Business Insurance Tips and Advice for Owners and Operators.

General Commercial Crime and Fire Prevention

  • Ensure that all exterior doors have deadbolt locks with a minimum one inch bolt into the strike plate.
  • Secure exposed exterior door hinge pins to prevent their removal.
  • Protect all grade floor glass through the use of bars, metal screens or burglary resistant glazing materials.
  • Install a burglar alarm system that is monitored offsite. Look for a system certified by the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC).
  • Continually check for unsafe work conditions and practices, and take prompt corrective action.
  • Provide serviced, multi-purpose fire extinguishers on your premises and instruct all staff in their use.

Protecting Your Computer Equipment & Data

  • Clamp or lock PCs to desks/work stations. Security kits are available at a nominal cost.
  • Back-up data and programs on a regular basis and store them offsite in a secure location.
  • Laptop computers are portable and easy targets for theft. Do not leave them unsecured or unattended.
  • Maintain records of serial numbers for all of your computer equipment.

Business Interruption Prevention

  • Employ the services of a professional accountant to:
    • Prepare financial statements.
    • Perform an annual audit of your books.
  • Maintain a list of secondary suppliers of materials in the event your primary supplier suffers a loss.
  • Be prepared with a plan of action of how you will continue to service your customers while your premises are being repaired after a loss. This will help you to avoid losing your customer base. Consider availability of temporary premises where you can resume operations immediately.
  • Reduce the physical and moral hazards that could cause loss to your business.
  • Duplicate your business records and store them off-site; in the event that your premises are damaged, you will have documents to substantiate any business interruption loss.

Contractors' Loss Prevention Tips

  • Focus on pre-job and pre-task planning. The principle of planning the work and working the plan should be followed.
  • All tools and equipment should be kept in a locked area at all times when not in use.
  • All tools should be stamped with an identification number to assist in recovery. Tools should be painted with bright, easily recognizable colours to assist their easy identification.
  • Any onsite storage of materials should be in a secure storage area. Where the materials are considered a high target, they should be kept inside a building in a locked area or brought to the site only when they are needed.
  • Warning signs should be posted limiting access and indicating the safety equipment required to gain entry.
  • All electrical cords that pass through pedestrian areas should be secured so that tripping is avoided.
  • All mud or water on public traffic areas should be cleaned regularly.
  • The local utilities should be contacted to locate underground services in the event that any excavations are to be performed.
  • All flammable liquids used should be stored in approved safety containers.
  • All hotwork should be controlled. Combustibles should be removed at least 11 metres from the hotwork. If this is not possible non-combustible shields should be used. A fire watch should be provided for at least a half-hour after the hotwork is completed. All hotwork permit regulations must be followed.
  • All combustible refuse created during the work should be cleaned up regularly. Oily rags should be separated and stored in metal containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Fire extinguishers of the appropriate type should be available at all times.
  • Certificates of liability should be obtained from all subcontractors to ensure they are maintaining adequate liability coverage.
  • All new equipment should be tested and inspected when the work is completed. Customers should sign off the job once complete.
  • Ensure that the project complies with all applicable codes and standards.
  • Records of all jobs including plans, testing documents and approvals should be maintained.

Office Loss Prevention Tips

  • Avoid overloading of electrical outlets, particularly in older buildings equipped with fuses instead of circuit breakers.
  • If existing electrical service is inadequate, ensure that any required electrical modifications are done by a professional electrician.
  • Ensure that life and safety features such as fire alarms, exit signs and emergency lights are operational and serviced as per applicable fire code specifications.
  • Clean all spills or wet floors immediately, post signs warning of wet or damp floors and check floor surfaces for potential hazards on a regular basis. Non-slip rugs should be used during the winter months.

Commercial Vehicles Loss Prevention Tips

  • Be SELECTIVE when hiring drivers for your vehicles by obtaining pre-employment checks on all employees. Your vehicles should be suitable for the type of work you do and the relative experience of your drivers. A safety conscious driver, with a clean driving and operating record, is the key to reducing the risk of personal injury to the driver and passengers as well as any damage or injury to others.

Retail Loss Prevention Tips

  • Never store combustible material such as cardboard or paper near heaters or electrical equipment and remove combustible waste on a regular basis.
  • In sprinklered buildings, keep stock more than 18 inches below the sprinkler heads, so as not to interfere with the system's effectiveness in the event of a fire.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets, particularly in older buildings equipped with fuses instead of circuit breakers.
  • Keep all of your stock off the floor, stored on skids, shelves, or racks.
  • Make sure the front, rear and interior of your business premises are well lit, particularly when closed for business.
  • Arrange the interior layout of the store so that the till area is clearly visible from the exterior of the building.
  • Limit the amount of cash in the till by using a safe or money-limiting device.
  • If your store is open long hours, consider the installation of closed circuit television cameras and hold-up alarms.
  • Make regular bank deposits, but vary the timing of the deposits and the route taken.
  • Install anti-shoplifting devices and surveillance equipment or keep high priced merchandise under lock and key in display cases.
  • Ensure that life and safety features such as fire alarms, exit signs and emergency lights are operational and serviced as per applicable fire code specifications.
  • Do not block exits with stock or equipment. Ensure that all exit doors are unlocked during store hours.

Slip and Fall Loss Prevention Tips

  • Inspect the interior of your premises on a regular basis for unsafe conditions that could lead to a slip & fall loss. Maintain a daily log of when the inspection was done, what conditions were noted and what corrective action was taken.
  • Floors should be kept clean and in good repair at all times, with loose or defective flooring being replaced immediately.
  • Ensure that aisles are kept clear and free of fallen merchandise or stock. (e.g. fruit, vegetables, clothes etc.)
  • During periods of inclement weather, all entrances should have mats or rugs to help keep the floor clean and dry. Damaged mats should be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Non-slip wax should be used on floor surfaces, where required.
  • Water and other spills should be mopped up immediately and a Caution-Wet Floor sign should be posted.
  • For surfaces that are consistently slippery, specialized non-slip epoxy coatings or non-skid flooring materials may be used.
  • For spills involving oil or other industrial materials, absorbent, non-combustible cleaning materials should be used.
  • Ensure that all entranceways and aisles are clear of obstructions and/or promotional displays.
  • Inspect the exterior of your premises on a regular basis for unsafe conditions that could lead to a slip & fall loss. Maintain a daily log of when the inspection was done, what conditions were noted and what corrective action was taken.
  • Any damage to stairs, sidewalks and pavements should be repaired as soon as possible, with signs and barriers posted, until such time as repairs are completed.
  • A snow and ice removal program should be implemented and adhered to, with a single individual having responsibility for the program.
  • Have the appropriate equipment, tools and materials available for use by your staff, in the case of a weather related emergency e.g. shovels, salt, sand, etc.
  • Professional snow removal contractors should be contracted to plow, sand and salt your parking and walkway facilities. Ensure that the contractor keeps a comprehensive log of the work performed.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts and ensure that melted snow/ice is directed away from sidewalks and walkways. Check that exterior lighting is adequate and check on a regular basis for malfunctioning light fixtures.
  • Establish and maintain a daily garbage removal program, whereby the walkways and sidewalks are swept and the debris removed on a regular basis.

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