Northbridge Insurance https://www.nbins.com Insurance solutions for Canadian businesses Wed, 19 Sep 2018 14:15:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 How effective is your construction surveillance system? https://www.nbins.com/blog/contracting-construction/effective-construction-surveillance/ Wed, 19 Sep 2018 14:15:17 +0000 https://www.nbins.com/?p=109981 A building site without construction surveillance is like a house without locks on the doors: not everyone will test the doorknob, but those looking to swipe some valuables will welcome… read more →

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A building site without construction surveillance is like a house without locks on the doors: not everyone will test the doorknob, but those looking to swipe some valuables will welcome the lack of resistance.

Sophisticated risk mitigation tools aren’t just nice to have, they’re crucial for construction and contracting companies. Significant assets, complex projects, and vulnerable work sites make construction surveillance particularly important — and given how equipment theft is a growing problem, it might be time to upgrade your system.

Surveillance checklist screenshot

The value in construction sites

According to BuildForce Canada, the construction industry accounts for 7 per cent of gross domestic product. One out of 13 workers employed in Canada earns a living in the construction industry, and the construction sector’s total employment has increased by approximately 673,000 workers since 1996. As the construction industry grows, so do construction sites, and that means there’s more valuable raw material and expensive machinery to be coveted (or lost in a destructive event).

It’s especially important to have tools in place to prevent theft on construction sites. Here, we look at why construction surveillance is central to risk mitigation and what to look for (and avoid) in your video surveillance package.

The construction industry accounts for 7 per cent of gross domestic product.

Which construction surveillance features are important?

Commercial construction sites face a number of risks every day, but theft, fire, and water damage top the list. A good surveillance program can work to mitigate these risks by including:

  • Full perimeter protection
  • Fencing
  • Property signage

These surveillance features are important for a couple of reasons. First, they can act as deterrents to crime, making criminals think twice before committing theft or arson. Second, a system like this could help you detect a problem earlier: during off-hours, emergency crews could be notified of flooding or fire from hot works much faster, which could reduce the scope of the damage, claims costs, and the impact of business interruption.

What to look for in a surveillance system

According to Brian Mather, director of construction, contracting, manufacturing, resources and agriculture at Northbridge Insurance, an underwriter would advise that you have full perimeter protection as part of your video surveillance package. There should also be proper and prominent signage – this alone could deter a would-be criminal.

Focus on video

Camera quality can make a difference; there’s no doubt that good video will help more than fuzzy images. All-weather cameras with pan-tilt-zoom, day and night vision, power backup, and two-way voice capability are better choices. But even these features may not be enough.

Insurance companies may require live monitoring via a remote monitoring station that can provide full-site video tours every 15 minutes. Construction surveillance with live monitoring typically allows for early detection (which can help limit or prevent loss), whereas video recording with no live monitoring can only help identify the perpetrator of a crime – it can’t mitigate risk.

Have a backup plan

Video surveillance is an effective security measure… as long as it works. What if a storm took out the power in your neighbourhood? To avoid a blackout, you should consider using a backup monitoring centre to record and hold your footage in the event of a power surge or if another disruption impacts the main monitoring station.

Video surveillance with live monitoring is a better choice – video recording with no live monitoring can only help identify the perpetrator of a crime, not mitigate risk.

Choose your vendors carefully

Lastly, you should ensure that the surveillance company you choose can minimize service interruption by quickly repairing or replacing damaged equipment. After all, the longer you go without a working construction surveillance system, the longer your business is at risk.

Your surveillance company should also be well-connected with local first responders to mobilize an effective emergency response. Good surveillance systems often incorporate recognition analytics or software that can notify a surveillance attendant of abnormal activity.

Click here to download a printable PDF of our tip sheet on what to look for in a good surveillance system.

Other benefits of surveillance

Mitigating risks like theft and fire is only the beginning – there are a number of other advantages to a sound construction surveillance system, too.

For one, your system can help improve your workforce. The foreman can view all camera feeds through a web-based portal or an app, which will make it easier for them to monitor the work site wherever they may be. The result? They’re better able to detect internal theft, which may inspire workers to be more diligent, knowing they’re under a watchful eye.

The combination of less internal theft and more conscientious work could boost project efficiency, and the money initially spent on video surveillance may just pay for itself in time saved.

Surveillance and insurance policies – what’s the connection?

The right construction surveillance system can help reduce your out-of-pocket expense if something were to happen on your worksite. But in order for coverage to apply to a loss, clients generally have to agree to certain warranties or conditions as laid out by their insurance company, like having perimeter fencing and portable fire extinguishers on hand. Your provider may also require that you employ watchmen or use video surveillance outside of work hours – it’s a good idea to take the time now to understand what’s expected of your company, so you’re not unpleasantly surprised down the road.

At Northbridge, our Risk Services experts can travel to your worksite to advise you on your onsite risk management measures, and they can help ensure your worksite complies with insurance conditions. Visit our Risk Services page to learn more about how we can help your business stay one step ahead of common industry risks.

 

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Building site safety tips: protecting your visitors https://www.nbins.com/blog/risk-management/building-site-safety-protecting-visitors/ Thu, 13 Sep 2018 06:00:47 +0000 http://www.nbins.com/?p=34488 Construction workers face deadly risk every day – that’s no secret. The discussion on safety tips and procedures for construction workers is ongoing, because the danger is always there. But… read more →

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Construction workers face deadly risk every day – that’s no secret. The discussion on safety tips and procedures for construction workers is ongoing, because the danger is always there.

But if workers equipped with industry knowledge and expert devices still face risk, what does that mean for visitors who may not realize what your worksite has in store?

Builders are responsible for protecting any type of visitor, from material suppliers and engineers to home purchasers and their families, while they’re onsite. And building site visitors can be more vulnerable than you might imagine: broken ground, sharp metal, and loose planks are just a few of the obstacles you’d find on an average worksite. In many cases, unprotected openings and work from above make a residential construction zone even more hazardous.

Contractors who put extra effort into building site safety can stay one step ahead of common challenges that come with people entering and occupying the worksite. Here are some concerns to consider, and a few ways you can improve your site safety strategy right away.

Do you know your obligation?

Everyone working on a building site needs to put safety first, but as the leader of the build, you’re responsible for the safety and security of anyone who steps onto your building site – even those who might not be prepared for the risks and hazards that lie ahead.

Builders are responsible for protecting any sort of visitor, from material suppliers and engineers to the home purchaser and their family, while they’re onsite.

While it’s a big responsibility, there are some straightforward changes and modifications that can help to improve your building site safety. Not sure where to start? First, consider how your efforts will fall into two main categories: control and communication.

Control your site, reduce your risk

It can be difficult to control your building site safety, because, well, not everything is under your control. However, there are a few ways you can manage the factors at play. While surveillance measures can help protect your worksite assets, the right equipment, procedures, and protocol can help protect your people.

Consider implementing these guidelines in your building site safety strategy:

  • Create procedures or guidelines for who can access your job site, as well as when and how they can do so.
  • Make it a rule that no children are to be allowed on the job site.
  • Only allow visits by appointment.
  • Require visitors to wear any safety equipment you deem necessary for the nature of the job site, such as hard hats and protective vests.
  • Control the job site through alarms, motion sensors, fencing, or other building enclosures.
  • Correct obvious safety hazards if possible, or implement extra protection in areas where visitors could be hurt.
  • Holes in the floor or ground should be covered or fenced – make sure they’re visible!
  • Exits on balconies, higher floors, or roofs should be marked and fenced or otherwise enclosed.

Better building site safety rests on communication

Taking control of your worksite hazards is crucial, but if you don’t communicate your safety measures and your expectations, your team may not be able to offer as much support (and your visitors may not know to comply). Make sure you inform your key staff, vendors, and other stakeholders of how visits and visitors are to be managed.

  • Let the purchaser, subcontractors, and suppliers know what visitors may enter the job site, along with when and how they can enter.
  • Understand the purchaser’s needs, desires, and vision for the building. Provide the purchaser with regular updates and progress reports – this can help limit impromptu visits.
  • Tell the purchaser what you expect of them, and how the building process will work, so they’re clear on what to expect when they’re on the building site.
  • Understand and agree on how many times the purchaser will have access to their new home while construction is underway.
  • Set up appointments with the purchaser to view their building. Schedules make it easier to control hazards and promote building site safety.
  • Inform visitors that this is an authorized-access site – they must check in with the contractor before entering.
  • Be sure the general public knows the rules surrounding the worksite’s restricted access.

