Insurance News Archive
Businesses warned to prepare for summer arson risk rise
UK firms are being encouraged to prepare themselves as the summer comes against an increased risk of arson.
With children off school and bored, the risk to firms from fire increases, so businesses are being offered tips to reduce the risk.
Paul Redington, property claims manager at Norwich Union, which is issuing the warning, said: "Last year the Association of British Insurers reported that £790 million was paid out in commercial fire claims up 60 per cent on the previous year. The cost to business in terms of disruption was put at £220 million higher than at any time since 1997.
"We want to raise awareness of this problem and ensure that businesses undertake risk management to protect their property by implementing a number of easy, cost effective or 'no cost' measures."
Most fires that hit businesses are started on rubbish stored outside a property. To avoid this risk, firms should ensure waste, in bins or on pallets, is in a secure area and out of reach of any potential fire starters.
Mr Redington said: "We have seen devastating fire damage due to unsecured bins being pushed against buildings and the contents ignited causing the fire to spread."
He added that unoccupied buildings are also a common target.
"Fire damage to unoccupied buildings is also a major concern as children often use these spaces as playgrounds," he said.
"Always ensure that perimeters are intact with good quality, well maintained fencing, walls and gates and that entrances and windows are fully sealed or boarded up as once a child is inside the property, the owner or occupier could be liable for any injury caused."
Other tips include ensuring high levels of security and good alarm systems.
Mr Redington explained: "Any security that is in place should be made obvious. CCTV should be fully advertised as it acts as a strong deterrent. Similarly, an effective alarm system is crucial but if possible don't rely on a bells only system but invest in a central station alarm which will alert the Fire Brigade and the emergency services who will react immediately.
"It's important that businesses do everything they can to protect themselves. Many of these measures are simple and cost effective but could well prevent devastating incidents during the coming months."
09 Aug 2006