When getting quotes for insurance, you’ll likely find that Insurers want to know you’re protecting your business against a variety of crimes. In checking what you have in place, they sometimes use terms which are a bit difficult to understand.
Insurers may ask you to meet security standards for protection of your contents, computers and stock.
These are usually normal ‘common-sense’ requirements and most businesses will already have these in place but the wording used can confuse matters.
As well as helping you get cheaper insurance, adequate shop security can:
1) Deter potential thieves
2) Reduce the likelihood of attempted theft
3) Minimise how significant a loss is, if the worst happens
Here’s a very basic guide to some of the requirements you may face;
Here we’ll briefly discuss the different types of lock you might have, along with some standard recommendations for insurance and security purposes.
Rim locks and mortice locks are the two most common types of locks doors will have.
A mortice lock is embedded into the physical door, so when you open the door you can see it, but the mechanism is hidden away when the door is closed.
A rim lock is attached the side of the door, and often looks like a little box on one side of the door with another box fixed to the doorframe to hold the headbolt.
Some insurers prefer you to have a 5 lever mortice deadlock, which essentially is just a rather secure mortice (or embedded) lock in your door. When you insert your key into the lock and start to turn the key, levers are pushed to correspond with the shape of the key. The more levers the better, and 5 is the most currently available for standard front doors.
BS3621 is a British Standard for locks on doors and the most commonly requested security measure. You may not know whether your lock conforms to this standard but I can tell you with some confidence that it probably does. It’s a fairly standard lock in the UK.
This means that the lock can be dead locked and requires a key on both sides of the door.
In more detail, the lock should be able to resist attack from drilling for at least 5 minutes and there must be a mechanism in place to resist lock picking. The bolt should go at least 20mm into a steel-encased section of the doorframe when locked.
Window Locks are also an important consideration for any business. Most insurers will ask you to have up-to-date, key operated locks on your windows.
If you have large patio doors, they should be secured with locks at both the top and bottom of the doors, as well as a lock in the middle of the door. This is sometimes referred to as having ‘multi-lock points’.
Sash windows are trickier but not impossible to secure. You should have a ‘fastener’ lock at the point where the two frames overlap to prevent the bottom window being forced up. But you can also get sash stops or sash bolts fitted so that the window never opens past a certain point.
Most window locks offer a minimum standard of security and can act as a visual deterrent to potential thieves, but you can also incorporate other measures such as bars/grilles, mesh grates, roller shutters or internal collapsible steel grilles. These should meet a recognised security standard such as the LPS 1175 scheme.
There are several different types of shutters, and it’s worth checking that the ones you use are ‘insurance approved’. Steel shutters are the most secure, but aluminium can be a good alternative.
Intruder alarms are another important consideration for any business owner, and we have some basic guidelines that, should make sure you’re more insurable at a lower premium.
We recommend that your alarm system is installed and maintained by a recognised installer. Check that the company you use is approved by the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB). The company should also be recognised by your local police force.
There are two broad categories of intruder alarm, audible and central station alarms.
Audible alarms will emit a loud noise designed to attract attention and scare off an intruder, whereas central station alarms will notify a remote contact centre that an incident is occurring.
If your alarm includes remote signalling, it should connect to an NSI or SSAIB certified Alarm Receiving Centre.
There are two types of central station alarms that are most frequently requested by insurers; Dualcom and Redcare GSM. DualCom uses a standard telephone line to alert a contact centre and trigger a police response. Redcare GSM works in a similar way but also sends a regular ‘pulse’ down the line to detect if the wires have been cut or tampered with.
Intruder alarms are graded under European standards, based on the level of security they offer. Most commercial premises should have a grade 3 system, as Grades 1 & 2 are most appropriate for residential properties, and Grade 4 is for higher-security commercial facilities.
It an unpleasant thought, but your staff are both a great asset and a prominent risk to your business. To demonstrate due care and consideration of the potential risks they pose, you should make sure that you have a lone working policy for any staff that may be on the premises alone.
It is also worth implementing a thorough vetting process/policy and cash-carrying policy to further show your awareness and mitigate the potential risk.
If a shop has more theft attractive contents and stock or has higher amounts of contents and stock, additional security may be specified over and above the minimum requirements. Geographic location is also a factor; a shop in the middle of a large town may have different security requirements to one in a rural location.
For more information about how we can help you with your insurance needs, call us on 020 3883 7976 between 9:00 - 5:30 Monday to Friday.
Small Business Insurance for Dummies eGuide
Business Continuity Planning Kit
Free Advice Newsletter Subscription
... and more!