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Personal Lines Insurance
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Complex security issues

While there have been reports of criminal syndicates renting units in complexes to rob other residents, ongoing building activities in complexes pose a different set of security risks.

“It is not uncommon for phase one of a complex to be completed and occupied before building starts on phase two,” observes Gari Dombo, Managing Director, Alexander Forbes Insurance. Under these conditions the property owners and tenants association would be wise to ensure that developers add conditions to their contracts with the builders.
Ideally, suggests Dombo, “These conditions should be linked to fines or penalties for non compliance by the builder. Penalties could go so far as to allow for the removal of the contractor from the job under pre-agreed circumstances.”
Conditions subject to penalty, suggests Dombo, could include:
• Fencing the building site off from the completed/occupied portion of the complex;
• Having one manned entry/exit point to the building site;
• Strictly enforced and widely advertised times when workers are allowed access to the premises;
• All workers having security cards recording when they go on and off shift. Such monitoring should record who would be allowed to remain on the premises after closing time;
• Guards or watchmen should patrol the building site at night and watch for unauthorised entry or exit of the site.

All this presupposes, says Dombo, “That the owners and tenants of the complex let their insurance company know that building activities are taking place.” Without this disclosure the insurer will not be in a position to advise precautions or alter the terms and premium of the cover to provide for the additional risks posed by building activity.
Dombo adds that, “Once all building activities are completed residents of complexes should not then become complacent about security.” Statistics show that residential complexes are not much safer than traditional suburbs, with up market complexes suffering similarly higher incidences of crime as up market suburbs.
As such one is unlikely to attract lower premiums for living in a complex unless its security is better than usual. Instead says Dombo, “Residents of complexes, like their suburban counterparts, should still install an alarm (preferably one with a mobile panic button) in addition to burglar bars and security gates.”

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:21.9 1st October, 2008
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