In this industry, there are always new tools, techniques or services that can benefit customers. In identifying emerging technologies to manage risk, the Aviva Risk Management team often takes a holistic approach and one that ultimately helps customers.
Brandon Spearing, manager of Technical Services in Aviva’s Risk Management team, says the key is to connect industry trends with the knowledge of viable solutions to “bring awareness directly to customers where they can feel it — it’s tangible and they can see the benefits.”
A perfect example of an emerging technology is Water Protec’s active leak detection system which utilizes wireless sensors that detect leaks and communicates them to a control panel 24/7, enabling buildings to shut off the water supply to specific areas while the rest of the building remains functional. Spearing and his team immediately recognized the technology as something that could benefit its customers, particularly the BC Non-Profit Association, whose members manage residential buildings of various sizes — including buildings like those managed by the Red Door Housing Society. In collaboration with Aviva and the BC Non-Profit Association, Red Door Housing Society was selected to pilot Water Protec’s system.
“The idea came up and we had a very receptive client and supportive broker in Marsh who were eager to tackle the issue of water loss at its root cause,” Bryan Kirton, head of Aviva Risk Management, said, adding Aviva Canada contributed $25,000 towards the cost of the project. “It was an opportunity for Red Door Housing Society, on a brand-new facility, to utilize this technology to reduce water related losses throughout the lifecycle of the building."
The project involves the installation of 371 sensors — strategically placed close to devices like dishwashers, laundry machines and sinks that are known to cause loss — and 106 shut-off valves throughout the seven storey, 53-unit residential building. A key feature of this system, in large buildings, is its ability to notify building management of the exact location of the leak to allow them to respond to the problem quickly. Many similar systems on the market don’t have this and other features that are viable for large commercial and residential buildings.
Aviva will monitor the results of the pilot project for two years, comparing the number of leaks to the number of potential claims. The measure of success will be where the system detects those leaks and limits water damage to its source. With water being one of the leading causes of property loss for many property insurers, which is often reflected in higher insurance costs, this is an example where emerging technology can help reduce both for customers and the insurance industry.
“We are subject matter experts in insurance, but we are also very knowledgeable and familiar with how buildings operate,” said Spearing. “We see thousands of clients a year and the market is looking for solutions.”
When you’re in risk management, “it doesn’t matter what company hat you wear — our objective is to find solutions to mitigate potential loss,” Kirton noted, adding that keeping up with emerging technologies is something the insurance industry has always done that helps to drive positive change within the industry.
The overarching goal is simple: to increase awareness of the benefits of active water leak detection systems in mitigating and preventing losses “whether it be an association, commercial building owners, property managers or the residents that are grossly impacted by the losses,” Spearing said.
“Our long-term goals are always to help improve risk for all stakeholders,” he said. “One of the great benefits of technology like this from an insurance standpoint is that it can help to make you a more attractive risk — and that’s a huge positive considering the current landscape.”
“But this project isn’t just about insurance,” Kirton noted. “Water damage is most impactful to our customers whether it be loss of valuable possessions, property, time and potentially their health. We’re a people-first company — we’re always trying to find something that resonates with and protects the end user.
“Aviva Canada is invested in this and wants it to succeed. It’s a proud moment — everybody was aligned, we had a common goal and interest and we got to where we are today. That should be commended.”
The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice.