of water-using appliances are causing a surge in increasingly expensive damage reported to insurers. The increase has occurred even as many other types of claims—including fire—have declined in frequency, according to industry figures. One in 50 homeowners filed a water-damage claim each year between 2013 and 2017, the latest data analyzed by Verisk Analytics’ ISO insurance-analytics unit. It crunches industry data on a five-year rolling basis. The 2.05% frequency rate is up from 1.44% annually between 2005 and 2009. The bottom line is a $13 billion water-damage bill for homeowners’ insurance companies in 2017. Claims average about $10,000, ISO says. “Wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes catch headlines, but the reality is that the No. 1 kind of risk that the everyday consumer has is a water claim,” said Jon-Michael Kowall, an executive in the property-insurance business of USAA, one of the nation’s biggest home insurers. Article Continued Below “It is lurking in the house,” he said. To tackle the problem, Texas-based USAA has 6,000 policyholders testing water-detecting sensors in… Read full this story
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