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Risk Management Guide

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Risk Management Guide

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									Risk Management Guide
At some time or another most people experience loss or damage to their possessions or home from theft, fire or adverse weather conditions. Our aim with this Guide is to provide you with information which will help to minimize the risk of loss or damage to your home and its contents and to guide you with practical ways to cope with events should they occur. If, after reading this guide you still require assistance, please contact your professional adviser who will make the necessary arrangements with us for further advice or a visit by one of our Risk Management Surveyors.

Useful information
Additional advice and information is available from:

Company or Association
Sterling Executive Home Helpline Crime Prevention Officer Details from your nearest Police station National Security Inspectorate (NSI) Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) Association of British Insurers Supply a range of leaflets on security and safety topics Homesitters Ltd Directgov Provides a wide range public information service Environment Agency Fire Extinguishing Trades Association (FETA) Child Accident Prevention Trust Gurr Johns - Valuers and Fine Art Consultants Quastel Associates Ltd Andrew Acquier Seymour’s Art Advisers & Valuers The Art Loss Register Alpha.Dot Security Smart Water Technology Ltd The Tree Advice Trust The Arboricultural Association Leaflets and publications on tree maintenance Thatching Advisory Services Ltd Includes details of Master Thatchers National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC)

Website address

Telephone No.
0845 070 230

www.nsi.org.uk www.ssaib.co.uk www.locksmiths.co.uk www.abi.org.uk www.homesitters.co.uk www.direct.gov.uk www.environment-agency.gov.uk www.feta.org.uk www.capt.org.uk www.gurrjohns.co.uk www.antiques-valuer.co.uk www.andrewacquier.co.uk www.seymourmanagement.co.uk www.artloss.com www.alpha-dot.co.uk www.smartwater.com www.treehelp.info www.trees.org.uk www.thatchingadvisoryservices.co.uk

0870 205 0000 09 296 3242 0800 783 498 020 7600 3333 0296 630730

08708 506 506 020 8549 8839 020 7608 3828 020 7839 4747 0870 9020 940 020 7353 6440 020 7493 2662 020 7928 7600 0845 757 3329 0952 222706 09065 647 0794 368 77 0264 773820

www.niceic.org.uk

020 7564 2323



Protecting your home against theft
You should always discuss with your professional adviser and us any changes that you are planning concerning your home security so that we can help you attain realistic security protection taking into account your own personal circumstances. In approximately 30% of domestic burglaries the thief simply walks in without using force because a door or window has been left unlocked or open or an alarm not set. Use your security devices at all times and remove all keys from the locks. Read your policy schedule carefully as it may be a condition of your policy and failure to comply may invalidate your cover.

Intruder Alarms
We want you to be able to take comfort in the quality of the installation and service provided by your alarm installer so recommend that your alarm specification, installation and maintenance be carried out by a company approved by either:(i) National Security Inspectorate (NSI) There are three approval ratings for NSI but we recommend you choose a company that is approved as Silver or Gold.

(ii)

Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB)

Locks and Safes
All locking devices should ideally comply with British Standard BS362 (Thief resistant locks) but these are not always appropriate for modern doors or historical buildings. Multi-point locking devices found on uPVC doors are acceptable. If you have jewellery or heirlooms that you wish to keep safe you should consider whether purchasing a safe might be the best option. There are a considerable number of safes for sale, including second hand safes to assist in keeping costs to a minimum. When a safe is manufactured, the manufacturer will generally apply a cash rating (the maximum amount of cash that they recommend be stored in that particular device). Help and advice can be obtained from members of the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) for both locks and safes.

Garages and Outbuildings
Your garages and outbuildings should be kept locked when not in use. There tends to be a rise in crime to these areas of the home during the spring and summer months. Sensor-operated lighting is an effective deterrent. Up-and-over garage doors are vulnerable and we would recommend that at least one hasp and close-shackle padlock be fitted in addition to the manufacturers locking device. Ensure that ladders and stepladders are kept out of sight in a locked building as these could help make an inaccessible window accessible.

