We recently gave you some help and advice on how to prepare for a fire safety inspection.
The second in our “Inspector Calls” series looks at how you can prepare for an insurance risk survey.
In many ways similar to when a fire officer visits commercial premises, the arrival of an insurance risk surveyor does involve some specific differences.
An insurance risk surveyor determines the possible financial risks posed by offering insurance cover for properties or sites.
At some point, your insurance company will arrange for an insurance risk surveyor to visit your premises and undertake a risk assessment survey.
The resulting report will determine whether any improvements could be made to reduce the risk of future insurance claims. The insurance company will then communicate what needs to be done back to you through your broker, and monitor improvements through to completion.
Insurance risk surveys can be categorised into three areas:
In some cases, a survey might incorporate all three at once.
Insurance risk surveyors will undertake the survey, collate and assess the risk information on site, record assessments, collect photographic evidence and prepare a detailed report.
During the survey, they can advise on any opportunities to reduce the risk of future insurance claims. They will also make recommendations to underwriters about any required improvements.
Four very common insurance risks that insurance surveyors look at are:
Make sure you are available at the agreed time and make a room available for the surveyor to sit and ask their questions. A tea or coffee and some biscuits are likely to be well received as well.
An insurance risk surveyor will want to see all relevant paperwork. Get everything together and take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with it before they arrive.
For a liability survey, this is likely to include your health and safety policy, risk assessments and training records.
An alarm specification and any security contracts will be needed for a property survey.
And a business interruption survey will require a copy of your business continuity (disaster recovery) plan.
The surveyor will want to have a walk around the premises, partly to familiarise themselves with the business and also to identify any areas which may require attention. They may take photographs while they do this.
It would be helpful if someone with the power to make things happen is present. In many cases, you may be able to deal with a requirement on the spot and avoid its inclusion in the report. It also demonstrates that you are taking the process seriously.
This is your opportunity to highlight the good points of your business, especially if they relate to the topic being discussed. And it goes without saying that all of your answers should be based on fact.
A surveyor’s report is likely to provide you with a list of requirements and recommendations.
These are must-do, often legal requirements, where non-compliance could result in a reduction or removal of cover by your insurer. You’ll be given timescales to comply with them.
These are designed to comply with best practice but are not usually followed up.
If housekeeping and compliance standards are good, they may just do nothing.
Remember that insurance risk surveyors have probably seen it all before, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most will be more than happy to give you the benefit of their experience.
Some sectors are seen as having higher-risk sites than others.
While retail and leisure businesses might have lower-risk sites, such as their stores, they will also have some higher risk sites.
National distribution warehouses are likely to contain thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of pounds worth of stock. In which case, complying with insurance cover is vital.
Also, larger properties like hotels and some care homes are seen as higher risk by insurance companies because the people they contain are more valuable than stock.
Because of these risks, a surveyor will inspect the premises from time to time, often annually or bi-annually, and sometimes, if the estate is large, it may occur at random.
Luckily, at TPG we’re experienced in all aspects of insurance risk surveys and can undertake the required works that are identified.
Our qualified building surveyors help our clients decide the best action to comply before our building and facilities team undertake the work to ensure compliance.
Hopefully, when an inspector calls for an insurance risk survey, you’ll be a little more prepared. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions about these or other areas of health & safety compliance.
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