Insurance is designed to be there for you when you have a claim. But as an insurance broker we feel it is just as important to help our customers prevent claims whenever possible. With the COVID lockdown in Ontario every business is operating a little differently. Whatever your situation, we recommend taking extra care to make sure your property is safe. We have compiled this list of risk management tips with a nod to our insurance partners at Northbridge and Intact Insurance.
Fire prevention tips
- Is all your equipment off?
- Are all flammables stored properly?
- Are combustibles stored away from heating appliances?
- Have oily rags and other materials that may spontaneously combust been stored correctly?
- Is temporary heating equipment unplugged or shut off?
Crime prevention tips
- Are the interior lights on?
- Are the exterior lights operational?
- Have all doors and windows been locked and padlocks secured on all bay doors?
- Has a walk-through of the building been done to ensure that no one is left inside?
- Has the security system been activated?
- Is all equipment, customer property, and stock secure?
- Are all cash and valuables secure?
Make sure all staff who are involved in closing, are made aware of the importance of checking for potential fire and security hazards prior to leaving it unattended.
If you are closed for a period of time
Turn off the water at the main inlet valve and drain the entire system. The valve must have a heating source to avoid water freezing upstream. To empty the system, it’s necessary to turn on a tap at the end of the plumbing network. This valve must be turned off when the network is reactivated. We suggest leaving a note at the valve as a reminder.
To keep the water network in operation, a minimum temperature of 18 ° C is necessary. Below that temperature, it’s recommended the ambient humidity level be less than 40%, as high humidity could cause condensation and mold.
Even if a minimum temperature is maintained, turning off the water inlet will still be the best practice for prolonged closure of the building. Keeping the room temperature too low (a few degrees above 0 ° C) could be damaging if the heating system were to fail when the building is unattended.
If the building will be unattended for longer periods of time, it’s possible to pour antifreeze into the plumbing system.
For buildings with sprinkler systems, it’s recommended to keep the heating at a minimum of 18 ° C. For buildings with dry pipe sprinkler systems, only the sprinkler room (where the main valve is located) is required to be heated.
General Risk Management Tips
Visiting the building daily or every other day is advised to ensure that everything is in working order.
Remove all perishable items in fridges and cupboards, as these items may spoil and attract pests. Ensure all business data has been backed up prior to closing the premises.
Ensure employees have been contacted about the prolonged closure and instruct them not to return until further notice.
Ensure all suppliers and customers have been made aware of the prolonged closure and deliveries and pickups have been cancelled.
Remove important documents from the facility and keep them on hand. If possible, instruct staff to bring laptops home.
If you operate an e-commerce website or store any client data online or accept payments over the internet it is a good idea to make sure you have a cyber insurance policy.
We know it is difficult enough for businesses during this pandemic and we want to ensure it doesn’t get anymore difficult with a claim. Hopefully this tips will best prepare your business during the shutdown so when things return to normal you can start up right where you left off. If you have any specific questions regarding your insurance be sure to contact your broker. Our list of staff can be found here.