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Valuable items
Thieves can find it very difficult to sell valuable goods that are coded or marked. Taking the following action can therefore help in safeguarding your possessions: • mark your valuables with your postcode and home number or house name - there are several methods you can choose from or use a specific security marking product. However, do give consideration to what effect this may have to the value when marking items of fine art with such products. • visible marking - use ceramic markers or diamond tipped engravers for permanent marking • invisible marking - use ultra violet markers. This method is not permanent and will need renewing every 2 to 3 years • for bicycles and garden machinery it is more effective to stamp them - the Police or a dealer will usually have facilities to do this • keep a description of all valuable items, particularly hallmarks, serial numbers or any special markings • a sticker in your window declaring that your property is marked can act as an effective deterrent as can a sticker stating that you are a member of an active Neighbourhood Watch scheme • valuable items can be lodged in a bank or safe depository and provided this is agreed in advance with Sterling a reduced premium may be charged • always keep a separate note of credit card numbers and consider joining one of the Card Protection schemes • be aware of the need to keep your keys in a secure place and always remove keys from locks when not in use • check the settings of precious stones on jewellery regularly • register your keys, passports, luggage and other portable items with yellowtag™

How could you identify your possessions as yours if they were stolen and recovered?
Film, video recording and photographs are of vital importance in identifying and recovering stolen objects. In addition to overall views of your valuables, take close-up shots of any inscriptions, markings, dents, damage or repairs. If possible, include a ruler or object of known size in the image. Sometimes it is not easy to identify one item in isolation. Making an inventory of your valuable possessions can also help to identify them as yours if more than one item is stolen. What should you include in an inventory? The following questions will help you choose suitable headings for your inventory:• • • • • • • • • • What kind of object is it? (e.g. painting, sculpture, clock, mask) What materials is the object made of? (e.g. brass, wood, oil on canvas) How was it made? (e.g.carved, cast, etched) What is the size and/or weight of the object? Specify which unit of measurement is being used (e.g. cm’s, inches) and to which dimension the measurements refer (e.g. height, width, depth). Are there any identifying markings, numbers, or inscriptions on the object? (e.g. a signature, dedication, title, maker’s marks, purity marks, property marks) Does the object have any physical characteristics that could help to identify it? (e.g. damage, repairs, manufacturing defects) Does the object have a title by which it is known and might be identified? (e.g. The Scream) What is pictured or represented? (e.g. landscape, battle, woman holding child) When was the object made? (e.g. 893, early 7th Century, Late Bronze age) Do you know who made the object? This may be the name of a known individual (e.g. Thomas Tompion) a company (e.g. Tiffany) or a cultural group (e.g. Hopi) How would you describe the item?

Keep a copy of the photographs or film in a secure location away from your home. These photographic and descriptive records may help to quantify a claim, particularly in the event of a catastrophic loss where items may have been totally destroyed.

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Valuations
If you are unsure of the value of your Fine Art and Antiques, Jewellery and Watches we strongly recommend that you have a professional valuation carried out. This will provide you with a detailed inventory and generally photographic evidence. To assist our Executive Home policyholders we have negotiated discounted fees with the following valuers:

Andrew Acquier BA FRICS Chartered Arts Surveyors

020 7353 6440

0870 9020 940

020 7839 4747

020 7493 2662

What can you do to help secure your home before you go on holiday?
It is especially important to take extra precautions when you know you are going to be away from your home for more than a few days:• • • • • cancel any deliveries of milk or newspapers in person do not leave notes advising when you are away do not close the curtains if you have an automatic light switch installed, set it to operate at the times you normally switch the lights on ask a neighbour to visit the house from time to time to remove your mail and generally make the property look occupied they should be made aware of the Sterling Executive Home Helpline number 0845 070 2310 in the event of an emergency affecting the home unplug all appliances except the freezer, fridge and automatic light switch check that all windows and doors are securely locked put all garden furniture, ladders and tools in the garage and make sure that it is securely locked do not forget to set all intruder alarms, smoke detectors and other alarm systems, also check that batteries in any alarms and smoke detectors are working put valuables in the safe and make sure it is securely locked - the keys should not be left in your home make sure the keys to your home are kept in a safe place - do not leave them in the home if you are going away during the winter, open the loft hatch and leave the central heating system on 24 hours a day throughout the home to maintain at least 0 degrees to prevent freezing of water supply pipes, cisterns and tanks or drain the water system and turn off the water supply at the mains check that your insurance cover is up to date and does not expire while you are away check that your valuables are covered whilst they are away from the home.

• • • • • • •

• •

An occupied home is less attractive to thieves than an unoccupied home. You may wish to consider employing someone of proven reliability to look after your home while you are away. Homesitters Ltd is a good example of a long established company in this field. See Useful Information at the front of this Guide.

