Arson – a malicious act but one which might leave you unprotected

Following a recent speight of arson attacks in the South of England, Club Insure’s claims department emphasise the importance of being fully and legally compliant with insurance regulations and requirements.

Arson unfortunately, is an unprecedented act of violence that can neither be foreseen nor avoided, but which can leave not only property damaged but whole communities devastated.

However, as the proprietor or committee of a sports club, it is worth noting that should an incident occur, insurers may refuse to refund the costs if you have failed to suitably insure your property or adhere to policy conditions and warranties – can you afford to run such risks?

To avoid such a scenario, Club Insure stress the following:

Ensure you have a satisfactory and up to date electrical certificate? Has your fixed wiring been tested and certified by an approved contractor within the last 5 years and has any remedial action been carried out?

Ensure that your fire and intruder alarm are regularly maintained, fully operational and set whenever the premises are unoccupied. Ensure that everyone with access to your alarm codes are fully aware how it operates. As an example; thieves can enter your premises during trading hours and tamper with door contacts, when you then come to set the alarm it will not work properly and as a result you are unlikely to be paid out in the event of a claim. If you are in any doubt that the fire or intruder alarm is not working correctly do not leave the premises unoccupied until the issue is resolved.

All final exit door and safe keys must be removed from the premises when it is unoccupied or kept in another locked safe. Please note ‘Key safes’ locked filing cabinets, till or desk drawers are not suitable.

Is waste removed from the premises daily? Many insurers will also require you to remove waste from the premises daily and ensure that the waste is stored at a distance, often in excess of 10m from the building. Do you know what your obligations are under your policy?

Flat roofs must be inspected and maintained regularly. Detailed records should be kept of these inspections which are required on an annual or bi-annual basis depending on your insurers. Guttering should be checked for blockages or defects every 6 months by a competent person and a record kept.

Do you have portable heaters on the premises? If so, these should only be used in office areas, you must have a valid PAT testing certificate and the appliance must be turned off and unplugged when not in use or the area is unattended. Always keep the appliance free from contact with combustible materials.

Do you know who you are employing? The most common cause of arson is disgruntled employees. You should ensure that 3 years worth of references are obtained for all employees and that you retain a record of these references. There may be other requirements in respect of annual holidays, cheque signing, reconciling statements and receipts so check your policy wording.

Surrey’s Detective Chief Inspector Antony Archibald, commented: “Arson is an unusual crime to happen, we don’t know what would possess someone to target sports clubs – they’re at the heart of the community. The message is, please be vigilant.”