Water-tight protection

Escape of water damage claims are on the rise, causing not only financial disruption, but in some cases leaving families without a home for months while drying and repairs are taking place. But what if there was a device that meant you could identify leaks – and repair them – before any significant damage occurs? A partnership between Hiscox and LeakBot is taking a new approach to home protection

Ever peered underneath the kitchen sink trying to find where that drip is coming from? Or worse, returned from holiday to find the ground floor turned into your very own swimming pool? According to figures from Hiscox, the average cost of damage caused by escape of water incidents amounts to £8,500. In fact, these incidents are the biggest single driver of home insurance claims costs in the UK. Yet in many cases, they’re also completely preventable.

Leaks tend to be the result of a problem that’s been trickling away behind the scenes for weeks, months, even years. Yet usually customers only find out about a leak when it’s too late – when they’re wading through their living room, bidding farewell to their beloved oak flooring, handmade kitchen and home entertainment systems. Hiscox UK is now helping customers to identify and deal with any leaks before they turn into a problem, preventing damage to customers’ homes and the need to make a claim.

The firm has partnered with LeakBot, a smart water-leak detector that clips onto your main water pipe and accurately measures the flow of water through your home to detect even the smallest leaks. The customer is alerted via the LeakBot app, as well as a text message and an email. They can then arrange for a LeakBot engineer to come and take a look. Providing the customer has buildings insurance with Hiscox, it’s all complimentary – even the engineer’s labour and spare parts charges.*

*Hiscox will cover the cost of one home visit per device every 12 months

Plugging a leak

So how did this partnership come about? With escape of water claims increasing year on year, Hiscox UK had made significant changes to its underwriting and pricing, but wanted to help customers to reduce the number of claims they need to make in the first place.

While there are smart solutions on the market that use water sensors, these tend to rely upon the water being where the homeowner has decided to place the sensor. In addition, by the time the water has reached the sensor, the damage to the property has likely already happened.

“We started looking at technology and liked the LeakBot solution,” says Phil Thorn, Head of Propositions at Hiscox UK. They began with a staff trial of about 50 employees and went on to do a pilot trial with almost 1,000 customers, and monitored it for over a year.

“We looked at feedback on ease of installation and data on leaks, engineer visits and whether the detected problems, if left undetected, would have led to a much bigger claim,” explains Thorn. “It’s a UK first. No other insurer has rolled out anything like this to all of their new and existing customers.”

The new partnership has received a positive reaction from brokers and customers alike, with particularly strong feedback on the engineer service. “I’ve experienced it myself. The engineer comes, hooks their laptop up to the device, runs various pressure tests and works out where the leak is,” says Thorn. “They can then fix issues and re-run the tests to ensure they leave your property 100% leak free.”

Proactive thinking

By taking a proactive rather than reactive approach to managing risk, Hiscox and LeakBot are offering a different type of insurance that can change the way customers think about protecting their home.

“With a burst pipe you can literally be out of your property for months while we dry it and replace and rebuild things. The disruption for the family can be huge,” says Thorn. “This shows that we’re not just brilliant at the cover and the service when stuff goes wrong, but that we want to be brilliant at making sure our customers never have that disruption in the first place.”