Devote attention to the details

General safety measures are important on every worksite, but your specific site could call for specific standards. You may want to check with your legal team, your provincial regulations, and your risk management specialists to make sure you have all your bases covered when it comes to the details.

Here are some additional measures to consider:

  • Develop a brochure outlining your job site policy. Pass this along to your customers. You could include information on supervised access to the job site, children on the job site, workplace safety and health act requirements, and your company’s safety policy.
  • Check your Workplace Safety and Health Act for age restrictions on job sites. Keep in mind that provinces have different guidelines for age restrictions and requirements for contractors, which could inform your company’s accessibility policy.
  • Include a clause in your Sale Agreement that will restrict your liability if a purchaser is injured on the job site. You may want to speak to your legal team about the wording you need to protect your business.
  • Agree to and sign a Site Visit Policy for you and the Purchaser. This gives you the opportunity to discuss visiting the building site during the sale process.

You need to ensure your building site is safe, but you also need to keep a good working relationship with the purchasers. Their safety and satisfaction are vital to your success, which is why you should take the time to communicate your safety measures – and your reasons for applying those measures – throughout the process.

This is also an opportunity to establish a contingency plan in case those safety measures fall short, and you find yourself facing a disruption or a dilemma. Not sure if your insurance could cover you if something goes wrong? Check out our construction and contracting 101 primer to see where your policy stands and if it could use some extra support.

 

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5 ways your business can benefit from loss prevention strategies https://www.nbins.com/blog/small-business/benefit-from-loss-prevention-strategies/ Wed, 05 Sep 2018 17:45:25 +0000 http://www.nbins.com/?p=8633 Profit, in the broadest sense, is sales minus costs. But there’s more to consider when it comes to calculating the gains or losses your business can enjoy (or lament). Smart… read more →

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Profit, in the broadest sense, is sales minus costs. But there’s more to consider when it comes to calculating the gains or losses your business can enjoy (or lament). Smart loss prevention strategies can tip the balance sheet in your favour – for relatively minimal investment.

Typically, loss prevention is seen as a cost to the business, because it involves expenditure – of time, energy, and sometimes money. However, loss prevention strategies that are carried out effectively and efficiently will not only protect your bottom line, but can help your businesses run more smoothly, too.

There’s a lot that can go into a business’ loss prevention program, and much will depend on your industry and size of operation. But there are some universal features to consider – here are five guidelines for loss prevention strategies that are likely to benefit your business:

1. Guide employees

Employees who are properly informed of all hazards and properly trained on how to deal with them tend to be more efficient workers. They respond quickly to potential hazards and perform their work conscientiously, which adds up to increased profits by avoiding losses and increasing productivity.

If you don’t already have an employee training plan in place, maybe it’s time to develop one. Take the time to consider what you need out of your staff and reciprocate with clear communication and respect. Employees, like any other group, tend to respond better when they’re treated well.

2. Provide opportunities

You’ll also want to provide your employees (and yourself) with opportunities to identify hazards through regular inspections, quality control programs, and procedures to handle deficiencies. The more often you devote time to careful assessment, the more likely you can avoid or reduce losses and maximize profits.

Not sure what you’re looking for? Consider calling on risk management experts for some help and advice. Starting off your maintenance and inspection routines on the right foot can save you the time and stress that come with learning the hard way.

Take the time to consider what you need out of your staff and reciprocate with clear communication and respect. Employees, like any other group, tend to respond better when they’re treated well.

3. Focus on learning

Provide opportunities to learn from near misses, accidents without losses, and accidents involving losses to improve or create new loss prevention strategies. Despite your best efforts, you can’t always control outcomes; what you do in those situations can help your business perform better in the future.

Having a solid, up-to-date business continuity plan in place should be a top priority. After all, you have precious little time to react when you experience a cyber event, mechanical breakdown, or other catastrophe, and a written plan can mean the difference between total loss and swift recovery.

