Blog

Author Archive

Christopher McClelland, North American Security Specialist

CMcClellandA great career track record in sales and service has prepared Christopher for his role as ASAP Customer Relationship Manager. Prior to joining ASAP Chris held a similar role with ISB Canada, working closely with many of North America’s leading corporations as a single-source provider of documents and information. Before ISB, he taught adults with special needs, helped provide visible and active community opportunities for them and assisted in the creation of programs designed to help these individuals develop important everyday life skills. Prior to that, Christopher managed the express services division in the automotive industry. As a dealership manager, he was responsible for sales and marketing activities as well as daily business management and administration. Christopher holds a BA in English and History from Lakehead University.

Things to Consider When Securing a Multi-Tenant Site After a Large Loss

Fire scenes often involve all types of public entities: emergency medical, law enforcement, and fire services. Public utilities such as gas and electric companies may also be involved. Passersby, owners, tenants, customers, delivery agents all may have relevant information on what happened. The press and curious individuals attracted to large fire scenes can complicate investigations, making security a necessity. All of these entities can cause a large loss to spiral out of control very quickly.

Increased complications occur when the loss is at a multi-tenant site due to:

  • Multiple tenants involved
  • Several insurers involved
  • Multiple points of access
  • The mitigation takes longer
  • Property managers could be involved
  • Numerous experts onsite as well as various agencies
  • Higher exposure to liabilities
  • Tenant safety issues
  • Problems with asbestos
  • Fire watches may be required
  • Escorting and tracking systems may be necessary

When more people have access to the site, protecting the valuables that survived a fire becomes more of a concern. Theft of even the smallest item can impede evidence continuity in a case. If an insured wants to return to a scene to recover belongings, their every move must be authorized and recorded, to protect evidence for court. A well-secured scene ensures all items remain onsite and undisturbed until the insurance investigation is complete. A security presence also deters intruders who could be injured and become a liability risk.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Fire Scene Security: The Importance of Preserving the Continuity of Evidence

Public safety is but one reason to have good, attentive security personnel guard a fire scene once authorities wrap up. Evidence that could be critical to a claim adjuster’s case is also at stake. Since the fire-fighter’s suppression of the blaze itself has already contributed to the demise of evidence, it is even more imperative to protect what is left. The issue of diligently protecting evidence in the interest of insurers is a relatively recent concern. Several court cases in Canada and the United States have penalized insurance companies for a lack of due diligence in protecting evidence, which ended in bad-faith judgements against insurers. In Canada, industry specialists point to an award against Pilot Insurance for $1 million in punitive damages for bad faith in refusing to pay out on a Haliburton family’s home, in part due to the company’s failure to produce credible evidence to support its suspicion of arson. In the United States, a number of similar rulings, along with a heightened concern over fire scene management in general, led to the release of the 79-page Fire and Arson Scene Evidence: A Guide for Public Safety Personnel. In the guide’s preface, Janet Reno, U.S attorney general at the time of its publication, writes: “Actions taken at the outset of an investigation at a fire and arson scene can play a pivotal role in the resolution of a case.” She continues, “Careful, thorough investigation is key to ensuring that potential physical evidence is not tainted or destroyed or potential witnesses overlooked.”

In a section called “Identify, Collect and Preserve Evidence,” the guide encourages fire officials to notify insurers as early as possible when a fire appears to be accidental and to “establish and maintain strict control of access to the scene” to ensure evidence integrity.

The timely arrival of reliable, private security personnel on a scene, to assist an adjuster once authorities are done, is pivotal to successful claims management.

To learn more about ASAP Secured please visit: www.asapsecured.com.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Three Benefits to Having a Mobile Command Centre On-Site

A Safe and Private Meeting Room

A mobile command centre enables insurers to mitigate a loss on location effectively. It allows for spontaneous and confidential meetings between adjusters, engineers, and homeowners directly on-site. This can be particularly valuable in the event of a large-scale loss where immediate and confidential dialogue is critical.

Portable and Personal Office Space

Why go back and forth from your office to the site when you can have a fully operational office right on-site? A mobile command centre is equipped with a desk and chair, a large whiteboard, an Internet-ready computer, printer, and scanner, as well as air conditioning and heating units.

An Extra Layer of Protection

With security signage and decals on the outside of the command centre, it serves as a significant visual deterrent to potential criminals.

ASAP Secured has a 15-foot mobile command centre that can be rapidly deployed to select large loss sites across Ontario, allowing adjusters and other insurance industry professionals the ability to offer immediate assistance to their customers during a crisis or disaster.

To learn more about ASAP Secured and the mobile command centre, please visit: www.asapsecured.com.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Three Benefits to Securing a Large Loss Site

Fires, by their destructive nature, consume the evidence of their initiation and progress as they grow. Often investigations are compromised, and scenes are further destroyed unintentionally by fire services, emergency medical and law enforcement whose primary responsibility is to save lives and protect people and property against further damage. The press and curious individuals attracted to large fire scenes can also complicate investigations and damage evidence, making security a necessity.

Below are three benefits to securing a large loss site:

  • Having security on a large loss site gives the adjuster time to review the policy, check their limits, find the named insured, and see if there are any exclusions in the policy. It also allows for the adjuster to get the right experts on the scene and seek legal advice if necessary. Time spent at the beginning of a claim can drastically speed up the process, making both the client and insurance company extremely satisfied.
  • Security also allows adjusters the ability to determine the liability and to prevent any further liability from occurring, while at the same time addressing any safety issues that may be present.
  • Lastly, security allows the adjuster to identify and address subrogation potential and to keep the continuity of any evidence. Insurers must demonstrate to the courts that proper procedures were established to preserve the continuity of evidence. If the site is not protected, unauthorized people entering the scene could remove or damage evidence that may be key to the insurance company’s case to determine liability or to seek subrogation.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

What Makes a Company ‘Good’?

employee-engagement

This topic may interest you because you are either:

  • Looking to justify your dislike of your current employer with thoughts of:
    • My company is not like this, that must be why I hate going to work
    • This must be why I feel so depressed working here
  • Looking to justify your affection for your current employer with thoughts of:
    • My company is like this, no wonder I enjoy going to work in the morning
    • This must be why I like working here
  • A family member of mine or enjoy reading my blogs

No matter why you are reading this, I appreciate it and thank you!

While talking with others, I constantly hear complaints about the companies they work for. They range from the employer only caring about stats or numbers to managers micromanaging staff. What I do not hear very often are people praising their employer. Why is that?

Many people read about companies like Google who have a fantastic working culture and really look after their staff and then compare it to their employment situation. Maybe it is unfair because Google is such a large and prosperous company, but would it be that difficult for businesses to duplicate some of those philosophies in a smaller capacity?

So what makes a company good? The answer will be different for each person reading this but there are certain things that most admired companies have in common, and the majority of it revolves around their employees.

  • They treat employees like grown-ups
    • They share information with employees, listen to their ideas (or better yet, actively seek out and act upon their ideas) and assume they are responsible enough to manage their own time
  • They treat people fairly
    • They pay people decently and give them excellent benefits including healthcare, paid parental leave
  • They help employees with their careers and understand that not all are built the same
    • They have strong training programs, reimburse tuition for education outside of work, have active, well thought out platforms for mentoring and provide pathways for non-traditional career paths
  • They understand that people have lives outside of work and that these lives might sometimes impinge on (or even take over) their time and attention
    • They realize that allowing for some work-life give and take means not only that they will not waste time and money on unnecessary turnover, but also that they will build loyalty and commitment
  • They see fun, humour, and relaxation as allies not enemies of hard work

A good company is one that works hard to make sure that their employees are a priority. The best way I can sum this up is with the quote below:

chris-blog

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Nice Guys Finish Last

chris

Nice guys finish last is a saying you have probably heard many times throughout your life, but is it true? I’d love to know who comes out with these types of sayings.

Recently I was lucky enough to meet former NHL player and 2016 NHL All-Star MVP John Scott in Toronto. He was open, honest and didn’t try to tell me what I wanted to hear or talk himself up. We talked for about 20 minutes about each other’s families and our lives, inside and out of our professions. Even though John was able to move his way up the hockey ranks, he had to deal with many hurdles and fight to overcome them. He told me that he was able to do this by being true to himself, being a nice guy and doing the best he could.

This is similar to the way I like to live. I am an easygoing guy but know when to be firm and to stick to my beliefs. I never want to burn any bridges and have been able to grow strong relationships with co-workers as well as my clients. Recently, I met up with an old colleague for lunch to catch up and see how he was doing. He had found a great new job and wanted to partner with my company for some upcoming jobs. He said that he was comfortable partnering with me because I was a nice guy and we had always worked great together. This was not the first time something like this has happened. I believe that it’s because of the relationships I have made by being an honest and kind person.

Hopefully this is true for other people who are similar to John and myself and proof that nice guys don’t have to finish last.

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

Leave a Comment (0) →

Self-Driving Cars

Last week my son and I sat down to watch the first Transformers movie. He thought it was so cool to see real cars driving themselves, which made me think of how that might become a reality shortly, minus them turning into robots. Currently, only California, Florida, Nevada, Washington D.C. and Michigan allow the testing of self-driving cars. There are many debates on the pros and cons of such vehicles, and both sides have valid points.

A huge benefit of having self-driving cars would be the reduction of vehicle accidents. This technology could also help millions of people who, for various reasons, are unable to drive. In the United States alone there are roughly 5.5 million car crashes per year, which equals out to about one death every 15 minutes or 88 deaths per day. Out of those accidents, 81% were caused by human error. As many of these accidents are preventable, and an alarming number of them are a result of distracted driving, speeding, failing to follow road laws, or driving while tired, drunk, or under the influence of drugs. If these human errors could be removed from the equation, then we could see fewer accidents and vehicle-related deaths. It is estimated that if 10% of cars on the road were self-driving, then there would be 211,000 fewer crashes and 1,100 lives saved. If that number increased to 20%, then there would be 4,220,000 fewer crashes and 21,700 lives saved. Other benefits of self-driving cars include the reduction of time spent commuting, road congestion, and a substantial decrease in insurance premiums.

To get an idea of how self-driving cars could soon be a reality, Google already has high functioning prototypes driving around the Silicon Valley. These vehicles have successfully driven over 3,200,500 km with only 11 minor accidents. Seven involved another vehicle rear-ending the Google car, two were sideswipes, and one involved another vehicle travelling through a red light. This is very impressive after you factor in that the average motorist drives about 25,000 km a year.

There are some downfalls to self-driving cars, one of which is the most dangerous, the security of the vehicle’s software. The possibility of a car being hacked and taken control of is a very serious and concerning issue, especially when there is so much cyber insecurity. This also spirals into the safety of the user’s privacy, as self-driving cars would rely on collecting and sharing location whereabouts and other data. Another problematic issue involves different weather conditions. Heavy rain can interfere with the car’s roof-mounted laser sensor, and snow-covered roads can affect the vehicle’s cameras. Other concerns include the loss of jobs, such as taxi and freight transport drivers.

 

No one knows if there will be more pros than cons if self-driving cars become a reality but for now, we will all just have to wait and see where the road to self-driving cars leads us.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Do You Have a Case of the (Holiday) Mondays?

monday-blues

You have unwrapped all the presents, cleaned up all the empty champagne bottles and put away the extra bed sheets from the holiday visitors. Now it is time to get back to the grind and pay off those bills. Whether you took a few days or a couple of weeks off during the holidays, it can be hard coming back to work. So how does one get out of the post-holiday slump and back into the swing of things?

Below are some suggestions:

  • Acceptance

Knowing and accepting that it might be hard to get back into daily routines. Prepare yourself for it and have some remedies in mind to get you back on track.

  • Getting out

If you are like me, holiday meals were pretty heavy, and I did not get much exercise. A good way of getting back into the groove is to get your body active and blood pumping. The extra blood flow will increase brain function and help you respond to any situation that might pop up.

  • Change your schedule

Try taking a vacation day here and there to either give yourself a shorter work week (and longer weekends) or a mid-week break.

  • Have fun

This one is easy to say but can be difficult to follow through with. If it is possible, attend a work event that you find fun or interesting. Alternatively, book a vacation, even if it is just for a weekend to get away to do something you enjoy.

I hope these tips help you get back into your pre-holiday routines.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Bags Will be Filled

179-015‘Tis the season for families and friends to get together. For some, this means travelling to loved ones or taking a vacation. It is also the time when bags get packed with gifts and goodies, but not by Santa Claus. I am talking about criminals who are waiting to find empty houses and take advantage of the holiday season. Here are some ways to protect your home and yourself over the holidays.

  1. Secure Your Valuables

If you are leaving a car parked on the street or driveway while you are away, make sure you remove all valuables from plain sight. This includes any clothing, electronics, bags, etc. Even if you leave your car in the garage, you should also remove all valuables to make sure they remain safe if someone breaks into your garage. It is also wise to place any important documents and jewelry in a safe inside of your home, a safe deposit box or a hidden secure location.

