Theft of plant and machinery equipment from building sites soared by 50% during the pandemic, according to the Construction Equipment Association (CEA). Initially, the spike in thefts was driven by opportunistic thieves and organised crime gangs taking advantage of the hasty shutdown of many sites during the first lockdown in March 2020.
Although building sites are now up and running again, many are facing labour shortages, and long delays in deliveries, alongside soaring costs for construction materials. This is driving site thefts back up again, as thieves take advantage of unsecured equipment, and inadequate security and monitoring measures.
In July, thieves in Newark made off with a JCB telehandler from a construction site. Although it was fitted with a tracker, this was removed and left behind at the site, The Nottingham Post reports. The theft occurred over a weekend, and left workers unable to carry out their jobs on Monday morning.
Building contractors and tradesmen often bring their own machinery to a site, or hire plant. In either case, if the equipment is lost or damaged, they will need to be repaired or replaced, which can be very costly. It’s estimated that the construction industry loses £800m per year to machinery theft, the CEA says.
DC Chris Piggott, Rural Vehicle Crime intelligence officer, NAVCIS (National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service), said: “Many construction and agricultural vehicles now have so-called smart keys containing electronic information needed to start the machine, so it’s vital that keys are removed from machines and stored securely in a remote location.”
Despite all reasonable efforts to secure plant, accident or loss still sometimes happens. That’s why it is essential to be adequately insured for machinery including diggers, bulldozers, concrete mixers, cherry pickers, forklifts, dumpers, cranes, and so forth. Whether you own all your plant, or work on a hire basis, you will need a relevant policy.
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New research has revealed that businesses that have enjoyed great success since the pandemic struck, particularly in the eCommerce and healthcare sectors, are neglecting to keep up to date with the correct insurance requirements. This is leaving them vulnerable to loss of stock or compensation claims from workers, according to The Times.
The survey reveals that up to four-fifths of companies that have expanded significantly over the past two years are inadequately insured. They may have policies in place, but these have become out of date or unsuitable to meet the needs of a high stock turnover and increased workforce.
The publication quotes the example of baby and children’s brand start-up My 1st Years. At the end of April 2021, the company were thriving as never before, and on track for annual sales of £30 million, after starting from scratch in 2010. They sell personalised toys, accessories and clothing for small children, and count Prince George among their customers.
On May 1 this year, the brand’s head office and distribution centre in Northampton were destroyed in a devastating arson attack. INews reports that over £3m worth of stock was lost in the blaze, plus £1m of equipment, and a 100,00 sq ft warehouse, head office and photography studio were damaged beyond repair.
Fortunately, the business was fully insured, and the £15m damage and relocation costs were all covered by their policies. Founders Daniel Price and Jonny Sitton had to close the business for four and a half months, and oversee an extensive customer refund operation.
However, thanks to their adequate insurance policy, the brand has successfully relaunched with a new logo and an eye on the Christmas market. Price said that he now feels really optimistic for the future, and is proud of the work his team have put in to get the business back up and running.
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It’s has been well recorded that pet ownership significantly increased during the pandemic. According to research conducted by Sainsbury’s Bank, a quarter of Brits welcomes a new pet into their home since March 2020. But as employers try to tempt workers back into the office, many are considering if they should allow pets to be brought along with them.
In the US, a 2018 study by National Insurance claimed that pet insurance is quickly becoming one of the most requested voluntary benefits, and a recent study by pet products company Bark found that over 70 per cent of dog owners still working from home expect to miss their furry companion when they return to the workplace, according to Value Penguin.
This is in stark comparison to 42 per cent who said they will miss their spouse and 39 per cent who said they will miss their children.
It is important that employers do not judge, but respond, which is what many US business owners are doing.
Typical pet insurance policies – which employers can either fully pay or make available to their employees at discounted rates negotiated with the insurance company – cover wellness exams, shots, chronic conditions and acute illnesses and injuries. Offering pet insurance is a great way for employers to demonstrate that they care about employees.
Besides pet insurance, a growing number of businesses are allowing their employees to bring their animals to work. The most famous of these is Amazon which, once again, ranked as America’s number one dog-friendly business this year, according to data provided by the pet-sitting and dog walking service Rover.
However, bringing dogs into the office can be complicated, and the companies that allow it already have fairly strict policies, such as ensuring that employees have adequately trained their pets, providing insurance details, and evidence of medical check-ups for parasites and vaccinations.
It might sound like a lot of work, but allowing employees to bring pets into work could be a very powerful way to entice workers away from remote working.
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