4. Share emergency procedures

Employees who are properly trained on emergency response procedures are excellent allies during an emergency. Their quick response could avoid or mitigate losses, protect assets, and ultimately save your bottom line.

An emergency contact list is at the heart of your emergency response plan. This will include a variety of contact information, from vendor phone numbers to crucial insurance details. You can get started on one for your company with the help of our emergency contact list template.

You have precious little time to react when you experience a cyber event, mechanical breakdown, or other catastrophe, and a written plan can mean the difference between total loss and swift recovery.

5. Ensure compliance

Complying with all safety legislation ensures that your dues are minimized, and helps you avoid any penalties or punitive damages for accidents. But basic compliance is also a good jumping off point for a best practices guide that’s tailored to the individual risks your business might be facing.

Loss prevention is a team effort. When all levels of the company are involved in the creation, maintenance, and enforcement of your loss prevention strategies, there’s a better chance you won’t miss any crucial aspect or leave out a vital step. Success depends on care, consistency, and commitment: sticking to loss prevention strategies that speak to your business could be a faster way to greater profits.

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The effects of extreme weather and water-related losses in Canada https://www.nbins.com/blog/risk-management/the-effects-of-extreme-weather-and-water-related-losses-in-canada/ Fri, 24 Aug 2018 12:31:33 +0000 http://www.nbins.com/?p=745 Losses from natural catastrophes, including severe weather, are on the rise around the world. Heat waves are becoming more frequent, causing sea levels to rise, which is boosting the risk… read more →

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Losses from natural catastrophes, including severe weather, are on the rise around the world. Heat waves are becoming more frequent, causing sea levels to rise, which is boosting the risk of storm surge and intensifying the damage done. This may come as no surprise. What might surprise you is just how wide the floodgates have opened on Canadian business owners in recent years, and what role extreme weather insurance can play today.

Catastrophic weather means catastrophic loss

Natural catastrophes are increasing, and their financial impact is climbing. In 2017, catastrophic losses accounted for about $1.2 billion in Canada; there was no major ice storm, fire, or flood to drive up the sum of catastrophic (CAT) losses, but rather a string of smaller losses across the country. However, there’s one emerging pattern to note: floods and water damage are leading the pack in terms of frequent and costly claims.

As Kenn Lalonde, chair of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) board of directors asserts, “A good chunk of [the] $1 billion in insured CAT losses is a result of water damage and flooding.” This damage can’t always be traced to one big, wet storm, but rather it’s often due to sudden torrential rainfall in highly populated areas.

Surface runoff and the Canadian urban landscape

Events like the summer floods in Toronto are becoming more commonplace, and that’s largely due to surface runoff in our concrete jungles. Aging and inadequate infrastructure can’t always withstand the water volume that comes with a flash flood or snow melt.

Impervious surfaces encourage rapid water runoff, but at different scales. For instance, brickwork converts 9% of received water into runoff, while concrete rapidly converts between 69% and 93% of water into runoff (depending on the inclination of the surface). In a massive area of roads and sidewalks, a big downpour tends to collect on the surface instead of sinking into the ground – and from there it can run over thresholds, into basements, and even out of burst pipes.

Infographic: Hydrology in urbanized areas with 75-100% impervious surface: 30% evaporation; 55% runoff; 5% deep infiltration; 10% shallow infiltration Infographic - Hydrology with natural ground cover: 40% evaporation; 10% runoff; 25% deep infiltration; 25% shallow infiltration
Hydrology in urbanized areas
Source – US Environmental Protection Agency

What’s the cost for people, property, and businesses?

A good chunk of the $1 billion in insured CAT losses is a result of water damage and flooding.

Whether you’re at risk of tsunami from seismic activity on the west coast, you’re prey to Atlantic hurricanes on the east coast, or you’re caught in an urban centre with little natural drainage, water damage can come quickly – and bring a big price tag.

In 2017, spring flooding in Ontario and Quebec caused over $223 million in insured damage; late August flooding that year drove damages over $124 million in the Windsor region alone. Stewart Woo, SVP of corporate risk at Northbridge Insurance, contends that it’s important for insureds and their insurers to acknowledge the new reality:

“In 2017, estimates suggest CAT losses total $300 billion or more. It’s important to recognize that we’re susceptible to CAT events, and make sure that we’re working within appropriate risk guidelines and continuing to advise clients on risk mitigation.”

In fact, CatIQ Inc. reports that insured losses in Canada topped $1 billion five times in the past seven years. The bad news: as population density continues to rise in Canada’s cities and weather gets more extreme, losses are likely to rise for everyone. The good news is that there’s coverage to help protect and recover if your business is unfortunate enough to suffer major water damage.

It’s important to recognize that we’re susceptible to CAT events…and continue to advise clients on risk mitigation.

 

Extreme weather insurance and your business

Even though extreme weather patterns are more robust than ever, and risk for insureds and insurers is spiking, the insurance industry has generally been slow to react. A report from the University of Waterloo indicates that insurers simply aren’t keeping up: most insurance companies aren’t accounting for the increasing frequency and severity of weather events. Not only does that mean insurers are hurting their own bottom line, but their lack of adaptation and innovation could come full circle to hurt their insureds, too.

Protecting your business assets and professional success calls for more than insurance coverage; risk management is at the heart of any effort to reduce damage and recover from catastrophic weather events. An appropriate insurance policy will account for your risk – of natural disaster as well as more common challenges – but also give you the tools and guidance to actively reduce your risk.

Decades of commercial insurance experience and a commitment to innovation has allowed Northbridge to compile a holistic insurance solution for each Canadian business owner that speaks to their industry, their priorities, and their unique risks. If you’re not sure how your business will weather the next storm, it might be time to speak with our brokers about shoring up your defenses.

Ready to get started?

Connect with us now

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Cargo theft in Canada, part 2: expert insights https://www.nbins.com/blog/transportation-trucking/cargo-theft-canada-part-two/ Thu, 09 Aug 2018 20:30:59 +0000 https://www.nbins.com/?p=139685 In our previous article, we outlined some of the most important trends in Canadian cargo theft to monitor today. Here, Garry Robertson, Manager of the Northbridge Claims Special Investigations Unit… read more →

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In our previous article, we outlined some of the most important trends in Canadian cargo theft to monitor today. Here, Garry Robertson, Manager of the Northbridge Claims Special Investigations Unit and resident cargo theft expert, digs into what this could mean for Canadian trucking companies, drivers, and citizens across the country.

  1. What forms of cargo theft are we seeing these days?

Thieves operate in a variety of ways. Organized groups can target specific types of merchandise or individuals could “yard shop”, trying to find products they can flip quickly at a big profit. In other cases, load brokers advertise that they’re looking for certain types of products, leading professional thieves to seek out those products and intercept the scheduled shipment.

  1. What are the concerns surrounding cargo theft?

Aside from the staggering amount of revenue that’s on the line, Canadians have plenty to be concerned about. For one, cargo theft supports a black-market economy: a major cargo heist can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, money that can be used to support the drug trade, the gun trade, and even terrorist fundraising. So, in the end, public safety could be intimately tied to what’s happening with transported goods.

  1. What sort of cargo is at the highest risk of theft?

Cargo that’s not moving is always more vulnerable – especially when it’s kept in an unsecured yard. There are certain times of year that require extra diligence, too. For instance, long weekends are prime time for cargo theft, because thieves have another full day to transport and unload their treasure; the crime can be carried out on the Friday and go unnoticed until work starts back up on the Tuesday.

Cargo theft supports a black-market economy: a major cargo heist can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, money that can be used to support the drug trade, the gun trade, and even terrorist fundraising.

A good way to keep cargo safer is to keep it moving and get it to its destination quickly, without stalling too much between point A and point B. Of course, certain types of cargo are more tantalizing than others, with food and beverage loads and mixed loads usually topping the list.

  1. Why is mixed load cargo so appealing to thieves?

There are some distinct advantages to swiping loads that combine a variety of generic goods. The first is that there are no distinguishing marks to look for, and no serial numbers or tracking characteristics mean these sorts of everyday goods are tough to trace. Consider a product like laundry detergent: the load can be split up quickly, sold almost anywhere, and will often blend in seamlessly with the rest of a store’s inventory.

You might imagine that these stolen goods are immediately whisked away to remote areas. That’s not always the case. In many instances, the products wind up in local flea markets and inconspicuous neighbourhood shops, where they can be sold immediately (and the thieves can swiftly reduce their risk of exposure).

  1. Where in Canada is the biggest uptick in cargo theft taking place?

It’s a bit more complicated than simply pinpointing the area with the highest theft numbers. A major problem has been the lack of reporting across the country, aside from in southern Ontario. In turn, it looks like Ontario is way above other regions in terms of cargo theft, but there’s more going on underneath the surface – and that demands some attention.

Right now, our focus is on Alberta: while Ontario and Quebec have historically been hot spots for reported cargo theft, more consistent reporting is coming out of the west. We’re seeing more lumber loads and heavy equipment going missing, and now Alberta is catching up to Quebec in terms of reported thefts.

  1. What is the most surprising (or worrying) cargo theft trend you’re seeing right now?

Simply put, cargo theft is escalating. It’s a problem that’s been around for a long time, but criminal circles are becoming more sophisticated in their organization and approach to trucking crime. For example, cargo isn’t the only target these days: some thieves are now stealing the trailer as well, melting it down, and selling the scrap metal. So, carriers and owner-operators are at risk of losing both their cargo and their mode of transport.

We’re seeing more lumber loads and heavy equipment going missing, and now Alberta is catching up to Quebec in terms of reported thefts.

  1. Why do you think meat theft is on the rise in Southern Ontario and Quebec?

It may seem like a strange target, but a load of meat or poultry can bring in a lot of money, especially during barbecue season! And this isn’t a product that attracts small-time thieves; in order to pull off this sort of heist and reap the rewards, cargo criminals rely on an advanced logistical framework that requires coordination and investment.

Criminals are enticed by the fact that meat can be unloaded quickly, but it also needs to be. Spoiled meat is worthless, so refrigerated trucks are needed to transport the stolen load, and networks of people must be ready to sell and deliver the product to customers immediately.  All of this takes time, money, and practice.

  1. What does the rise in cargo theft in and around Toronto tell you about the developments in how thieves are operating?

Mississauga, Brampton, and Toronto are some of the largest trucking hubs in North America, so they’re bound to attract some criminal activity. Infrastructure likely also plays a role in the rising number of reports within the region: with the 401, the 400, and the QEW highways winding through the area, there are multiple avenues to neighboring cities where loads can be dismantled and sold off.

Mixed load cargo theft in the Toronto core is also up, and we suspect it’s due to the concentration of Less-than-Truckload (or LTL) centres in the city. These holding centers, where cargo loads can sit for quite a while before they’re split up for local delivery, are tempting to thieves. And while most LTL centres are secured, there are some that are unsecured – obviously, these are the ones that are most vulnerable.

  1. What can carriers do to protect themselves from the theft that’s taking place through online broker systems?

In many cases, theft comes down to a weak link in the system. Load broker systems are typically independently owned, which means cyber security rests entirely on each company, so we need to appeal to the individual companies to devote time and attention to keep their sites safe and secure.

More than ever before, names of transportation companies are being used to steal cargo loads. Thieves visit online load broker sites and target specific loads that are scheduled to be picked up, then they create false documents and pick up the load early using the stolen identity. No wrongdoing is suspected until someone from the victimized company goes to retrieve the load, only to find out it has already been picked up.

Cyber security rests entirely on each company, so we need to appeal to the individual companies to devote time and attention to keep their sites safe and secure.

Identity theft is a big problem, but it’s not the only problem. Just like with personal computers, weak passwords are often to blame for cyber attacks. Load brokers need to get serious about keeping passwords private, restricting access among employees, and updating stale passwords to keep their defenses strong.

 

 

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2017/2018 Cargo theft in Canada: targeted goods and top locales https://www.nbins.com/blog/transportation-trucking/2017-2018-cargo-theft-in-canada/ Wed, 01 Aug 2018 17:46:17 +0000 https://www.nbins.com/?p=139541 Cargo theft in Canada is a continuing threat, but carriers who stay in the know can gain an advantage over highway bandits. Last year, we reported on some of the… read more →

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Cargo theft in Canada is a continuing threat, but carriers who stay in the know can gain an advantage over highway bandits. Last year, we reported on some of the most popular types of commodities, places, and times of year for cargo thieves. So, what’s changed this year?

