What to do if your business suffers from malicious damage or burglary?

All properties are at risk of malicious damage or burglary, no matter how good the location or how well-respected the business is. It is a potential hazard for any property owner but if it occurs, it is thankfully relatively simple to deal with and resolve.

Malicious damage comes in many forms and many degrees of severity, from simple graffiti or glass breakage to the more extreme end of the scale, such as robbery or arson.

Burglary, Malicious DamageIn all cases, the extent of damage should be determined by a professional loss assessor before an insurance claim is made.

  • The first step you should take when malicious damage or burglary is reported or discovered is to ensure that the building is safe to enter. Inform any employees or others who will need to be aware of the situation and if the damage is particularly extensive, do not open for business until you are certain that no further damage will be caused by doing so.
  • Next, call the guards. Try to leave everything exactly as you found it – avoid moving items or cleaning up until after they have visited the site. They may need to gather evidence, dust for fingerprints, and determine the motives and methods of those responsible for causing the damage. If you have CCTV in operation on the premises, have it ready for them to review as this will be essential to their investigation.
  • At this point you will need the services of Clearys Loss Assessors to gain a full picture of the damage caused. If cleaning up and repairs are vital to make the building secure, and the loss assessor is unable to visit the site immediately, take extensive photographs, video, and written inventory of the damage. However, if at all possible you should wait until they have examined the building before beginning any of this.
  • The next step in the process is to make an insurance claim and, depending on the outcome of the police investigation, press charges against the perpetrators. In either case, you will need to keep extensive and meticulous records of the incident including CCTV, photographs and videos, details of repair works, financial losses, etc.
  • Finally, take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of malicious damage or burglary occurring again. If you have not already done so, install an alarm system and camera surveillance, new durable locks, and if necessary, security personnel to man the property after hours.

HELP!! I am a victim of a burglary! What to do now?

According to a survey of the national crime league, published in the Irish Examiner, each 19 minutes a burglary is committed in Ireland where the average value of goods stolen is 1,868 Euros. The Central Statistics Office indicates that there were a total of 28,706 burglaries or burglary-related offences in 2012 – an increase of 7.9 per cent on the previous year. These figures could be worrying for many homeowners, as a burglary can be costly, frightening and deeply upsetting.

We have prepared an emergency list of 10 steps to follow if you are a victim of burglary. They’ll help keep you and your family safe, while giving you the very best chance of making a successful insurance claim.

10-point burglary checklist:

  1. If you find that your home has been burgled, it’s important to call the Police straightaway.
  2. If you suspect that the burglar may still be inside your property, call the Police from a mobile or from a neighbour’s phone.
  3. Don’t start to clean up or move anything until the Police have had chance to inspect the scene, or you could be damaging vital evidence. They are likely to send specialist officers who will take a statement from you, as well as photographs and fingerprints.
  4. Ask for the reference number of the crime, you might need it later when filling in documentation .
  5. If your bank or credit cards have been taken, call their emergency number and have them stopped. These services are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so don’t delay. If any important documents are missing, such as your passport, report that too.
  6. Contact an insurance Loss Assessor, like Clearys Loss Assessors. This is the best way of ensuring you receive a full and fair settlement from your insurers.
  7. As their first priority, your loss assessor will send out approved contractors and locksmiths to secure your property. They will board up any broken windows and replace any damaged locks. They are your friends and will help you deal with the stressful situation.
  8. Check your home for damage and start to make a list of items that are missing. If possible include model and serial numbers, as well as any purchase receipts you have. Give this list to your loss assessor, who will assist you in preparing an inventory of all lost and damaged items for presentation to your insurers.
  9. Your loss assessor will then contact your insurance company on your behalf, making them aware of the burglary and giving them your crime number and inventory. They will then act on your behalf throughout your burglary insurance claim.
  10. Once the Police have concluded their enquiries, it’s worth reviewing the security of your home. If you don’t already have them, fit locks to your windows and security bolts to your doors. You might also consider installing a burglar alarm.

 

Here comes the sun…..

