Be smart this winter!

  • By Anton Hilton
  • 10 Nov, 2016

As the nights turn darker and the temperature drops we look at simple ways you can protect your property or properties this winter. Prevention is better than cure and a few simple steps can reduce the risk of facing a burst pipe or burglary this winter.

In the last couple of year’s, winter temperatures haven’t been as cold as previous years, but it is certainly feeling colder and best to be prepared and take steps to minimise any potential damage.

Some steps you can take to protect your property this winter are outlined below:

Leaving your property empty during winter?

Leave your heating on for at least an hour a day if you are away from home. In severe weather, or if severe weather is forecast, you should always leave your heating on day and night at your usual temperature setting – whether you are at home or not.
If it is very cold consider opening your loft trap door. This allows warm air from other parts of the house to circulate in the loft and will help prevent pipes freezing.
Ask a friend or relative to visit your home every day while you are away. This will mean that, if you do suffer a burst pipe, it will be detected as soon as possible, and the damage caused will be minimised.
Frozen pipes

If a pipe has burst, turn off the water at the main stopcock. Switch off your central heating and any other water heating installations. Open all the taps to drain the system. Make sure professional repairs are carried out before you turn anything back on.
Turn your water off at the main stopcock and thaw them with a hairdryer or hot water bottle.
Keep contact details for your insurance company or broker in a handy place just in case!
Whilst standard home and business insurance policies will pay for the often considerable damage caused by burst pipes, they cannot compensate for the misery and inconvenience that the damage brings to homes and businesses.
Escape of water

Many leaks are small and can often go months without being noticed, causing significant damage to properties before they are identified. Escape of water is one of the most frequent claims cost, causing distress to thousands of individuals and businesses each year. It can lead to significant business interruption, including unplanned evacuations, and property damage which can take a considerable amount of time to repair.

Service your boiler

Lots of people are worried about their heating or hot water failing during the cold weather. It is vitally important for people to service their boiler ahead of the winter months. Pipes should be assessed for leaks and radiators should be bled to check for airlocks.

Insulation

Loft and cavity wall insulation are simple ways to save on energy bills and keep the heat in! You might even get a really good deal on installation!

Unoccupied property

An unoccupied property during cold months will not be sufficiently ventilated, leading to an increased chance of issues with damp, mould and condensation.

Condensation is the prime cause of damp in a property. Should windows and doors of a property be closed for a prolonged period, the damp will become more frequent, increasing the chance of mould forming.

Leave internal doors open which will enable heat to circulate around the property. This also applies to cupboard doors, which could allow warm air to reach any otherwise hidden pipes.

The most important piece of advice to property owners however is to make regular checks during unoccupied periods. This will not only alert you to any problems but will ensure you any issues will be addressed, hopefully before it’s too late!

Security

It sounds obvious, but make sure you don’t leave your keys or valuables in sight. Burglars are often opportunists and will be attracted to what’s on display, especially in the lead up to Christmas!

Laptops, ipads, smartphones and other expensive technology should be kept out of sight of windows. If you have children, make sure they know to keep their expensive gadgets out of view.

The police also recommend putting expensive jewellery and passports in a secure safe.

Finally, keep all keys out of sight from passers-by and away from your letterbox. Burglars can use a hook device to steal keys and car keys from inside the house so make sure they are hidden!

Lighting

Security lighting can act as a major deterrent to burglars. Installing external security lights outside the home will help put off intruders and can help alert neighbours or passers-by should someone attempt to break into your home.

It’s also worth looking at light ‘timer systems’, which can be set to come on in the evening, giving the impression that you’re at home. These can be particularly helpful if you live in a quieter residential area.

Get friendly with your neighbours!

Neighbourhood Watch is the UK’s largest voluntary movement, bringing together people across the community to help improve the security of their local areas. Being part of it will help you to get to know the people in your local community and you can work with police to ensure that your area is protecting itself against common crimes. If you don’t want to join a scheme then getting to know your neighbours is advisable, as they may be able to keep an eye on your home when you’re out of the house or on holiday.

Insurance will always pay for genuine claims covered under your policy but it cannot compensate for the misery and inconvenience the disruption brings!

As always, if you have any questions regarding your insurance please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 8909 2899.
By Anton Hilton 27 Nov, 2017

Crowded places are – and will remain – attractive targets for international and “home-grown” terrorists and so an important element of any counter-terrorist strategy is to create safer places and buildings that are less vulnerable to a terrorist attack. This is especially so for leisure, hospitality, retail industries.