  1. Don’t Post Your Travel Plans Online

Although you might be excited about your vacation plans and want to share them with friends, it could end up being an invitation for thieves. This is especially true if you do not have strict privacy settings on your social media accounts. You are sharing this information with people you do not know. That is why it is important to be aware whenever you are posting your travel plans and location online.

  1. Have a Family Member, Friend or Neighbour Check In

Tell someone you trust — such as a family member, neighbour or friend — that you will be gone so that they can be on alert for any suspicious activity. Give them a spare key so they can go to the house daily to make sure everything is OK and bring any mail or packages inside. Mail piling up is a dead giveaway that no one is home.

  1. Hold Mail and Deliveries

If you cannot have someone you trust stop by your home to check the mail every day, call the postal service and request a hold on your mail until you are back home. You should also consider holding any deliveries or regular subscription services you receive at home, like newspapers and magazines.

  1. Make It Look like Someone is Always Home

Keep all blinds and curtains closed when you are not home. Have your lights set on a timer or solar switch while you are away, to make it appear as if someone is always there. This could help to ward off any would-be invaders.

  1. Lock All Doors and Windows

This one is a given, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure all your doors and windows have working locks and remember to remove all spare keys to your house or any keys sitting in locks throughout your home. This is important because someone could get into your house, steal these keys without you knowing, and then use the keys to gain access to your home again in the future. Also, it is important to remember to not run any extension cords through windows for your outdoor holiday lights. This prevents the window from closing properly, and burglars will see this as an easy entry point.

  1. Install a Home Security System

Whether you are home or away, a home security system can give you the peace of mind in knowing your home and valuables are secure.

 

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

Leave a Comment (0) →

How Important is Customer Service?

img_5533On my way to a work conference in New Brunswick, I had to take a flight from London with a layover in Toronto. This was not going to be an issue since I had some work I needed to finish on the flights and layover locations. Unfortunately, my good intentions were interrupted by unforeseen events. During our takeoff from London, I noticed a strange pulsing noise coming from one of the propeller engines but did not think much of it, as each plane seems to have a different sound during takeoff. Soon after we got up to cruising altitude, I heard some sputtering from the left propeller engine. A few minutes later, I looked out the window and saw it had stopped spinning. The plane made a 180-degree turn and headed back to London for an emergency landing. Upon our decent, I could see the airport runways were empty except for a bunch of trucks with flashing lights lined up along the sides. The pilots did a great job on the landing, considering they had to come in fast with one working engine. I only wished that the airline’s customer service had done as good of a job as their pilots did.

The plane malfunction was not necessarily the airline’s fault, as the issue may not have been detectable during their maintenance checks and thus would have no control over preventing it, but everything afterward was within their power. After exiting the plane, I was very relieved that everything went well but concerned about how I would get to New Brunswick since I was going to miss my original connecting flight. Once I got back into the airport, we were greeted by an airline agent who told us that we could either wait in a big line to get rebooked or could call a special number they had. I opted to call the number, as I needed to get to my conference as quickly as possible.

After waiting a while on hold, I was finally able to speak with someone live. What I thought would be a quick, and easy process ended up being a horrible experience. The person on the line made it seem like it was my fault that I had to rebook my flight and that it was a huge inconvenience for them. Finally, after 45 minutes of being on the phone with them, they told me that they would rebook me for a flight later that evening, but from Toronto, and just before they confirmed the booking, I got disconnected. I called back right away and had to wait on hold again before speaking to someone new. They then told me that I had already been rebooked but for the next day with multiple layovers. So again after another 45 minutes of explaining my situation and how I needed to get to New Brunswick as soon as possible for a work conference (while driving from London to Toronto in rush hour traffic), I finally got my flight changed back to the original rebooked one in Toronto.

I have never received such poor customer service in my life. I have always prided myself on giving the best customer service possible and am very proud to work for a company who believes in the same principals. It has been almost a month since the flight, and I have not heard back from the airline, even though I have called and sent multiple emails. This experience has solidified my belief in how important great customer service needs to be and even just a small gesture could have gone such a long way.

I hope that the next time you have something go wrong on your end; you can think back to all the situations you have been involved in and how you would have wanted the outcome to unfold before taking action.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 2 12