Arson a ‘growing menace’ to small firms

Insurance claims for arson up 12%

Small businesses are increasingly at risk of attacks by arsonists and vandals who threaten to destroy their livelihoods, it has been claimed.

A new survey, conducted by Axa, suggests the number of arson claims from small to medium businesses has increased by 12% this quarter, compared to the first quarter of 2006.

Arson is one of the most costly crimes for businesses, with the average claim settlement coming in at around £40,000, the survey’s authors say.

This contrasts to the average insurance settlement for all other crimes, which, at £4,000, is significantly lower.

Neil Mercier, property insurance manager at AXA, said: “Arson is the most financially crippling crime small businesses can face; between April and June 2006 it accounted for 40% of crime related insurance payouts to businesses despite accounting for just 4% of crime related claims.”

A regional breakdown of the threat that firms face shows that Derby produced the most crime related claims in this quarter, with 27% of claims settled being a result of criminal activity.

Meanwhile, Newcastle was shown to have the least proportion of crime related business insurance claims, with 14% of claims made as a result of crime.

The research also highlights an increase of 11% in the number of malicious damage claims, for incidents of vandalism.

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2006

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