Cost of terrorism

Companies still significantly underestimate their potential exposure to the related risks and losses, especially to the increasing indirect risks from terrorism elsewhere. For example, the Paris attacks in November 2015 paralysed Brussels’ tourism and retail sectors some 320 kilometres away and had a lasting impact on the city’s commerce.

Many UK companies are unaware – or have underestimated – the financial losses that could occur if a key supplier or business partner (in the UK or internationally) were unable to operate for a significant period of time.

The human and financial cost of terrorism is growing rapidly. The Institute of Economics and Peace has estimated that the direct cost of terrorism to the global economy in 2014 was $52.9 billion – a ten-fold increase since 2000 – and the indirect costs at $105 billion.

Practical steps

Companies can’t predict all possible threats to their business. However, by working through a range of potential scenarios and consequences it is possible to make informed judgements and set appropriate priorities.

The following process is an effective way for companies to think about improving the management of these risks:

Step one: identify the threats.Understanding terrorists’ intentions and capabilities, what they might do and how they might act, is a crucial first step to assessing potential threats.

Step two: decide what you need to do to.Priorities should fall under the following categories: people, physical assets, information and process (supply chains and the operational process required to support the business).

Step three: identify measures to reduce risk.Companies should introduce new proportionate measures that: deter would-be terrorists; 
aid detection of intrusion; and
delay any attempts at intrusion.

Step four: continually review your security measures.Security and contingency plans should be rehearsed and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they remain accurate, workable and up-to-date.

 

Terrorism Insurance

Since the IRA attack on the Baltic Exchange in London in 1993, the UK established a mutual government reinsurer, Pool Re, to provide a backstop to insurers that offer terrorism cover on business property and business interruption policies. This has worked well and despite £600 million of claims from 13 separate incidents there has been no use of public money.

However, the increasingly interconnected nature of global commerce means that UK organisations are not only exposed to events in the domestic market but many also have international exposures through the global reach of their business activities. Companies can also be impacted via a change in consumer behaviour in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

New threats and new risks require new insurance solutions and one insurer is now offering a contingent Loss of Attraction cover, for example.

As always if you have any questions regarding your business insurance please contact Forum Insurance on 020 8909 2899

By Anton Hilton 27 Nov, 2017
Here are some of the measures IT professionals believe are essential for protecting against cyber crime:

  1. Install anti-virus, web filtering and firewalls. The best way to secure against a cyber attack is to prevent an attacker entering your system in the first place. Implementing anti-virus, web filtering and firewalls are a must – and ensuring they are always up-to-date.
  2. Keep software updates up to date!
  3. Before you start shopping with any online retailers look for the security information in the address bar to ensure you see the letters “https:” to indicate that it’s a secure site. You might also see a little padlock symbol in the same line.
  4. Consider using an alternative form of payment that protects you a little more. An online payment service like PayPal has strong safeguards in place, and can serve as a go-between for you and the retailer – you can even use your regular credit card as a payment method within PayPal.
  5. In order to shop on any online retailer’s web site, you will most likely be required to create an account. When you do establish an account, it’s important to choose a strong password that has a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and don’t forget to throw in a mixture of upper and lower case.
  6. It is also recommended to create unique passwords, meaning you don’t use the same password for multiple websites.
  7. Check your credit cards routinely during the coming weeks to make sure there is no unauthorised activity, and remember to alert your bank if you have reason to believe that your identity has been compromised.
  8. If you have a business, keep your employees trained to be careful what they click on if receiving deals! They may not be from the well known brand they appear to be from – and this could spread a virus throughout your company’s system.
By Anton Hilton 20 Nov, 2017

Amish joins the family business after successfully managing the business through a change period, structuring the team to serve it’s core markets. Mamtora studied at Aston University prior to joining the family business some 4 years ago. In his new role he will be responsible for growing the business in both existing and unchartered sectors.

Managing Director Barry Mamtora said, “I am delighted Amish has chosen to join the family business and take it to the next stage. We have celebrated 25 years in business and I have every confidence Amish will maximise insurer partnerships and leverage our buying power to deliver the best risk management solutions for our clients.”

A number of key achievements have driven Forum’s growth in the past few years including the expansion into petrol forecourts where they have gained significant market share.

This appointment hails the next phase of growth for Forum Insurance.

Amish Mamtora said, “I am delighted to be appointed director at such an exciting time. The opportunity to continue Forum’s success story and utilise technology to our advantage is key to my plans for the future. It is an exciting time for independent broking.”

Forum Insurance are developing an ongoing client consultation programme, ensuring our diverse client base are best placed to understand the individual risks to their business.

Amish continued, “As a family business we share a common passion for excellent customer service and look forward to working even closer with our clients, delivering traditional personal service. This opens up some very exciting opportunities for our employees."

More Posts
Share by: