Businesses need to take cold weather precautions over Christmas, says Norwich Union

Article date: 9 December 2008

With the holiday period approaching, Norwich Union, soon to be Aviva, is warning businesses of the risks brought about by the freezing winter weather.

Burst water pipes are a big concern for companies that are closing down for Christmas and simple precautions need to be taken to prevent expensive damage, according to Allister Smith, Norwich Union's property risk manager.

"Failure to conduct basic preventative measures before shutting down for Christmas, particularly if there is a cold snap, can potentially lead to thousands of pounds worth of damage.

"It is essential to maintain a certain amount of heat at business premises and heating systems should not be switched off, even when the premises are empty.  This is really the key to avoiding problems such as burst pipes and the subsequent water damage.

"When setting heating controls for the shutdown period, you need to ensure that the heating will operate in good time to prevent frost damage if temperatures drop suddenly. Ideally the heating system and temperature should be controlled in conjunction with an automatic frost-stat. The loss of heat from people, machinery and equipment should also be taken into account when determining the level required.

"Special attention also needs to be given to businesses with automatic sprinkler systems in place and it is important that alternate wet and dry systems are charged with air during the winter months. 

"For wet pipe systems it is essential that sufficient heating be maintained throughout the protected property at all times.  If property owners are in any doubt as to what

action they need to take, they should contact their insurer and the sprinkler company who service the system. 

"For small businesses particularly, it is also important to know where your mains water stop valve is, making sure you can turn it off and on, and to repair any dripping taps.  Also, if possible, examine the condition of the insulation on any pipes and tanks, which may be liable to freezing, making sure it's intact and thick enough. 

"Making sure that someone visits the premises over the Christmas period is also recommended, so if you do suffer from a burst pipe, it will be detected as early as possible and damage will be minimised."


For further information, please contact:
Elinor Graveson at Staniforth on 0161 919 8025 / 07973 360141 or Vicki Burn on 01603 682 224 / 07800 692909.

Notes to editors:

This press release should not be relied upon as Legal advice.

Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.

In the summer of 2009 Norwich Union will change its name to Aviva.  Aviva is the world's fifth largest insurance group and operates in 27 countries. Aviva is to become the customer brand worldwide, thus enabling the company to compete even more effectively on a global scale for the benefit of customers, staff, business partners and shareholders.

Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at

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