Protect Yourself from the sun..and if you are away from your home, protect yourself from burglary:

1. Secure your windows. In warmer weather, we are more inclined to leave windows or doors unlocked and this is an open invitation to thieves.  Even open windows on a second or third level put you at risk, as thieves can and will find a way up there. It’s also smart to keep obvious valuables away from windows, so as to not tempt thieves on the prowl.

2. Get a home security system.
It should come as no surprise that the number one tool for crime prevention in your home is a home security system. When confronted with a functioning alarm system, burglars commit crimes elsewhere. If you’re serious about protecting your home and family, purchasing a home security system should be your first move. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either; some companies will give you the home security system for free, you just have to pay for the monthly monitoring. 

3. Shed some light on the situation.
Keeping your outside entryways lit provides you with security when you return home late at night and also has a big effect on home security.

4. Protect your valuables.
A professional thief knows all the obvious hiding places – a freezer, under the mattress or in a biscuit tin. Avoid hiding your valuables in these places.   Nowadays, safes are easily affordable & available and can be secured making access harder for burglars.

6. Protect your identity:Thieves these days are after more than just your jewelery and valuables. Personal information and financial records that make it easy for a thief to steal your identity are also a target. Protect this valuable information by securing it in a safe, and use a shredder to limit the amount of personal information available to thieves.

7. Make your home look “lived in.”
Burglars typically steer clear of homes that are occupied. That’s why it’s important to set lights on timers and leave a radio or TV on when you leave the house. Make sure your timers have a random option that will turn lights on at different times on different days, making it harder for a burglar to detect an obvious pattern. 

8. Know your Neighbours.
A good relationship with your neighbours is a strong asset when it comes to home security. You can’t always be home, so it can be a great comfort to know that others are looking out for you. In addition to forming relationships with your neighbours, you may want to help form a neighborhood watch scheme

9. Keep a detailed inventory of the valuables in your home. If you have a burglary, having a detailed list of the valuable items in your home will help the gardai more quickly recover your stolen property. It will also help with making an insurance claim. If creating a list seems daunting, pick up your camera and take pictures of your valuables. Make sure you store copies of your photos on a DVD or hard drive, and keep these storage devices in a safe place. 


 

 

 

 

 

Is home insurance necessary?

Its 2012 and as the days and months go by, more and more people are considering more ways in which they can cut down on their monthly outgoings. There is a high percentage of people in the country wrapped up in a financial quagmire and may are really finding it difficult to make ends meet. And they look at all expenditure, including home insurance.

Our advice is this: Make Sure Your Home Is Insured – Cut No Corners  and here’s why:

1. We have worked with thousands of clients in the past 25 years and have helped them recover from flood, fire, property damage as a result of burglary, subsistence claims and leaking pipe damage plus many more. In the vast majority of cases, we were able to help the client recover their loss by working with them and their insurance company. All these clients were insured.

2. The emotional and financial pressure experienced by clients in the face of an event is immense. Having insurance eases some of this pressure in the immediate aftermath and makes it all so much more bearable as time goes on and the recovery process starts.

3. If you are suffering financially right now, neglecting your insurance and subsequently suffering a loss with massively increase your pain and suffering. Its a gamble that you may be considering but no good gambler takes unnecessary risks.

Working with a loss assessor like Clearys will ensure that if you do suffer a loos, your claim will be managed professionally, promptly and with empathy at all times. Call us today to discuss your claim…

Retention in Property Damage Insurance Claims

We are finding more and more that insurers are holding in excess of 30 – 40% of a property damage claim settlement until the client can prove that the work specified in the settlement has been carried out and that invoices are available up to and exceeding the value of the settlement. Retentions are “assumed” to be the difference between insurer’s liability on an indemnity basis and that of reinstatement (i.e. effectively New for Old). The levels of retention however are in our view far in excess of a realistic and fair measure of indemnity – particularly in cases of relatively new residential properties, where actual wear and tear could be argued as extremely nominal.

