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The scourge of the Insurance Industry

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by S.Whiplash, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. S.Whiplash

    S.Whiplash Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
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    I have a friend wishing to put in an outdoor gasification boiler on an acre of land a couple of miles from me. Here is the response from his insurance company. Talk about trying to discourage wood burning! No wonder people opt for Heat Pumps.:(

    "The unit to which you are referring is nothing more than the original outdoor hot water wood fired boilers. If they are not maintained properly they will cause the same concerns that any earlier wood fired boilers cause. Therefore, we require the MINIMUM of fifty feet (50’) of clearance to any insured or combustible buildings, as well as tree lines. We will likely not budge on that requirement as we have seen these units “destroy” or damage property within that distance. We have seen people alter them after installation, over which we have very little or no control as we cannot “baby sit” each and every Insured, and damage results after we have “accepted them” on the brokers’ word. Our stand will remain the same as the other insurers. If you decide to place the property with us we will have no alternative but to charge a surcharge on any and all buildings within the 50 foot distance from the unit. Any property within these buildings will also be excluded from coverage."

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  2. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Western ME
    He needs to reply with his wallet & go ins. shopping.
    Taylor Sutherland and flyingcow like this.
  3. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Maybe the outdoor "gasser" is just a recast OWB with a new name. Insurance companies are not in the business of wood burning; they are in the business of eliminating risk so they never have to pay anything, thus "insuring" their profits.
  4. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    West Michigan
    I don't find that response to be in any way unreasonable. Requiring a 50' distance between an OWB and a structure or tree line seems like a fine idea. Around here code requires much further than that.

    I'd love to see the part of the email that prompted this response from the insurance agent. I'm betting the potential insured was being a prick.

    And last....an acre of land isn't much room for an OWB based on what I've seen in terms of wood requirements and smoke output. I wouldn't want one at my neighbors house with less than an acre between us, that's for sure.
  5. Karl_northwind

    Karl_northwind Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
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    Loc:
    Central Wi.
    we had a neighbor's place burned down by the OWB.. it probably was more than 50' from the building, but 50 mph winds from the west blew over the stack and sparks into the wood pile and lumber next to the building went up, building followed.

    I talked them into replacing with a GARN, and they've been happy with it for 3 years now.

    getting a snapshot into a conversation is just that. the before and after would be useful.

    Karl
    Taylor Sutherland likes this.
  6. S.Whiplash

    S.Whiplash Member

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    Oct 28, 2012
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    The OWB being referred to is the new Empyre Elite XT which has been discussed in this forum and is the same design as the Empyre Elite boiler that resides in many basements. Even though it is an "OWB" in theory it is going to burn as clean as any other gasification boiler indoor or out. Having to place it more than 50 feet from a building on his lot will simply exclude the possibility of using a wood boiler.
  7. Tdiguy

    Tdiguy New Member

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    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    18
    There isnt much that can be done to alter what an insurance company will or will not do / cover. For the most part its their choice in the matter there are state regulations and such but if they have had problems in the past with similar units or with a mfg and make the decision to no longer take such risks it is up to them to decide that. The manufacturer should have minimum safe distances posted for the equipment as to how far from combustibles the boiler has to be. Then of course the exhaust has to follow regulation and mfg guidelines. I would combine that information and go insurance shopping and bring it up on initial consult with the other insurance agencys. I would not buy or install the unit until you have a insurance agency that supports you.
    willyswagon likes this.
  8. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

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    Loc:
    PEI, Canada

    I agree. Insurance companies are private businesses, and as such can decide who they will do business with.
    That is the benefit of free enterprise, you get to chart our own destiny. There are some insurance companies up here that add a 100% surcharge if you burn any wood. There are a couple that only add surcharges for wood stoves, as that is what causes them the most proplems with flue fires up here.

    I pay a $25 surcharge for burning with a boiler. If my use goes over 6 cords/yr it is a 100% surcharge.
    That is why I bought a gasifier, and insulated the guts out of the house. It will keep me at about 5 cords per season.

    Take that Mr Insurance Man!
    arrowe44 and Taylor Sutherland like this.
  9. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    There needs to be a double "like" button!

    TS
  10. Karl_northwind

    Karl_northwind Burning Hunk

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    Central Wi.
    the other benefit of free enterprise is that you (the customer) get to choose who you do business with. make sure they know why you dropped them if you change insurance providers.
    willyswagon likes this.
  11. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    It's sad to see things like that but the truth of the matter is that most problems like this could have been avoided if people would have adopted a "best practices" attitude and manufacturers would have stepped up to the plate with good technology.

    As it stands right now the industry has given itself a huge black eye that will take a very long time to go away.
  12. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    That's interesting.........Who checks to see how many cords of wood you go through and how is it measured?
  13. Willman

    Willman Minister of Fire

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    Sabattus Maine
    That's interesting.........Who checks to see how many cords of wood you go through and how is it measured?

    Face cord or 128 cu. ' cord, wet or dry cord? ;)
  14. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
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    218
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    When I told them I had changed to solid fuel.
    They sent out a form to fill in. Which included questions like how much wood do you expect to burn per season? How many litres of fuel oil do you typically burn before making the switch?
    Are you willing to prove your oil consumption? How often will you clean the chimney?......On and On!

    When he( their inspector) was doing the original inspection, he measured off the pile and came up with 11.8 cords. He asked why so much on site if I was only going to burn 5 - 6 cords/ yr? I told him that I was getting ahead of it so the boiler would be running at his best, as suggested by users on a forum I use.

    He asked what site? As soon as I mentioned Hearth.com he said that would be all the questions he would be asking as the people that follow "THAT FORUM" are the type of wood burners every company wants.

    I laughed and said what do you mean?
    He said "Those guys would find a way to squeeze BTU's out of a popcorn fart in the desert!"

    It is based on full cords 128Cu Ft

    Of course it also opened the door for a full inspection while he was here.

    PS No inspection = No coverage

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