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Now is not the time for a preventable loss

Insurance has long been an expensive line item for property owners and there seems to be no relief on the horizon.

“The effects of the property market will be felt by every commercial insurance buyer, according to Insurance Business America – whether through higher premiums, less capacity, stricter terms, or all three. During the first half of the year, insureds can expect rate increases from the high single digits to the 15% range on clean accounts, and higher increases on accounts with losses.”

In property management, we know there are a number of things completely and unequivocally out of our control; lightning, ice, wind, and hail to name a few. However, one of the most common and most expensive claims might be preventable. Year after year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that cooking is the leading cause of residential fires, and unattended kitchen equipment is, by far, the leading factor contributing to cooking fires.

For owners and managers of residential properties, you may think that a cooking fire is just another unfortunate occurrence that’s simply out of your control. However, there’s a solution to help stop stovetop fires in their tracks.  These are called stovetop fire suppressors and they’re specially designed for residential kitchens.

The most common type of stovetop fire-suppressant devices attach to a rangehood or microwave hood over the stove. The rangehood stovetop fire suppression device is about the size of a tuna can. It magnetically connects to the rangehood and is positioned above the stove burners. Upon flame activation from a stovetop fire, it releases a powder that automatically snuffs out the flames. The powder is non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

Because the device is flame-activated, no human intervention is required. With automatic stovetop fire suppressors, your property and residents have an added layer of protection against cooking fires, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Stovetop fire suppressors have been on the market for years and insurers are starting to take notice and recognize the benefits of these relatively inexpensive, yet life-saving devices.

Now that we’ve discussed the product features, let’s look at the financial costs and benefits of installing this type of device. According to a recent report published by the National Apartment Association, the average annual cost to insure an apartment unit is between $250-$300. This is money you’re already spending.

Cost of insurance: Let’s say you have a 100 unit apartment community and pay $275 annually to insure each unit. You would be paying $27,500 per year in premiums ($275 x 100 units).

Cost of the suppressors: The fire suppressors cost around $40 per stovetop and have a 6-year service life. For your 100 unit property, your total investment is $4,000 (100 units x $40 per unit). The average cost is $667 per year, over the 6-year lifespan.

Premium discounts: There are many insurance companies offering policyholders access to a stovetop fire suppression device for their properties at a discounted price and with a premium discount.

In our example, let’s say you receive a 5% premium discount for installing the suppressors in your 100 unit community. That would result in a savings of $1,375 the first year (5% of $27,500).

Over the 6-year life of the product, your total premium reduction would be $8,250 ($1,375 per year x 6 years). Taking the cost of the product ($4,000) from the savings in premiums ($8,250) gives us a net gain of $4,250.

Installing the stovetop fire suppressors is not only a smart decision from a safety and security standpoint, but also from a financial perspective. By preventing a large scale fire, you may not even need to file an insurance claim, which can have a profound effect on your future insurance renewals.

As we continue to see volatility in the insurance marketplace, now is not the time to assume the risk of any preventable loss. Stovetop fire suppressors may be one way to protect your property and lower insurance costs.

About the Author

Kelli Esposito is a National Account Manager for Auto-Out® Stovetop Fire Suppressors and is also a Certified Apartment Supplier (CAS).

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