Northbridge has compiled data from 2017 through the first half of 2018 on types of cargo loads that are being stolen, plus changing patterns that you need to be aware of. Read on for some useful insight into current cargo theft trends across Canada – and what our experts think that could mean for your transportation and logistics company.

Theft may be down – but is your risk?

In their recent report on cargo theft trends, CargoNet notes a 23% year over year drop in cargo theft events across North America. However, this statistic may not tell the whole story. After all, specific regions experience different patterns, and when it comes to Canadian cargo, there are some distinct features in the theft and recovery landscape.

The reality is that, even if cargo theft in Canada is down, not all carriers will necessarily enjoy a lower risk of being robbed. As usual, certain types of cargo tend to tempt thieves more than other types. Moreover, where you transport can play a huge role in your level of risk.

What types of cargo are most at risk?

Some things never change…and other things do. Mixed load cargo (an amalgamation of different types of products) always seems to be high on the list for thieves, according to Garry Robertson, resident expert and Manager of Northbridge’s claims Special Investigations Unit. However, other types of cargo seem to be garnering more attention these days, too.

Canadian cargo theft in Canada by type

Aside from mixed loads, grocery and food products are notoriously tempting for thieves, considering how difficult they are to track and how relatively easy they are to resell. But Garry points out that one type of food in particular is rising in popularity, especially in Southern Ontario: meat products. As for the Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec region, auto parts and metal are attracting more cargo thieves this year. And in the west, lumber loads have become targets.

Where is cargo being stolen?

Cargo thieves operate across the country, but cargo theft rates rely on reported cases. This means that the numbers aren’t always accurately reflective of regional patterns. However, with an increase in reporting in recent years, numbers are becoming more aligned with the reality of cargo theft in each province. The map below indicates the distribution of reported cargo theft in Canada.

Canadian cargo theft in Canada by province

So, while cargo is stolen across the nation, the highest concentration of reported cargo theft is in Ontario – with 54% of reported thefts – and certain regions within the province are especially vulnerable. The following charts outline where most reports occur:

Cargo theft in Canada by Ontario region

Canadian cargo theft in Canada by Ontario city

Peel region continues to lead the pack in terms of most thefts reported, but Garry warns that the uptick in activity in the city of Toronto may point to a new criminal focus. Given that Toronto is a Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) centre, and more mixed loads are disappearing from this area, there’s a good possibility that smaller loads of cargo are being stolen once they have been transferred from the large truck to delivery vehicles that will take them to local destinations.

How is cargo theft  in Canada changing?

While there are still gaps in local reporting, our data indicates that cargo theft in Canada continues to be a serious threat, and carriers across the country are vulnerable. A surge in stolen meat, lumber, and metal parts cargo in specific regions may shed light on larger, more sophisticated criminal outfits operating – and growing – in certain areas.

Although this info is enough to worry carriers of all sizes, fear not – our cargo theft experts can shed light on the matter and help you shore up your cargo safety strategy. Stay tuned to our blog for part two of our inaugural 2018 cargo theft discussion, when Garry Robertson will offer some key insights and useful advice that you can apply directly to your daily risk management.

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Truck collision? Use our driver’s collision report form https://www.nbins.com/blog/transportation-trucking/truck-collision-report-form/ Tue, 03 Jul 2018 15:25:00 +0000 https://www.nbins.com/?p=128701 You’re a safe driver, but you can’t control road conditions or how other vehicles behave out there. Each carrier is responsible for keeping their vehicles in good shape and their… read more →

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You’re a safe driver, but you can’t control road conditions or how other vehicles behave out there. Each carrier is responsible for keeping their vehicles in good shape and their drivers well-trained, but crashes can (and do) still happen. In fact, one in five road crashes in Ontario involve large commercial vehicles, and while the truck driver may walk away unharmed, the outcome for the drivers and passengers in the other vehicles is often tragic.

Many factors could lead to a truck collision or rollover, but a few specific measures will help drivers respond more effectively in the wake of the incident. Read on for a breakdown of common causes of transport truck collisions, along with tips on how best to handle the immediate aftermath of the event. And be sure to download our free driver’s collision report form – you can keep it in your vehicle to help stay on track and in control if a collision occurs.

