Motor Theft on the Rise

  • By Anton Hilton
  • 21 Oct, 2016

A sharp increase in severity of theft claims for motor traders and fleet owners has highlighted insurance market concern. The increase has been primarily driven by claims involving multiple vehicles, parts and a resurgence of catalytic converter thefts.

Catalytic Converters Thefts

Most modern cars are fitted with catalytic converters, a pollution-control device fitted to the vehicle’s exhaust system to reduce harmful emissions from the engine. By using catalyst metals – typically platinum, palladium and rhodium – gas emissions passed through the converter are transformed into less toxic substances such as oxygen and water. Although only very small amounts of these metals are used, they are valuable commodities and means converters are an attractive target for thieves.

Although not all instances have followed the same pattern, the marked increase since the latter half of 2015 has a number of common trends:

  • Light commercial vehicles have been specifically targeted (especially Mercedes Sprinters and VW Crafters). Vehicles with high vehicle axles are also being singled out as they give easier access to the catalytic converter, as are vehicles that have adopted the Euro 6 CAT standards of reduced exhaust emissions.
  • The majority of thefts appear to be in the areas surrounding Sheffield, Leeds and notably Manchester in the North. Areas in the South and East of London are also highly affected.

Vehicle theft

The number of instances of multiple vehicle thefts has also been on the rise. These thefts appear to be conducted by organised gangs, able to arrange for more than one vehicle to be stolen and moved on at a time. Again, there have been a number of commonalities:

  • The premises have been ‘scoped out’ beforehand, sometimes by people posing as potential customers
  • The highest severity instances occurred where access to multiple vehicle keys was possible alongside poor key security management

Parts theft

In addition, there has been an upsurge in the number of parts theft. As above, these appear to have been carried out by thieves able to move large quantities of items. Common trends include:

  • Particular targeting of BMW and Land Rover parts
  • High-performance tyres and alloy wheels especially where left unsecured

It’s apparent that vehicle dealerships are particularly at risk of parts, vehicle and catalytic converter theft. This is especially so for risk locations with minimal physical security and protection deterrents.

Impact

Although vehicle sales make up the majority of risks affected, the repair garages and body shops that keep customer vehicles on site have also been targeted. Specifically, for catalytic converters, the cost of each stolen item costs an average of £1,900, not to mention the inconvenience caused to businesses and their customers. This in turn adds Credit Hire (and associated costs), as well as the detrimental reputational impact to the client.

Mitigating the risk

To help to reduce the risk you can put the following measures in place:

  • Adopting deterrent measures such as detector-activated remotely monitored CCTV and monitored security alarms. Removing theft-attractive items from sight or to inaccessible areas, security lighting and property marking devices can also help.
  • Physical protection measures for instance, vehicle bollards, defensive vehicle parking strategies, palisade fencing, use of robust locks and key cabinets, and fitting of catalytic converter guards.
  • Effective key security management and access control including regular audit checks of where keys are and who has signed them out.
  • Regular security audits, such as daily fence checks for damage and signs of attempted entry, ensuring lighting is working and fixed where appropriate, and reviewing CCTV coverage and detection.

For any insurance or risk management related queries please speak to Forum Insurance 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."

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