Avoid fingers being burnt this summer warns Norwich Union

Article date: 2 August 2006

The summer holidays are a notorious time of year for arsonattacks warns Norwich Union.

And businesses can take action to prevent attacks by "bored" schoolchildren.

Paul Redington, property claims manager at Norwich Union, comments:"Last year the Association of British Insurers reported that £790million was paid out in commercial fire claims – up 60% onthe previous year. The cost to business in terms of disruption wasput at £220 million – higher than at any time since1997.

"We want to raise awareness of this problem and ensure thatbusinesses undertake risk management to protect their property byimplementing a number of easy, cost effective or 'no cost'measures."

One of the common causes of arson is through waste stored outside aproperty in wheelie bins or on pallets. Redington recommends thatall waste should be secure and out of reach, particularly atsupermarkets and industrial premises: "We have seen devastatingfire damage due to unsecured bins being pushed against buildingsand the contents ignited causing the fire to spread.

"Fire damage to unoccupied buildings is also a major concern aschildren often use these spaces as playgrounds. Always ensure thatperimeters are intact with good quality, well maintained fencing,walls and gates and that entrances and windows are fully sealed orboarded up as once a child is inside the property, the owner oroccupier could be liable for any injury caused."

Redington added: "Any security that is in place should be madeobvious. CCTV should be fully advertised as it acts as a strongdeterrent. Similarly, an effective alarm system is crucial but ifpossible don't rely on a bells only system but invest in a centralstation alarm which will alert the Fire Brigade and the emergencyservices who will react immediately."

Finally, Redington advises property owners to be fully aware of theenvironment surrounding their business to appreciate the risks thatmay be posed: "A well-established business should have sufficientlocal knowledge. However, for new businesses a simple check onsomething like Google maps should confirm the whereabouts ofnear-by schools and housing.

"It's important that businesses do everything they can to protectthemselves. Many of these measures are simple and cost effectivebut could well prevent devastating incidents during the comingmonths."


For further information, please contact:

Clare Schofield or Jo Brearley on 0161 919 8495 or Sally Leeman atNorwich Union on 01603 684225/ 07800 699670.

Notes to editors:
Norwich Union is the UK'slargest general insurer with a market share of around 14%, with afocus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

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

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