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ECIC’s warning to contractors

ECIC’s warning to contractors | Insurance Business

ECIC’s warning to contractors

“The increase of van thefts is widely recognised but showing no signs of abating. It is hugely disruptive to contractors, impacting work commitments, and insurance costs.”

Those were the words of Ian Hollingworth of ECIC (EC Insurance Company Limited), when the Markel International firm published its analysis of insurance claims involving theft of tools from vans.

According to the specialist insurer for the building services sector, the cost of such claims in the past year has risen by 55%. In addition, if the numbers are anything to go by, it looks like perpetrators are becoming more aggressive.

“With recent reports of increased keyless entry vehicle thefts, including vans, and the average theft of tools claim reaching £2,685, ECIC is warning contractors that keeping tools in a locked van is not enough to protect them from determined thieves,” stated the construction insurer.

“ECIC’s analysis has also revealed that while the number of claims for theft of tools from vans has remained largely static in H1 2019 versus H1 2018, the claims costs resulting from theft of tools have already surpassed 2018’s total figure. This suggests thieves are specifically targeting higher value tools and making away with a larger haul through brazen measures.”

Tactics, according to ECIC, include cutting open the side of a van or what is called ‘peel and steal’.

Meanwhile, Hollingworth suggested a host of safeguarding measures such as storing tools elsewhere overnight or between jobs, parking in a way so that sliding or rear doors are against a wall, and using smart technology to put identification marks on tools.     

“When it comes to insurance, contractors’ tools are often covered as standard within a contractor’s all risks insurance policy,” added the claims expert. “However, some policies may require cover extensions for tools hired, and for tools belonging to employees rather than the insured company.

“Goods in transit cover will provide protection only when the tools are in transit, sometimes with a limited sum insured. With such a huge increase in theft of tools over the past six months we would urge contractors to review their insurance policies to check tools are covered, and to add extensions where necessary.”