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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.
With all of the technology available for improving security and the customer service experience, loss prevention remains staggeringly high. Retailers can improve the customer experience through technology while also understanding how to mitigate the security risks technology can create.
Below are some key technology trends retailers are implementing, but they still need to have checks and balances.
Facial recognition systems can benefit retailers by identifying when key clients are in the store, recognizing when a suspect has trespassed and identify recurring shoplifters.
Retailers must remember they still require a trained professional to review and analyze the facial recognition system at all times. They also need to have a support team to act on potential threats. Even when facial recognition technology is programmed correctly, there is still the possibility of errors to occurring for various reasons such as disguises, image clarity, power outages, etc.
Prepaid cards make a great gift or reward, but it has also created a criminal industry that is on the rise. Some retailers are no longer accepting prepaid cards as a form of payment.
Retailers and financial institutions are looking into checks and balances to support the customer, hoping to continue the use of prepaid cards.
Self-payment systems are beneficial for grocery and big box stores, but retailers still need to have physical security presence, aside from technology, to help monitor purchases to avoid shoplifting or accidental theft.
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.
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.
With the holiday season is fast approaching, retailers need to ensure loss prevention practices become part of their everyday routine.
Security is not an illusion – meaning your customers need to know that you are a security-minded store. All personnel must be included in your security program. Having security presence is also a great way to deter and prevent theft. Customers do not enter a store with the intent to steal – 80% of robberies happen when a customer sees an opportunity.
Below are some additional tips:
- The best theft deterrent is great customer service
- Thieves do not like attention and need to be left alone to have the opportunity to steal
- Identify key areas of concern and turn them into hot zones for customer engagement
- Ensure all employees know which areas are the highest priority
- Identify the areas on a store map if available
- Ask employees to walk through the hot zones frequently
- Treat everyone who walks through your doors as a potential customer
- Thieves will not always exhibit the same behaviour – train all staff to approach each person and offer great customer service
- Make it apparent to thieves that you take security seriously and ensure the measures you have in place are well displayed
To learn more about how ASAP Secured can help with loss prevention please visit: www.asapsecured.com
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.
Implementing security measures at public events is always a challenge. The amount of delay and inconvenience caused by security needs to be weighed against the visitors’ experience and the overall goal of the event. At sporting events, games are ongoing throughout the year and security has the advantage of experimenting with different measures and improving upon methods where needed. For a ‘one off’ event, it is more difficult as there is only one chance to get it right.
On Canada Day in Ottawa, many people wanted to get to Parliament Hill to see the festivities. The security inside the Parliamentary precinct was the responsibility of the RCMP and the Parliamentary Protective Service, which also managed the lines and screening stations. Some people waited three to four hours in line waiting to get on Parliament Hill. Some people breezed through security, but others were left angry and frustrated. Many took to social media or contacted newspapers with their complaints such as “Ottawa should be embarrassed,” “Shame on Ottawa,” and “Ottawa failed its tourists”.
Darlene Macartney of Toronto complained of disorganization and poor services for those waiting in line. “You wanted us to come to Ottawa. We came. We spent over the top exorbitant prices for hotel rooms,” she wrote. “We got up early in the rain to line up for what we thought might be two hours to get onto Parliament Hill. No. We waited 5 and a half hours with no exaggeration,” Macartney wrote.
The capacity for screening was not adequate to deal with the number of visitors and the times at which they arrived. Ottawa had aimed to screen 8,000 people per hour with two screening stations, but that was based on the expectation people would arrive dressed for summer weather. In fact, they came in rain gear, many with backpacks, food, and drinks since there was no food available in the area.
Logistic principals could have been improved upon by eliminating bottlenecks in line. Perhaps, the two screening stations should have been more flexible and either increased capacity or added a third screening station to deal with the peak in demand.
I think the screening protocols were well thought out, and instructions were clear, so changing these to speed the process up would not have been a good idea. This would have created an increased risk, which would not have been acceptable.
On a positive note, Canada Day’s celebrations were enjoyed without any major incidents, and the security was sufficient.
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:
As with most business professionals, I receive several invites for seminars weekly. Unfortunately, I can only make time to attend one workshop per month and need to decide which one. When selecting, I gravitate towards relevance, and if will it help me become a better leader and increase my knowledge base.
Seminars are a great platform to interact with customers, prospects and a wider audience. It gives you an opportunity to step away from your day-to-day challenges and allows for some reflection time. I have attended some excellent informative events where topics such as Duty of Care, Active Shooter Response and Investigations were part of the program.
Panels are a good way to create more interaction with the audience. A question and answer period after each presentation is a must, as without this opportunity people are left with unanswered inquiries. In each seminar, the quality of the message is the most important, not the number of slides. Presenters must be able to convey the message in an enthusiastic way to engage the audience. When they are true experts with a passion for their topic, the audience will be drawn in.
People remember people and will chat during the breaks about what they just learned. Although sometimes seen as less important, the location and set-up are key for a successful event to create the perfect ‘learning environment’.
Overall, attending well-run seminars is a great way to spend your time to keep learning and developing.