Elevators are getting more dangerous in Ontario.
Someone has died in an elevator accident every year for the past six years while 1,225 people have suffered injuries, 69 of them permanent according to the province’s Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA). This, of course, points to an increased risk-level for elevator insurance.
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The most common claim for the product is unlevelling: that is when an elevator stops above or below ground floor and someone trips. However, there are processes brokers can go through to mitigate damage in the event of a lawsuit.
“The more people who use it (the elevator), the more often you have to have it inspected and maintained,” Rena Novotny, claims manager at Square One Insurance said. “So if a maintenance contract called for a monthly maintenance inspection and maintenance program, then that’s what I look for in the logs from the elevator company. If they were meeting their legislative requirements and their contractual obligations, then generally speaking the elevator company wouldn’t be held liable.”
Liability is a complex matter according to John Tateossian, HUB International’s vice president, who said the different technologies and multiple parties make the issue multifaceted.
“Usually it’s the building owner that’s responsible - they can promptly report issues from the elevator. If it’s pretty severe they can shut down the elevator car. The building owner and or the building personnel are the first line of defense in trying to see what’s happening,” Tateossian said.
“There are many things they can do to help prevent claims - they can monitor the elevators through video surveillance, and they can have the janitorial staff keep an eye on the elevators to make sure there’s no garbage or debris in the elevator pit or indeed in the elevator itself.”