How a Residential Inspection Reduces Lead-Related Claims

How a Residential Inspection Reduces Lead-Related Claims
Lead poisoning has been a hot topic among parents for a number of years, and for a good reason. Approximately 500,000 children living in the United States have been impacted by lead poisoning, which is known to affect the brain and nervous system and cause developmental delays, slowed growth, and behavioral problems.
If you recall, the topic of lead poisoning blew up the headlines in Flint, Michigan in 2014 when the city began drawing drinking water from the Flint River. As a result of this new water source, the number of children under the age of six that showed high levels of lead in their blood nearly doubled. The significant increase in lead-related claims caused Flint to switch back to its original drinking water source–Detroit’s water system.

Lead-related claims still continue to be a challenge for insurance carriers as there are a number of environmental factors that can contribute to lead poisoning. In fact, the Center for Disease Control calls lead poisoning “the most preventable environmental disease among young children.”

To fully understand and assess the risk for lead poisoning claims, it’s imperative that insurers look at more than just the patient’s health information. Yes, a person’s own genetic history could make them more susceptible to lead poisoning; however, here are some other environmental-related risk factors that insurers need to take into consideration:

1. Is the person living in a house built before 1978?
Lead-based paint was commonly used in older homes until it was banned in 1978 by the federal government. Even if the walls have since been painted, there is still the risk of exposure to lead through chipped paint and debris.

Another risk of older homes (particularly those built before the early 20th century) is the use of lead pipes. Lead pipes have a life expectancy of approximately 100 years, but have a tendency to leach lead into the drinking water as they age. A residential property that still uses lead pipes poses serious health risks to the home’s inhabitants.

2. Is the property located near an active lead smelter, battery recycling plant, or other industry that could release lead?
If the property is within close proximity to one of these lead-related facilities, the risk of lead exposure through soil contamination or air pollution dramatically increases. Another risk that is often overlooked is if the residential property is located on a heavily traveled road as soil and dust could be contaminated with lead.

A residential inspection would make insurers aware of these risks and help to reduce the number of lead contamination claims. While data could reveal some of this information, a residential inspection would be the most thorough way to underwrite higher risk properties.

Our team at Insurance Risk Services has been partnering with insurance carriers for more than 35 years to provide the most accurate underwriting support in the industry, including a residential inspection. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you to best determine which risks are worth taking.