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VISUALIZE | INSIGHTS THAT POWER INNOVATION

Three renovation trends that are important for insurers to monitor

Property owners are working on home updates more frequently than ever before. These projects often transform their homes both inside and out, pursuing environmentally conscious projects, keeping up with interior maintenance, and creating outdoor oases in their backyards.

Property owners are working on home updates more frequently than ever before.

Permits for home construction increased 20 percent overall from 2017 to 2021, according to Verisk research.

Knowing about updates to a home is critical for insurers. By uncovering property change events during the policy life cycle, insurers can better understand their book of business. This information can help them improve profitability, maintain underwriting guidelines, and focus on new business growth.

Permits for home construction increased 20 percent overall from 2017 to 2021, according to Verisk research.1 Taking a closer look, this data reveals three noteworthy trends.

Permits for home construction increased 20 percent overall from 2017 to 2021, according to Verisk research

The popularity of solar panels

Homeowners added solar panels at a rapid rate between 2017 and 2021, with permitted solar panel installation increasing 123 percent in that time, according to Verisk data. Broken down by region, these eco-conscious installations increased by 466 percent in the Midwest and 99 percent in Western states.

In the West, these installations were likely driven by new regulations; for example, solar panels have been required in all new construction in California since the beginning of 2020.1 Despite the increase of solar panel installations in the Midwest, solar panel installations were not among the region's top five most pursued projects.

New hazards from exterior improvements

Other outdoor improvements were immensely popular among property owners. The number of permitted pool installations increased 68 percent between 2017 and 2021. While they bring enjoyment to homeowners, pools can increase the liability risk by increasing the potential for accidents.

They are also associated with other renovation categories. Secondary structures increased 41 percent in that time period. These permits may include pool houses, outdoor kitchens, and fire pits.

Steady increases for interior projects

Verisk found homeowners pursued interior projects more moderately than exterior projects, with permitted activity increasing 4 percent for kitchens, 15 percent for baths, and 12 percent for additions. Maintenance projects also increased between 2017 and 2021, with permits for electrical work increasing 20 percent, mechanical projects increasing 14 percent, and plumbing projects rising 11 percent.

These interior projects are essential to capture as they enhance structural integrity to help ensure condition stays up to par and increase replacement costs in the event of a claim.

Stay up to date on the latest activity

As solar panels, exterior enhancements, and renovations become more popular, monitoring property change events can help insurers to underwrite with a more precise understanding of risk, pursue new opportunities, and enhance profitability.

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Barbara Gipson

Barbara Gipson is senior director of personal property product management at Verisk. She can be reached at Barbara.Gipson@verisk.com.


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  1. Chappell, Bill, “California Gives Final OK To Require Solar Panels On New Houses,” NPR, December 6, 2018, < https://www.npr.org/2018/12/06/674075032/california-gives-final-ok-to-requiring-solar-panels-on-new-houses >, accessed March 1, 2022.

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