4 Things Gingerbread Houses Taught Us About Insurance

Construction | Dec 20, 2018

With the year coming to a close, we’re welcoming the holiday season with the fun tradition of making a mess of the kitchen counter as we build gingerbread houses.

As it turns out, building a gingerbread house reminded us a lot about what we do every day. Here are four course of construction lessons we learned from this festive project.

  1. Consider all the creative details.
    Before construction clients begin to build any structure, the first question is: what it will be, and what it will be made of? Will it be a brick single-family home or a masonry non-combustible commercial structure? Gingerbread structures, like their livable counterparts, come in a number of forms from a chalet to manor, skyscraper to train. Knowing what kind of gingerbread building you want will determine which materials you make or purchase. And in course of construction insurance, project types can have a major impact on whether a client’s project is eligible, which policies are available, and how much it will cost.



  2. A secure and permanent foundation is crucial.
    In gingerbread construction, building your structure upon a permanent foundation is vital to its long-term stability. As we learned during our gingerbread building party, beginning a structure on one surface, then attempting to move it to another undermines the structural integrity of the house, causing its cookie inhabitants to collapse.
    Non-gingerbread construction is no different. To ensure your clients don’t face an unpaid claim or costly losses due to foundation-related collapse, discuss all aspects of the construction project with your clients. If they don’t have a firm grasp of what their builders risk policy covers, they may assume they’re covered when they’re not, leading to unpleasant conversations in the event of a loss.



  3. Have a plan of action, taking into account all building materials to be used.
    Having your gingerbread building materials ready, along with the order in which things need to be done, means you’ll be less likely to get caught unprepared if the gumdrop shingles fall off or the pretzel wall siding won’t hold. Similarly, having an insurance policy that follows the requirements of a comprehensive construction agreement means the project will be better protected from loss. And, if something changes in the construction like the inclusion of new / different material (which can make a huge difference in a gingerbread structure), help your clients protect their project with a change order endorsement.



  4. Experience matters.
    When it comes to gingerbread structures, practice makes perfect, or at least gives you the upper hand when facing down a pile of gingerbread and decorations galore. Whether you’re weighing options for edible adhesives or determining the best design for the final touches, know-how improves your chances for success. For a similar reason, when you quote projects through the Builders Risk Plan, contractors must have two years of project-related experience. When you’re building a confectionery house, expertise can make the difference between gingerbread genius and a roof that slides away in runny royal icing. In the higher stakes world of non-cookie home building, experience means contractors are better able to prepare for each aspect of the project and know what to do when the [metaphorical] cookie crumbles.


With a different perspective on builders risk, it quickly becomes clear how clients benefit from coverage. Build a solid foundation of builders risk knowledge or get a brush-up on the finer points when you download our free resource, From Groundbreaking to Remodeling: Builders Risk 101 Guide.

This is intended as a general description of certain types of insurance and services available to qualified customers. Your policy is the contract that specifically and fully describes your coverage. The description of the policy provisions gives a broad overview of coverages and does not revise or amend the policy.

Builders Risk Insurance 101

Ensuring your clients have the proper coverage and policy type requires a fundamental understanding of the construction industry and associated risks that occur during construction. Review this guide to strengthen your understanding of builders risk insurance. 

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