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  1. #1
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    Default Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    I have recently performed a 4-point insurance inspection which contained one stranded aluminum branch 240V circuit. Because I answered "Yes" to the question of any AL wiring, the insurance is being cancelled. I did specify that it was one 40 Amp breaker and that is was multi-stranded AL w.ire. After explaining to the agent the difference between single and multi stranded, the underwriters are still not interested. It is an automatic "no".
    I would love feedback and suggestions. I have polled many of my peers in the field and they are split. Some say they do not report it if it is stranded. It seems that insurance companies are cancelling more and more.
    Thank you in advance for your responses.
    Jean Anne Baker, Home Spec Solutions, Inc

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    Maybe you could have answered;
    No AL wiring was present on any 120v circuit.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    All service cables from the electrical provider are aluminum. Do you report that?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    I would not report that because the service cables are not branch circuits.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    This seems to be a common problem being called out by insurers who are not code authorities and don't seem to comprehend that stranded aluminum wiring is acceptable to electrical code authorities, even in Canada, and has never been condemned or discontinued for use.

    The alternative regrettably is to find another insurer and if it is questioned again ask the insurer if an electrical inspection is acceptable to them in order to ensure everything is fine and would be acceptable to them in order to write a policy.

    Up here in Ontario there are many older house from the late 60's to 70's which were wired with aluminum and there is not a concern with it as far as the code authorities are concerned.

    The insurers seem to be calling the shots arbitrarily and so far no one seems able or willing to take them to task for their ignorance.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by Jean Anne Baker View Post
    I have recently performed a 4-point insurance inspection which contained one stranded aluminum branch 240V circuit. Because I answered "Yes" to the question of any AL wiring, the insurance is being cancelled. I did specify that it was one 40 Amp breaker and that is was multi-stranded AL w.ire. After explaining to the agent the difference between single and multi stranded, the underwriters are still not interested. It is an automatic "no".
    I would love feedback and suggestions. I have polled many of my peers in the field and they are split. Some say they do not report it if it is stranded. It seems that insurance companies are cancelling more and more.
    Thank you in advance for your responses.
    Jean Anne Baker, Home Spec Solutions, Inc
    What was the exact question asked by the insurer?


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    What was the presumed #6 (40 amp CB) supplying? I realize you stated a branch circuit not a feeder - but for what? One that requires a critical ground (copper) to exterior or proximity to earth/grade such as hot tub or Pool heater? Electric cook top? electric heat? exterior split HP, exterior (salt water/air exposure) what?

    Did you identify the condutors or cable by its markings?

    Insurance co. supplied form or using form or format of others?

    My understanding of changes that have taken place in the industry for the last year or so, that any company looking for information on older properties regards electrical wants to know information on both the service cable type and the wiring.

    After much ado August 2010, My understanding is that Citizens now limits its concern on AL wiring to multi-outlet branch circuits and is not canceling or requiring remediation for 240v 30A+ individual branch circuits or 120/240V feeders as long as a licensed electrician inspects & certifies the panel and connections (for corrosion, oxidation, torque, etc.). It is also my understanding that Several other companies are of the same opinion, and that stranded compact modern aluminum is not an issue if properly installed.

    This is from an email I had been forwarded earlier this year:

    Effective 8/1/2010 and as announced in Agent Technical Bulletin #005-10, the Uninsurable Properties section of the personal residential Rules of Practice was amended to clarify that potentially hazardous electrical conditions include properties with aluminum branch wiring circuits.

    The rule change was to address concerns related to the original installation (1965-1972) of single-strand aluminum/solid aluminum wiring connected to the lower branch circuits (receptacles, switches, lights and small appliances). Homes with aluminum main service wires and heavier 240 volt circuits that feed major appliances (e.g., dryers, ranges, air conditioners) are eligible for coverage with Citizens.

    Citizens has continued to research an acceptable remediation/repair for homes with aluminum branch wiring and currently accepts homes meeting at least one of the following conditions:
    • The home has been rewired completely with copper wiring.
    • All aluminum-to-copper connections (e.g. light fixtures, fan fixtures, outlets and switches) have been repaired via the COPALUM crimp method.
    • All aluminum-to-copper connections (e.g. light fixtures, fan fixtures,outlets and switches) have been repaired via the AlumiConn connector method.
    Note: In all cases of aluminum branch wiring, Citizens requires that all aluminum branch circuit wire connections to the service panel must have been inspected and repaired as necessary to ensure no corrosion/oxidation is present and all connections are tight, before Citizens can insure the home.

    An application for a home that has all aluminum branch wiring circuit connections remediated using one of the methods above may be submitted unbound to Citizens Underwriting for review.

    To establish eligibility for coverage, documentaiton from a Florida-licensed electrician confirming that all aluminum-to-copper connections have been repaired via the COPALUM crimp method or the AlumiConn connector method must be submitted. In addition, the property must meet all other eligibility requirements.

