Clients “lax” in protecting home belongings

Brokers corroborate survey findings that Canadians are getting careless about their belongings. What you can do to help protect your clients…

Clients “lax” in protecting home belongings
Many Canadian homeowners are not taking common-sense steps to protect themselves from home break-ins and thefts, brokers say.
 
A recent Leger poll, commissioned by PC Insurance, corroborated their anecdotal observations. 
More than one in 10 Canadians still leave their homes on vacation while leaving their doors unlocked, the poll found. In addition, “with the widespread adoption of social media, more than four in 10 (41%) respondents admitted to openly sharing their vacation details on social media sites, making their plans to be away from home available to anyone and everyone,” PC Insurance said.
 
Some brokers agreed that clients are becoming “lax” about security. 
 
Brokers told Insurance Business that clients were exposing themselves to unnecessary risk by not following basic, common-sense steps for protecting their homes. 
 
“We have seen claims come through where the home just looked empty,” said one broker. “There were no lights on, the newspapers built up – those are things that people watch for. 
 
“You put your lights on timers, have someone get rid of your mail, stop your newspaper. It’s common-sense stuff, but it never hurts to remind people.”
 
Other brokers strongly advocated that homeowners aren’t setting up alarm and video surveillance systems at their homes, although they added that homeowners have no obligation to do so. 
 
The number of insurance claims related to home theft or break-ins hasn’t warranted any moves to make such systems mandatory anytime soon, one said.  
 
“I think people are getting lax, but it hasn’t been a major, major issue in our neck of the woods,” said Bruce MacKay of Mackay Insurance Brokers Inc. 
 
Several other brokers in rural Ontario agreed that they haven’t seen any unusual spikes in home break-ins or thefts recently. But urban theft statistics tell a different story. 

Statistics Canada has reported that theft has steadily increased over the past decade. Citing 2009 data, the most recent data available, the agency said the rate of victimization by theft of personal property was 108 incidents per 1,000 people in 2009. This was “significantly higher than in 1999.” 

As for home break-ins, the rate of victimization was higher in 2009 than in 2004, but was at about the same level as in 1999, StatsCan reported.
 
High-profile crimes in MacKay’s area of Belleville – including one in which a local base commander in the Canadian Forces was convicted on 82 counts of breaking and entering, sexual assault, and two counts of murder – has changed the practice of people leaving their doors open a night, Mackay said.
 
“We’ve had some high-profile criminal cases in our area over the last couple of years and it’s opened people’s eyes to locking their doors,” he said.

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