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Keeping your insurers informed
Remember to advise your insurance adviser or Sterling of any: • • • • • reduction in Police response to your intruder alarm system proposed building/structural alteration works to the home changes in your personal circumstances, occupation (full or part-time) or the use of your home acquisition of property via probate proposed unoccupancy of the home for more than 60 consecutive days

These issues may affect your policy cover. Please familiarise yourself with your policy terms and conditions.

Personal Security & Safety
• • • • • • • check the ID and credentials of all contractors be wary of door-to-door salespeople - check their credentials don’t disclose your credit card details, PIN numbers or passwords be careful how you dispose of personal and financial data. If possible, shred or burn statements containing such information be aware of internet crime be aware of crime trends and personal attacks in city centres, town centres and shopping malls ensure garden equipment, including ladders, is well maintained to reduce the risk of personal injury.

What should you do in the event of a burglary?
We appreciate just how distressing and traumatic suffering a burglary can be. If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a burglary these are a few steps to take to minimise the distress: • • • • dial your local Police station or 999 as soon as possible if you think there may be a chance the intruders are still in your home, do not enter under any circumstances try to avoid the temptation of tidying up, as the police will want to obtain fingerprints it will help Police if you can try and assess what has been taken - if it is safe to access your home, start to write a list while you are waiting for the Police to arrive if any cheque books or credit cards have been stolen, report their loss immediately to your Bank or Credit Card Company notify your insurance adviser or Sterling of the theft as soon as possible ensure that all broken locks are replaced as soon as possible. Seek guidance from Sterling regarding the standards of security required if you need to replace any broken glass, do not forget the 24 hour Glass Helpline available under your Sterling Executive Home policy - call the Sterling Executive Home Helpline on 0845 070 2310 many people find the experience of burglary very traumatic - if you need to speak to a professional counsellor contact your local Victim Support Centre - you will find the number in your local telephone directory.

• • • • •

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How to prevent fires
You can reduce the risk of fire by taking the following precautions: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • all fires and heaters should have a secure fireguard all chimneys used should be swept at least annually if you have portable heaters, put them where they cannot be knocked over carry out regular spot checks - faulty wiring, frayed leads and loose plugs can cause fires - they should be repaired immediately after the fault has been noticed make sure furniture items are not obstructing or damaging electrical cables unplug electrical appliances before going to bed - do not overload an electrical point for electric blankets, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure that you do not misuse them check that your electric iron is earthed and that it has a safe stand do not leave your cooker unattended whilst switched on - do not hang clothes directly over stoves or cookers avoid careless smoking especially in bedrooms - keep matches and lighters away from children take great care with all flammable liquids in your home - for storage and correct usage follow the instructions on the container you should take special care with any heaters in your bathroom - these should be safely placed and well guarded you should prepare an escape plan to be used in the event of a fire only use candles in their proper containers and take particular care where they are placed. Do not leave burning candles unattended and make sure that they are properly extinguished at all times. Purchase a portable fire extinguishing appliance and/or a fire blanket

Fire extinguishers
When buying a portable fire-extinguishing appliance you should make sure it conforms to BS7863 and BSEN3 996. You should always purchase an approved fire-extinguishing appliance. The extinguisher body is now coloured red with an identification band colour depending on the extinguishing medium.

Portable fire extinguishing appliances
Type (colour) Water (red) Foam (cream and red) or AFF Foam Dry powder (blue and red) Carbon dioxide (black and red) Hydrospray (red) Fire blanket Minimum size recommended 3 litres 3 litres 2 litres kg 2kg 3 litres Should comply with BS 6575 When to use All wood, paper and fabrics not electrical or flammable liquids. Wood, paper and freely burning materials including flammable liquids All fires Flammable liquids and electrical fires Wood paper and freely burning materials Effective for tackling small fires such as chip pan fires

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What to do in the event of a fire
If a fire breaks out you should take the following action: • • • • alert everyone in the house of the fire by shouting ‘Fire’ loudly and call 999 and evacuate the building if the fire is small and contained you should use your fire blanket or portable fire extinguishing appliance (provided this will not prejudice your own personal safety) if you cannot tackle the fire without prejudicing your own personal safety and the fire is confined to one room, shut the door before you leave the building if you are trapped by fire you should go into a room, firmly close the door and block the bottom of the door with a blanket, clothing or carpet - you should then seek help by calling from the window