    _________

    Agents and Customer Service Representatives may submit underwriting questions via the Contact Us option on our website. You should receive a response within two business days.

    This e-mail is not spam. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation communicates by e-mail. You received this e-mail because you are an appointed agent with Citizens or we received a request to add your address to our e-mail distribution list. If you are an appointed agent, removing your name from the distribution list requires termination of your appointment. To have your appointment terminated, contact Agent Administration at agents@citizensfla.com or 800.737.5822. If you are not an appointed agent or if you received this message in error, you can unsubscribe via our website.

    Citizens Property Insurance Corporation
    http://www.citizensfla.com


    So which company?

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-12-2011 at 01:24 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    R.W.,

    Florida is a market that many insurers are looking to exit and/or severely limit their exposure, recover from losses, and reduce liability (and have been for years) One of the reasons "Citizens" was created (the insurer of last resort, save Surplus lines) which is pooled and state run.

    Keep in mind - its all about location, location, location. Coastal/gulf, hurricanes, high water tables (mostly brackish), the basic geology, and the type and manner of building prolific. These 4-point inspections are usually first time and renewals for older properties.

    See this (clickable) link from the State, last updated in March of this year, which (IMO) does a good job of summarizing what's "going on" in FL regards "aluminum wiring" and Home Owners Insurance:

    Residential Underwriting - Aluminum Wiring

    Some of these "4-point inspectors" are doing these in 10-15 minutes and for $40-75 per.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by Jean Anne Baker View Post
    I have recently performed a 4-point insurance inspection which contained one stranded aluminum branch 240V circuit.
    I would recommend to the owner to re-wire that branch circuit with copper, then they should be clear to obtain their insurance as you can then write "No" for 'are there are aluminum branch circuits' - far cheaper than trying to find more expensive insurance elsewhere ... if it is even available.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    Thanks HG.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    Correct answer to insurer's question - "There are no solid Aluminum branch circuits." That is all they need to be concerned about. Whether they know it or not.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Correct answer to insurer's question - "There are no solid Aluminum branch circuits." That is all they need to be concerned about. Whether they know it or not.
    That's just frankly an untrue generalization.

    Undersized or non-existant ecgs, undersized or non-existant or bare neutrals existing in conditions where otherwise were or are now required, older aluminum alloys, verifying connections at the meter, service point, and panel(s) and that all contacts and equipment(s) are appropriately specifically indicated (i.e. marked or labeled) for use with aluminum conductors, and the proximity, application and conditions under which are being used; these 4-point inspections are called for on older homes.

    Obviously didn't avail yourself of the State of Florida summary link I provided in post addressed to Raymond Wand.

    Argument is faulty as insurers/underwriters/imdemity entities are allowed to exclude conditions which were legally installed in the past, i.e. Knob & Tube, etc. fused neutrals (common up through 30s), split-bus service panel equipment, etc.



    Background: From the late 1960ís thru the 1970ís (with continued use in some areas until the mid 80ís), some builders opted to wire homes with aluminum due to the increased cost of copper. Electricians used terminals and receptacles made specifically for copper wire, however aluminum wire was used instead. This resulted in an increased risk of fire.

    While changing the electrical outlets and switches in the home to those which are manufactured specifically for copper and aluminum wiring reduces the risk, most insurers choose only to look at the use of the aluminum wire as a determining factor when choosing to offer or deny coverage.
    Note: In all cases of aluminum branch wiring, Citizens requires that all aluminum branch circuit wire connections to the service panel must have been inspected and repaired as necessary to ensure no corrosion/oxidation is present and all connections are tight, before Citizens can insure the home.

    Different insurers, different specifics/guidelines, which depend on the language they have filed with the State. Some companies exclude use for any branch circuit or any multi-outlet branch circuit regardless of the voltage and/or amperage. Some prohibit use as feeder, regardless of the voltage and/or amperage. Some even exclude use as a SE, lateral or overhead drop. Some base some of their exclusion qualifications on location &/or proximity to coastal waters. Some will underwrite only if within certain limitations, connections have been verified, examined, inspected, and torqued, etc. by a licensed electrician and certified to by a licensed elecrical contractor, including the protections on same.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-13-2011 at 09:23 AM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Stranded Aluminum Branch Wiring

    Sorry. I wasn't trying to write a book on how to insure a house in Florida.

    HG, I just read that blurb and it doesn't change what I wrote above. The writer talks about Al branch circuits but fails to distinguish the difference between solid Al and stranded Al, such as the #6 gauge stranded conductors which are being installed every day to supply kitchen ranges in houses all over the continent. As you know, there has never been a problem with the larger stranded Al conductors.

    The insurance people are mistaken and losing clients thru ignorance.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 09-14-2011 at 09:38 PM. Reason: added clarification
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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