Coronavirus and Rising Crime

How To Protect Your Business

Since the announcement of the government's lockdown, police and business owners have reported a sharp rise in criminal activity according to the BBC. One unfortunate business owner was burgled the day after they closed their doors. Businesses that moved their operations to remote locations have also been the victims of crime as there has been a surge in the number of cyber-attacks – something that has hit many UK businesses hard as many don't have cyber insurance cover in place.

To help you protect your business at this difficult time, Coversure's team of specialists have put together this guide to how you could protect your business during the Coronavirus crisis. We hope this is of use, but if you'd like some independent insurance advice regarding your business, then please contact your local Coversure office.

Protecting an Unoccupied Business

The Coronavirus has taken the world by storm. It's forced millions of people to remain at home and thousands of businesses to change their working practises by moving to remote working or simply shutting up shop. If you have been forced to leave premises, here are some easy tips on keeping them secure:

  • Read your insurance policy wording and look out for any security clauses, conditions or warranties that you must comply with for your cover to be valid
  • Test your alarm and CCTV if you have them and ensure they are monitored and fully operational
  • Survey the premises and see if you have any vulnerable areas – unlocked windows, concealed entrances, broken locks, unprotected outbuildings and storage areas – and add security to them
  • Ensure all doors and windows are locked
  • Keep a list of key holders and maybe draw up a rota of first-responders if there is a problem
  • Move stock, tools and valuables – including unused office equipment – out of sight, ideally locked away
  • Ensure keys to the premises or other venues are not left inside but are with key holders
  • Use timer switches or give the appearance of occupation/use
  • Get a phone app that allows connectivity and a vocal capacity to engage with any intruder
  • Take all cash from the premises and leave a note of entry points explaining that
  • Make inspections of the premises whenever it's safe to do so
  • Laminated glass or security film that can be applied to glass to make it more resistant to an attack
  • An insurance-rated safe should be bolted to the floor or wall and anti-tamper sensors fitted to set off an alarm if attacked

Protecting Your Business When Working Remotely

This has suddenly become the new normal for many business owners, and while there's no issue around occupation – some would welcome a little less occupation! – there are other issues to be considered, specifically cyber-crime.

Cyber-attacks have been on the rise in the UK in recent years. According to Beaming, the number of cyber-attacks rose by 179% in 2019 compared to 2018 figures. Small businesses are particularly at risk and the effects of a successful attack can be financially ruinous.

Again, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of your business becoming one of the 87% of UK small businesses that see a breach each year:

  • Watch which devices you connect to your network – phones, laptops, USB drives even children's toys, all of these can be connected these days and if they can be connected, they can be attacked. These so-called Internet of Things (IoT) devices are a favourite gateway for hackers
  • Don't put off software updates – these updates matter and installing them promptly can help keep you safe. The NHS hack of a couple of years ago was due to out of date and insecure software
  • Make sure your virus protection software is up to date – check daily for updates or better still set your virus protection to automatically update
  • Don't open suspicious emails – inboxes are much better at spotting viruses and malware these days, but they are not infallible. If something comes in from someone you don't know or which has an odd subject line and/or an attachment, just delete it
  • Store data in the cloud – cloud services – such as Apple's iCloud or Windows OneDrive – allow you to store data securely and can significantly reduce your risk of losing data from cyber-attacks
  • Look after your passwords – sharing passwords, using weak passwords, not updating passwords and using a single password for all your log-ins are all open invitations to cyber criminal
  • Make sure your home insurance covers your IT equipment for working from home
  • Consult an IT security professional – if your business won't support a designated IT team, then look to get a consultant to look after your network. They don't need to cost the earth and they can save your business from disaster

One final line of defence is to take out a cyber insurance policy. This affordable form of cover won't prevent the bad guys getting in, but with cover against everything from ransomware to data recovery it can be a small price to pay for great peace of mind.

Unoccupied Property Insurance

Most business insurance policies include a clause that if a property is left vacant for longer than a specified length of time, then it will not be covered unless an unoccupied property insurance option is included.

The length of time that has to pass before its deemed to be unoccupied varies from policy to policy, but it can be as little as 30 days. Since the Coronavirus outbreak and the enforced lockdown, some insurers have extended the vacancy limit to 45 or even 60 days, but it's important that you know where you stand so you can make the appropriate arrangements. If you are in any doubt, then please contact your local Coversure office and they'll be happy to help.

Like Some More Insurance Help?

For more independent insurance help or for a great value quote, contact your local Coversure office and they'll be only too happy to help.

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