Our top tips for managing fire risks

  • By Anton Hilton
  • 23 Mar, 2016

Fires are a major problem for landlords and home owners, with an average of 162 building fires in Britain every day and annual fire-related property insurance claims reaching £1billion.

In 2014-15, according to a Government report there were 163 fatalities in accidental dwelling fires in England accounting for 63% of all fatalities from fire that year.

Property owners, landlords and agents have a duty of care to provide adequate levels of fire safety for their residents and surrounding neighbours and buildings. A 2014 study by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme showed that almost half of those responsible for maintaining fire safety in multi-occupancy buildings are simply unaware of their legal obligations.

Legislation hitting landlords

NHS figures show that carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for 40 deaths a year, and deaths from a fire in the home are at least four times more likely if there is no working smoke alarm.

Under new rules for England, which came into effect in October 2015, it is the duty of landlords to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties – or face sanctions or fines of up to £5,000.

Landlords are now required to install smoke alarms on every floor of their properties, and test them at the start of every tenancy.

It is not the landlord’s responsibility to continue to check alarms are working – instead the tenants themselves should make regular checks.

Landlords must also install carbon monoxide alarms in high-risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

The changes bring private rented properties in line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.

Tips for managing fire risks

  • Fire risk assessments are essential to help landlords and property agents identify what they need to do to prevent fires and keep people safe.
  • A thorough assessment should: identify fire hazards and people at risk; evaluate, remove or reduce these risks; and record the findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training. The fire risk assessment, which must be carried out by a competent person, should be reviewed and updated regularly.
  • Fire separation and internal fire compartmentation are key to limiting fire spread and maintaining a fire safe environment. Similarly, fire doors within communal areas are considered a critical element within multi-storey and high-rise blocks for limiting fire spread throughout a building. Negligent landlords can receive large fines or even prison sentences if there is a fire door failure or breach of fire compartmentation.
  • When it comes to prevention, it is essential that all building services, including both electrical and gas installations, are correctly installed and maintained. Similarly, all gas and electrical appliances and equipment must be properly installed, maintained and inspected, if the dangers of fire are to be avoided or minimised.
  • In order to ensure a fire safe environment when maintenance works are taking place, robust policies and procedures are essential in relation to managing contractors and hot works. Additionally, the threat of arson should be considered, particularly in areas of high anti-social behaviour.
  • More general precautions – such as the inclusion and regular maintenance of fire extinguishers, fire alarms and sprinkler systems, and safe storage of flammable liquids and waste control – should also be adhered to.

Through working closely with you or your business, Forum Insurance can provide:

  1. A full insurance review.
  2. Quality independent expert advice.
  3. Competitive premiums for extremely well designed products.

Honesty, integrity and professionalism is at the heart of everything we do. Forum Insurance won’t just offer you a policy because it’s the cheapest, they will only offer one that is right for you.

Forum Insurance are committed to providing an independent personal service supported by the strength of relationships with major insurers.

Please do not hesitate to contact us Forum Insurance to arrange a FREE quotation 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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