Thatched properties
If you are the proud owner of a thatched property you will undoubtedly be fully aware of the charm and uniqueness of your home that has probably stood for many years. It is important that you take the following additional steps to help ensure your home stands for many more years to come. A regularly well-maintained thatched roof will slow down fire spread. Where the thatched roof is nearing the end of its average life span, the thatch should be checked by a Master Thatcher and replaced if necessary. A thatched roof will only take approximately 20 minutes to burn. Chimneys are the major causes of fire in thatched properties (approximately 50%) • consult Thatching Advisory Services Ltd to obtain: • details of a Master Thatcher who is local to your home • a fire retardant treatment - FRT80 which considerably reduces the speed at which thatch catches fire • a barrier foil used like roofing felt that stops rafters burning and protects thatch from internal combustion • a steel liner which should be fitted to the chimney flue chimneys must be swept at least once a year prior to winter use the height of chimney pots should ideally be .8 metres above the ridge to help carry sparks away from the roof spark arresters can be fitted to the top of a chimney, but these must be kept clean the electrical installation should be inspected once every 0 years by an electrician approved by the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) have a hose reel attached to the exterior of the property on a stand pipe (lagged against frost). The length of the hose should be sufficient enough to reach all around the house.

• • • • •

Under no circumstances should naked flames or tools producing naked flames be used in the attic or loft space or bonfires or fireworks be lit within close proximity to the property i.e. at least 30 metres.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will reduce the risk of extensive fire and injury, especially at night when you are asleep. • you should have at least one smoke detector on each floor and homes with gas fired heating should also have at least one carbon monoxide detector • your smoke detector should conform to BS5446, and should carry the British Standard Kitemark • all detectors should be tested regularly to ensure that they are working properly and that the batteries have not run out. 7

How to deal with a gas leak

In the event of a gas leak • do not smoke • do not use naked flames • do not turn electric switches on or off • turn off the gas supply at the meter • open doors and windows to get rid of the gas • call the National Gas 24 hour Emergency Service on 0800 111 999

Electrical safety leads to fire safety
Residual Current Devices (trip switches) are simple fittings designed to help prevent electrical shock and other accidents due to faulty electrical appliances or wiring. RCDs are a vital safety precaution, but they cannot guarantee 00% protection. It is essential to treat electricity with care • always wear stout shoes whenever you are handling any electrical appliance outdoors • always place the cable of a garden strimmer or mower over your shoulder and keep it behind you at all times. The use of power break devices is recommended • check cables and flexes regularly throughout your home to see they are not frayed or kinked • check plugs regularly to see they are undamaged and firmly wired • never overload a socket by plugging in too many appliances or adaptors • never use mains electrical appliances like radios, TV’s, hairdryers, portable heaters in a bathroom • a plain flex for an electric kettle should never be longer than 80cm (2ft 6ins) to lessen the risk of a child pulling on it • if you have young children, consider using socket covers • do not attempt socket repairs, wiring or re-wiring in your home unless you are a qualified electrician • keep water away from anything electric - do not wash walls without turning off the power at the mains switch - never use a socket or plug or piece of electrical equipment that could still have water in it - let it dry thoroughly before you switch on again.

Most Utility Companies provide free visual inspections and safety checks - take advantage of these whenever possible.

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Protecting your home against weather hazards
You can protect your home against weather hazards. The following steps should be part of your routine household maintenance.

Freezing weather
You can take a number of precautions to prevent damage to your home when the temperature drops below freezing: • lift loft hatch when the home is unoccupied • replace washers on dripping taps • lag your pipes and water tanks wherever possible • ensure that your water stop-valve operates easily • ensure your central heating is checked regularly and kept on during freezing temperatures both at night and when the home is unoccupied • fit frost-stats to the heating system. If your pipes should freeze or even burst do not forget the Sterling Executive Home Helpline on 0845 070 2310. There are several steps you should take to minimise any damage • turn off your water stop valve • locate the frozen pipe and protect any items under the pipe • do not use a blow torch • to defrost the pipes use a hairdryer starting at the end nearest to the tap.

Flood
Are you aware if your home is in a flood risk area? You can check this by visiting www.evironment-agency.gov.uk. If your home is flooded you should take the following action: • move to a place of safety in your home and take food, water, warm clothing and a portable radio with you • if it is safe to do so move vulnerable items to upper floors of your home • do not use the electricity. After the flood you should take the following steps to minimise the long term damage • remove all wet floor coverings and thoroughly clean the affected walls • let all the floor boards dry before relaying your carpets • oil all of your door hinges to prevent them from rusting • make sure the building is thoroughly dry before redecorating • check your floor boards again after six months. Storms Ensure your tiles and guttering are secure - if they are not you should contact a reputable contractor to secure them firmly. Check that your gutters and drains are not blocked and that fence panels and buildings of light construction are secure. If a severe storm is forecast it is advisable to take the following precautions to minimise any damage • make sure that all gates are bolted • put any garden furniture, lawnmowers and ornamental plant pots in the garage and lock it.