 

Many issues arise in this area but firstly why is this happening and who benefits. Clearly the insurer benefits from the retention of cash-flow initially. The issue becomes much more significant I believe when one considers that many retentions are ultimately never actually pursued by the client because of the various unfair aspects of the system being applied. For example Loss Adjusters are setting deadlines to have works completed which in many cases do not consider the clients ability to manage a small building project (this is despite the fact that the client is actually entitled to professional fees to have this work done for them) once the deadline passes and works are not complete insurers close the file and make a big deal about re-opening the case. We see many cases where contractors VAT registration is not current – when this happens payment is not made to the client – so the client suffers again.

 

If the client pursues the retention but has not completed all of the work agreed in the settlement for whatever reason again the retention is withheld. This position also applies if the full amount of settlement is not spent on repairs and this may apply to “parts” of the settlement such as Professional Fees or VAT for example.

 

This may be a risky game for insurers as the amounts being held could be argued as being excessive and therefore insurers are not actually paying their true liability under the terms of the policy. This could be a big area of concern in these days of consumer protection and questionable banking and finacial practices.

 

Your Personal Journey through A Major Insurance Claim

1. Shock – for you and your family, both physically and financially. It is not nice to read, but this is a definite consequence of a fire, flood, burglary or any other unforeseen misfortune. Shock can result in the need for medical assistance for the more vulnerable and the young.

2. Uncertainty – No one will tell you what will happen next. You would expect to be surrounded by accurate information at this vulnerable time but this is very hard to get. Don’t be surprised if the people working for your Insurance Company are evasive, slow to respond, elusive and unable to be definitive. You are not their concern. The Insurance Company is. A decision or acceptance to liability may take months!

3. Frustration – Gardai may carry out an investigation e.g. Scene of Crime or Forensic Investigation. This can be a slow process, with lack of follow up and often no result or satisfactory conclusion. You the owner may be the last person to receive any information. Continue reading

Protect your home this winter

The winter months are a peak time for burglaries in Ireland. With this crime on the rise we have put the following tips and advice together so that you can do all in your power to avoid this menace.

Outside the Home:

Potential intruders will look for signs of carelessness around your property that identify you as an easy target. It does not take a lot of effort to make your home appear less appealing.

  • Never leave shed doors or gates open, keep them closed and locked.
  • Keep all valuables such as bikes and tools locked away, out of sight.
  • Never, ever, leave keys outside under a mat or a plant pot. If you have to leave them for someone, ask a neighbor.
  • Never leave ladders or bins (these can be climbed too) outside or unsecured. Continue reading

10th Eircom PhoneWatch Published

Eircom PhoneWatch have recently published their 10th annual Burglary Report revealing an 8.5% increase on last year’s figures. Over the ten years that they have been carrying out their surveys over €700m worth of goods have been stolen from Irish homes.

Speaking at the launch of the report Eoin Dunne, Chief Executive of Eircom PhoneWatch commented “Over the ten years that we have reported on burglary in Ireland, one insight remains constant – burglary regardless of boom or bust is a crime phenomenon, which is simply not going away. The figures consistently demonstrate that the vast majority of burglaries take place while the home is occupied, thus increasing the risk of confrontation and personal danger, so it is of particular importance that people become more security aware while they are in the home. This year’s findings also indicate that burglars are more audacious than ever. As the winter months approach, which over the past ten years has been the busiest for burglars home owners need to be aware that there are simple measures that can be introduced today to make their home more secure”. Continue reading

Burglary – Simple steps to lessen your risk

Burglary – A crime on the rise.

According to the 2008 Eircom Phonewatch Burglary Report, burglaries in Ireland increased by a whopping 32% over a one year period. In this post, we are going to give you some good advice on how to minimize your risk of becoming a victim of this crime. Firstly we will take a look at some of the figures from the Eircom Phonewatch report.

Between June 2007 and June 2008 over €100m worth of goods were stolen from Irish homes, give that figure a moment to sink in, €100m! The report also showed that a staggering 80% of burglaries took place while occupants are in the home. Continue reading