Protecting your business from a Christmas nightmare

Broken windowpane vandal
Broken windowpane vandal"n The festive season historically witnesses a surge in criminal activity (Animaflora/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

WITH the festive season upon us, businesses must not only embrace the festive spirit, but also prepare for potential risks that come with extended closures.

Whether you operate a bustling shop, a corporate office, or handle valuable machinery, safeguarding your premises and valuables becomes paramount during the extended closure period over Christmas.

The festive season historically witnesses a surge in criminal activity. As the yuletide season approaches, vigilance regarding premises security becomes crucial. During unattended and short closures, such as lunch breaks, businesses must still remember that they need to align with the security conditions embedded in their policies.

The term ‘Minimum Security Condition’ might vary in its interpretation across business insurance policies, necessitating a nuanced understanding of a policy’s intricacies, which is why a broker is suitably placed to protect clients.

Compliance with minimum security standards for locks is non-negotiable. If your establishment has an alarm system as declared to insurers, not only should it be set during unattended closures, it must also undergo regular service maintenance by certified professionals, usually on an annual basis.

In those cases where property remains unoccupied for an extended period, for example pending sale or awaiting tenants, insurers may only agree to cover basic losses such as fire, lightning, explosion, and aircraft (FLEA) risks. An empty property can be more susceptible to vandalism and criminal damage, so having added security in place should be priority.

Having your own security/closure checklist before you lock up for the break is essential, and it should enforce the minimum-security conditions within the policy’s wording. In the unfortunate event of a loss during the holiday closure, businesses can streamline the claims process by involving the police and providing compelling evidence, such as CCTV footage.

Industries with unique vulnerabilities, such as construction and agriculture, can take extra steps to fortify their defences. Portable tools and business equipment are particularly attractive to theft given their smaller size. Such items may be required to be moved inside secure, locked buildings or compounds. Retaining purchase receipts, taking photos of the equipment and documenting serial numbers can all help speed up the claims process should the unfortunate occur.

Participation in security and registration schemes can provide an additional layer of protection to those with more significant plant and machinery equipment. This initiative amalgamates cutting-edge technology, deterrents, and a secure contact centre to combat equipment theft effectively.

Businesses can benefit significantly from the expertise of brokers who stress the importance of strict adherence to security measures and highlight potential pitfalls in the claims process.

As the Association of British Insurers notes, festive crime reaches its zenith during this time of year, underscoring the necessity for businesses to prioritise security measures and so avoid a Christmas nightmare.

In the tapestry of holiday cheer, a well-woven security strategy becomes the best gift a business can give itself.

:: Karl Zilizi is account executive and chartered insurance practitioner at AbbeyAutoline, which works with a range of insurance partners to offer tailor-made solutions that meet and exceed a client’s Duty of Disclosure obligations