What is the subrogation potential on water damage claims caused by leaky plumbing?

Damages resulting from water are one of the most common homeowner claims and are often very costly.  High paid claim dollars can result if the leak is not detected early.  Because plumbing is often hidden (running behind walls, in attics and in many instances encased in cement below the floor) water can be running for some time before a loss is discovered.  Most homeowners and business owners do not conduct an inspection of piping, fittings, and hoses and rarely even give much thought to them all until they are ankle deep in water!  Subrogation may exist if faulty plumbing work is the culprit or defective materials can be established but in most instances, the failure and ultimate loss is simply age.

The use of plastic (CPVC) materials has become universal in the plumbing industry mostly due to its low cost.  In addition, plastic is lightweight, easy to work with and does not rust.  However, plastic plumbing parts are frequently made of poor plastic material, are improperly shipped, are poorly manufactured or the part design may be substandard for its intended use.  Imperfect product installation is also a contributing factor to water damage claims.  There have been many instances where pipes are laid in slab work by one worker who is followed by another gluing the line together who unfortunately misses a few joints.  The pipes are then covered by cement and usually maintain their connectivity for a few years, then eventually start moving apart which results in a very costly slab leak.

For a Subrogation Specialist to be successful in pursuing a subrogation claim against the proper party in water damage losses the investigation must include onsite exploration of the plumbing system to determine the failure as to whether there is a  design or manufacturers defect or possibly an installation or maintenance problem.  A plumbing system less than 10 years old should not fail. Hiring the proper expert to conduct an inspection may be somewhat costly but the dollar amount of the paid claim often justifies the expenditure on water damage claims.  In all cases, if a proper investigation is not done a recovery is very unlikely.