The holiday season is almost upon us, and for many small business owners it’s an important time to relax and revive energy levels for the new year. Unfortunately, however, along with the holiday rush comes an increase in risks from numerous angles.

Many companies are identified as soft targets by syndicates and often fall prey to repeated attacks. This is because criminals realise that equipment is generally replaced within a few days of the loss to prevent business interruption. When you consider an interior design business, for example, losing one of their vehicles, which is used to go from one job to another, or an architectural firm losing all of their computers, you can understand how the cost of crime can cripple a business. The prevalence of daytime theft and robbery at business premises is also increasing, as security measures are sometimes less stringent than they are after hours.

Because Auto & General has seen an increase in claims during holiday periods, they’ve put together these easy safeguards to help you protect your valuables and your business over the festive season:

1. Don’t tempt criminals – for example, don’t leave valuable items in plain view. Always pack outside equipment out of sight – i.e. plant machinery, tools, ladders and wheelie bins.

2. Test your alarm system at various times and ensure the control room is receiving the signal. Advise your security company, local policing forums or local community groups of the closure of your business.

3. Instal as much lighting as possible. Criminals are less likely to target well-lit offices or buildings.

4. Make sure all the doors and windows are secure and the gate is securely locked. Upgrade your locks on windows, doors and outbuildings and fit sash jammers to vulnerable doors and windows.

5. Automated access control with anti-lift brackets are recommended.

6. To protect your business against break-ins, change your daily routine right before you close for the holidays. Come to the office earlier than usual or drive out at different times. Check for unusual activity outside your business premises and change routes when you come to the office as criminals could be monitoring your movements.

7. Hire an affordable, independent security guard after hours to guard the business premises.

8. Install a motion-detection camera that records and streams live, together with solid locks and glass protection.

9. If you are closing shop for the holidays, inform your business neighbours to check for unfamiliar or unusual activity.

10. Do not advertise on social media about your holiday closure.

11. Ensure that all your fire-protection equipment is serviced and in working condition.

12. Implement good building access control.

13. Check your insurance policy to ensure that you are adequately covered for all risks.

For more information on your commercial insurance needs SMS “quote” to 45577 or click here. Terms and conditions apply. This article has been written by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited, an authorised financial services provider (FSP number 16354).

Click here or call 0861 11 11 41.

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