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Subsidence
We know that the appearance of cracks or other damage to the home can cause much concern. There are two key points to remember should you need to make a subsidence claim - the time factor and co-ordination of the specialists who will need to be involved.

The time factor
Please try to be patient. There will usually be a valid reason for any apparent delay in resolving your claim. Often with subsidence, heave and landslip claims it is not possible from an initial inspection to assess either the full extent of the damage or the likely remedial work required. Tests, over a period of time, may be necessary to determine whether the underlying cause is still in operation. It is often the only way to ensure that the correct remedial work is undertaken to your home.

Co-ordinating the specialists
At all stages in your claim you will be dealing with people who possess specialist professional skills. Depending on the complexity of the claim a number of experts may need to be involved such as a loss adjuster, a consulting engineer, a chartered surveyor or architect and the contractor. We will help you to remain involved throughout the complete claims process. The experts are there to help you.

Trees
One of the main causes of subsidence arises from trees. Not only can they cause damage to your own home but they can create liabilities devolving upon you by causing damage to neighbour’s property. If you have large trees that are close to either your own home or your neighbour’s, you should seek expert assistance. Trees most often involved in subsidence incidents are Oak, Willow, Sycamore, Ash, Plane and Poplar. A few simple actions can be taken to protect your property and prevent long term problems if you live in a clay soil area: • do not plant trees or large shrubs or climbing foliage close to the house, garage or outbuildings. Remember that small trees or shrubs can quickly grow to substantial heights.

N.B. Initially small hedges of Leylandii bushes (Cupresso-cyparis Leylandii), which singly may not cause a problem, will have a much greater effect on the moisture in soils when massed together. • • • • • • • if trees have been planted close to the property AFTER the house was built, it is recommended that they are removed trees which are older than the structure can be managed - that is to say a programme of pollarding or crown thinning carried out to control the amount of foliage produced, which will in turn reduce the amount of water it requires trees which are older than the structure should NOT be removed without professional advice as this could cause uplift of the ground and subsequent heave never remove or in any way alter a tree on which there is a preservation order, without the appropriate consent if in doubt obtain specialist advice from a tree surgeon or similar professional. Initially the costs involved will normally have to be borne by the policyholder and will only be reimbursed by the insurer if a claim for subsidence is met never plant climbing foliage next to drainage or surface rainwater goods the Safe planting distance guide on the next page may prove useful - but is not exhaustive.

If you are unsure of the nature of the soil in the area you reside, this information may be available in a valuation or survey report if you obtained one when purchasing your home.

Valuable advice and information can be obtained from: • •
0

The Tree Advice Trust, Alice Holt Lodge, Wrecclesham, Farnham, Surrey GU0 4LH The Arboricultural Association, Ampfield House, Ampfield, Romsey, Hampshire SO5 9PA

Safe Planting distance guide

(Parthenocissus quinquefolia) SPECIES NORMAL MATURE HEIGHT (m) 2 23 20 4 25 7 2 25 0 4 20 2 8 24 9 2 24 29 30 2 28 24 8 8 2 24 2 SAFE DISTANCE (m)

Virginia Creeper

Common Ash
Apple/Pear Ash Beech Birch Cypress Cherry Damson Elm Hawthorn Holly Horse Chestnut Laburnum Laurel Lime Magnolia Maple Oak Pine Plane Plum Poplar Sycamore Spruce Walnut White Beam/Rowan Willow Yew 0 2 5 0 20   30 2 6 23 9 6 20 5 20 30 8 22  35 7 7 4  40 5

(Fraxinus excelsior)

Weeping Willow
(Salix chrysocoma)

English or Common Oak
(Quercus Robus)

This list is not exhaustive and should be regarded as a GUIDE only

Purple Norway Maple
(Acer platanoides)

(Acer pseudoplatanus)

Sycamore

These are part of the Maple (Acer) family. Some species are very fast growing. Sycamore will quickly reach 30ft or more.
KH 2798 02.07




								
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