How do I protect my business?

Loss Prevention Guidelines

Operating a business requires a degree of forward thinking and planning, not only to position yourself firmly in a marketplace, but also to endeavour to be one step ahead of your competitors.

The Insurance Council of New Zealand has developed some loss prevention guidelines that may help ensure that your business is not disrupted unnecessarily.

If you are in the market for new premises, consider those with a sprinkler system

  • Install a dedicated fire dectection system comprising smoke/heat dectectors as compliant with current Australian/New Zealand standards. It is not recommend that fire dectection systems be incorporated into intruder alarm systems
  • Ensure that hose reels and fire extinguishers are kept in strategic locations, are clearly visible, and regularly serviced
  • Keep all exits clear
  • Dispose all waste material on a daily basis outside of the building
  • Comply with hazardous goods requirements
  • Keep valuable records in fireproof cabinets, and where possible, hold copies off-site.

Helpful tip

Failure to comply with some of the above points could result in Occupational Health & Safety liabilities if anyone is injured and the workplace is determined to be unsafe.

Theft protection

Take these measures to limit opportunities for those would try to enter your premises to steal goods.

  • Ensure there is good physical protection on windows and doors in all areas of the premises (including loading bays), while maintaining egress (fire escape) requirements.
  • Use an insurer-approved security system that is monitored. The Insurance Council recommends that any new security installations comply with the National Council for Security Systems Guidelines.
  • Ensure all property (including machinery and motor vehicles) is securely stored after-hours, and not left outside the premises.
  • Maintain good stock-keeping systems (to discover any stock thefts quickly).
  • Securely store all valuable records and computer system programme material in an insurer-approved safe.

Computer equipment

  • Computer equipment, particularly laptops, are high-ticket theft items. Laptops should be securely locked away (either in the premises or at home) when not in use, and should never be left in an unattended vehicle.
  • Ensure that the laptop is password protected. The loss of sensitive commercial information often has a far higher monetary value than the laptop itself, and is often unrecoverable.

Consequential loss

Following any physical damage caused either by fire, water or burglars, the business could also suffer consequential interruption losses.

To minimise delays in getting your business back on track the following points should be considered:

  • Have contingency plans for alternative premises and replacement equipment.
  • Can any operations be contracted out to another party to maintain your turnover? You may need to discuss this with your insurer.
  • Have alternative suppliers in mind.
  • Maintain system / data back-up files offsite. This can now be done electronically via specialist security organisations

Fidelity of staff

  • This is a subject few people like to talk about, however theft by employees is a very real risk.
  • Although theft by employees may not be readily identified, it always contributes to a drain on profits.
  • The Insurance Council recommends that proper audit trails be maintained for all business assets including stock and monetary instruments (credit cards, cash, cheques etc).

Computer system protection

Many businesses rely on the use of computer systems. This means that a computer system failure may close a business. Therefore it is important to:

  • Maintain a service contract for all computer systems
  • Backup data offsite
  • Consider protecting your premises' power supplies from damaging interference (ie. spikes and noise). Simple protection is available - speak to an electrical contractor
  • Update your virus scanners regularly from your system's supplier
  • Ensure that you have good firewall protection for e-mail and Internet systems.

Earthquake Insurance

Following the challenges from the Canterbury Earthquakes in 2011, insurers are now requiring a lot more information about the insured property and or premises from which the business operates.

Insurers need to know the following in most cases:

  • The age of the building (When it was constructed)
  • Information on the Ground that the building stands on (ie. is it B-Grade or soft reclaimed land). An engineer can inform you of this.
  • What is the current New Building seismic rating (NBS seismic rating)? An engineer can inform you of this.