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August 2012 Newsletter


    Deferred Maintenance

Insurance professionals see a wide variety of claims each year.  In many situations, a claim is considered a valid covered cause of loss and is adjusted accordingly.  The phrase "deferred maintenance" has begun to surface more and more over the years.  Certainly it is easy to recognize how the economic environment has impacted budgets and perhaps forced congregations to postpone maintenance projects.  However, the harsh reality of such a difficult decision is contending with the potential of additional liability and property claims due to improper upkeep.


Deferred maintenance can impact the safety of individuals.  Think about a parking lot littered with potholes, cracks and uneven surfaces versus a level, smooth and well-maintained lot.  The risk of a "trip and fall" incident is greatly diminished in the lot demonstrating proper care and maintenance, thus potentially limiting the degree of liability exposure associated with negligent maintenance.


The roof is one of the most common examples and sources of deferred maintenance.  As a roof reaches the end of its useful life, it begins to fail.  Small leaks, interior water damage and moisture-related concerns may begin to develop.  Initially it may be attributed to a wind or hail damage, but in actuality may be due to the age and wear and tear.  In some instances, claims may be denied if the primary cause is determined to be lack of maintenance or construction defect.

This is a delicate but important question for budgetary and maintenance committees to consider.  Postponing maintenance may save the insured money in the short-term.  However, claims, secondary damages and patch jobs may end up costing more in the long run.