All about Insurer Surveys

Commercial Insurance policyholders may at some point face an Insurer survey of their premises so I thought I would explain why these are necessary and how the procedure works.

Why have Insurers requested a survey of my premises ?

These are normally requested when taking out a new policy with an Insurer if you have high sums insured or the premises are situated in a high risk flood or crime area.

They may also be requested due to the construction of the premises or if there have been a number of recent claims.

Most facilities that Brokers have available to them will have automatic Survey trigger points based on the cover requested, history etc so its important to remember that you are not being selected specifically or targeted for closer inspection.

Insurers maintain the right to Survey any premises at any time during the period of the policy.

How is the Survey arranged ?

If your policy is arranged via a Broker they will ask you for a contact that the Insurers Surveyor can use, this may be the site Manager or owner of the premises.

These details are then passed on to the Surveyor who will make contact with you to arrange an appointment to visit the premises.

What happens during the Survey ?

The Surveyor will carry out a full inspection the premises and consider many aspects such as type of construction, security (both physical and alarm systems), look at storage procedures of hazardous goods, consider Health and Safety issues and will also ask you to provide details of Electrical Testing and Portable Appliance Testing that has been carried out in accordance with statutory regulations.

Some surveyors will invite you to join them during the survey so that they can discuss any issues with you on site.

What happens after the Survey ?

The Surveyor will draw up a full report including photographs and forward this to the main Insurers office.

This will be reviewed by the Insurer and any additional comments added. This is then despatched to your Broker.

Your Broker will then write to you with details of the report and highlight any areas of concern.

The report may contain Recommendations (do not have to be done) and Requirements (must be done) that need to be implemented.

Recommendations are exactly that, e.g. possibly upgrading locks, alarm signalling or arranging Health and Safety Inspections.

Requirements may be of many types, such as compulsory upgrades to alarm systems if existing systems are felt inadequate, maintenance of the building such as roof repairs, improved storage required for hazardous goods and any issues that have arisen which might effect Health and safety issues such as slip and trip risk areas.

Each Requirement will have a completion date associated with it – the required work or upgrade must be made within this period.

These can range from immediate, to 7 days although 30 days is probably the most common.

What will happen if I do not complete the requirements ?

If evidence can be provided that the work is underway but has not been completed as you are awaiting trades people to attend then extensions will often be granted.

Insurers have a number of options open to them if continued non-compliance occurs such as increasing policy excesses, restricting cover, applying Co Insurance Clauses and ultimately cancellation of the policy.

Cancellation would be rare, the important thing is to contact your Broker if there are issues in meeting the requirements rather than ignoring them.

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