14 February 2016
Smart Meters: Changes are Coming to Your Insurance Policy
by Norman Lambe, LA Home and Business Insurance Examiner, 7 February 2016
Due to the accumulation of fire related damage to homes and businesses from Smart Meter related malfunctions, Insurance Underwriting Offices across the country are contemplating new rules that will reduce the coverage available to you due to fire damage from a Smart Meter failure.
In the past, only two reasons existed for an insurance company to consider not paying for fire damage to your home or business, they were arson, and the fact the home or business sat vacant for at least 60 days or more before the fire.
Now a possible third reason can be added to that list, is the malfunction of a Smart Meter. What will most likely take place is that you will receive a notification from your Insurance Company telling you that a new limitation of coverage is now in force on your policy. When fire damage occurs to your home or business and the cause of the fire can be traced to a malfunction of your Smart Meter, then your company would not be held responsible for the financial loss.
The reason for this type of Draconian action on the part of the Insurance industry is simple, to save money. It appears that as the Smart Meters age, more problems are developing with them. When you couple this with the continued lack of co-operation from the Utility Companies, a reduction in the amount of coverage for an insurance policy is the only remaining answer.
The Utilities lack of co-operation can be reduced to two specific items. Number one would be the utilities continued action of removing the Meters from the loss site without giving the Insurance Company the chance to examine the Meter to determine the cause of the fire. It seems that as long as the Utility Companies continue in this practice, a cancellation in coverage from a Smart Meter fire is the end result. The reason that utility companies give for removal of the Meters is that the meters belong to the Utility Company which is a true statement, however, in the spirit of co-operation and concern for their customers, the Utility Companies should leave the Meters at the loss site until a complete examination of them can be done.
A second and perhaps more compelling reason for removal of the Smart Meters from the loss site is that the Utility Company does not want the Insurance Company to discover that most Meters have been operating at a higher temperature than usual. The normal ambient operating temperature for a new Smart Meter is 89 Degrees, the average operating temperature for the Analog Meters, which the Smart Meters replaced, is 85 degrees. The way in which the Utility Companies dealt with this problem was to drill two holes in the top of the Meter casings to let the heat out. Well, they let the heat out, but also let water and dust inside which made the malfunction of the Smart Meter almost a certainty.
If you have the opportunity, consult your state’s Public Utility Commission and refuse to have the new Smart Meter installed, it may just save you money.