EMC Insurance Companies Case Study

Preventing water damage in schools with leak detectors

EMC Insurance Companies trials LAIIER's Severn technology to detect water leaks early in schools, preventing water damage.

About EMC Insurance Companies

EMC Insurance Companies is among one of the top 60 property and casualty insurance organizations in the United States. With more than 2,200 team members countrywide, the company provides property and casualty insurance services in over 40 US states and writes reinsurance contracts worldwide.

One of EMC's biggest challenges is preventing water intrusion in buildings. Over US$6M in water damage claims are made by schools alone, so EMC is always looking for innovative ways to detect leaks early.

The challenge: An accurate solution that's safe for schools

One of the most frequent and destructive occurrences within schools is water leaks and the damage they cause. The impacts of water damage are surprising. On average there are 200 water damage claims costing over US$6M in EMC-insured schools annually. When a wooden gymnasium floor is involved in a claim, the average claim severity can exceed $100,000 due to the complexity of repair and remediation.

Unlike businesses with continuous occupancy, schools have many more significant periods of low or no occupancy, due to summer months and holidays. This can create conditions conducive for water leaks to occur as pipes corrode faster when not operating, but leaks will also go unnoticed, allowing severity to escalate.

EMC has expressed the difficulties with the delay of water leak detection. Policyholders do not have the full picture of the cause, time, or origin of leaks. Having comprehensive evidence of an incident and as early as possible detection is crucial for loss reduction and efficient claims management.

Current water leak solutions in the school environment have proven to be unsuccessful. Existing puck or rope sensors pose restrictive and hazardous obstructions limiting the areas they can be deployed in, leading to leaks being missed even when sensing networks are deployed.

The solution: Water leak detection in previously inaccessible locations

After exploring these concerns and limitations, EMC was keen to explore solutions that would enable schools to be one step ahead. When they discovered LAIIER and its Severn technology, they saw the benefits of using ultra-thin sensors that could be adapted to a wide variety of previously inaccessible locations. EMC and LAIIER worked together to trial Severn's effectiveness; for this purpose, they wanted to focus on gymnasiums.

LAIIER used the Severn Evaluation Kit in these trials and placed Severn devices in at-risk areas. The network of devices was then seamlessly integrated into LAIIER Cloud, using a modified version of the Severn Evaluation Board and utilizing LoRaWAN® technology to display data in an all-in-one dashboard. Through the Severn technology, EMC and the policyholders can now either check the status of the sensors or receive notificarions if any leaks occur.

Chad Veach

“LAIIER technology is taking water detection to a whole new level. The trial we conducted showed it to be a durable and discreet solution to reliably monitor building areas that can’t be effectively covered with traditional technology.”

Chad Veach
Innovation Manager, EMC

People walking in a hallway


The result: A real breakthrough

This trial re-confirmed that LAIIER’s Severn device has made a real breakthrough in water leak detection. The design demonstrated functional water leak detection, whether caused by pooling or water streams. The LoRa®-connected Severn devices, combined with the centralized LAIIER Cloud dashboard, were a great step in showing how monitoring and leak detection can be simplified.

What stood out to EMC is not only how much data they can now gather, but also the ease in deploying Severn devices, and its low maintenance requirements. For this trial, EMC used the Severn Evaluation Kits. Since the trial, LAIIER has developed Severn WLD and the Severn Board, a modular, battery-powered, LoRaWAN®-enabled version of the technology in the Severn Evaluation Kit. After the initial test run, EMC is now closely working with LAIIER to do a pilot by the end of the year with 3 schools to implement more sensors.