What’s causing truck collisions on Canadian roads?

Not all truck collisions can be traced to one glaring error or a major malfunction. In many cases, a moment of miscommunication or an unexpected event that forces a reaction can result in an incident. However, there are a couple of very preventable causes that should not be ignored.

Poor vehicle condition

According to Canadian Occupational Safety, 344 collisions between July 2014 and June 2017 involved defective transport trucks.

Trucks are complex machines, and it’s no wonder that some parts wear out or break more quickly than others. Anything from a damaged axle or faulty brakes to unsecured loads and blown tires can result in a catastrophic highway event. Is it time to improve your pre-trip inspections?

Inattention

A recent CTV news article points out three fatal collisions in the summer of 2017 that can be traced directly to the inattention of the truck driver. In each case, the truck failed to slow down as it approached a construction zone where other traffic had slowed or stopped.

Experts acknowledge that not all truck drivers pose a safety risk (many are among the safest drivers out there!) but since their heavy vehicles carry a greater potential to harm, truck drivers also have a greater responsibility when behind the wheel. Fatigue and inattention have the potential to become weapons on the road.

344 collisions between July 2014 and June 2017 involved defective transport trucks.

After the event: quick response and a collision report

Collisions are traumatic, and the aftermath can be chaotic. Without a clear head and a calm demeanor, you may forget some key details that could complicate things in the days ahead. Get to know what info to record and what steps to take from the very start, keeping in mind some important points, like:

Don’t make things worse

First and foremost, remain at the scene of the incident. Next, take some steps to make the scene a bit safer for everyone, like setting out flares or reflectors, checking for fuel spills, and ensuring any injured parties are tended to. You don’t have to solve all the problems, just try to prevent more from occurring until help arrives.

Communicate wisely

While you probably don’t want to chat openly and continually with everyone at the scene, there are a few people to speak with right away. First, notify police, and if anyone is injured, call an ambulance. Once help is on the way, notify your employer and have them call your insurance company. Aside from the police and your insurance representative, avoid discussing details of the collision with anyone.

Fill out a collision report right away

It’s much easier to gather crucial info right after the incident occurs, so complete a collision report at the scene. You can also have anyone who witnessed the collision jot down their details for you to include in your collision report, and then you can take some photos of the scene (but not of any victims).

Dealing with a collision is never easy, but it can be more manageable when you have a good support team at the ready. If your company could use more risk management expertise and a tailored insurance policy, learn how we can help your operation.

 

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Slips, trips, and falls: help protect your business with this incident report https://www.nbins.com/blog/risk-management/slips-trips-falls-incident-report/ Thu, 14 Jun 2018 15:54:33 +0000 https://www.nbins.com/?p=124539 Summer’s around the bend, which means you can finally tuck the shovel and salt away. But just because ice and snow are (hopefully) no longer immediate dangers, don’t assume your… read more →

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Summer’s around the bend, which means you can finally tuck the shovel and salt away. But just because ice and snow are (hopefully) no longer immediate dangers, don’t assume your employees, customers, vendors, or other visitors won’t suffer a slip, trip, and fall on your property that lands your company in legal trouble and facing a time-consuming claims process  (though we can help you through that).

In fact, a 2015 report found that preventable accidents are a leading cause of injury in Canada, and in 2016 there were 11,495 lost-time injury claims in Ontario alone that resulted from falls. Those are concerning statistics, especially when you run a business that sees many people come and go each day – and just one bad accident could bring a costly personal injury claim against you.

The type and extent of your risk management will certainly depend on the type and size of your business, but there are some areas that most businesses should consider, no matter the nature of the building or the time of year. Fortunately, you’ll find a free template below that can help you track all the crucial elements of a slip, trip, and fall incident, helping you stay one step ahead.

Lighting

When you try to navigate a path or hallway in the dark, you’re bound to bump up against something. Don’t make it harder on your visitors by neglecting to light their way! Check your lights outside to make sure they’re all in good working order, and if you keep a box of spare bulbs in a closet or stockroom, you’ll have an easy fix when you need it.

Is there an opportunity to make things a bit brighter? Take a walk inside and outside your workplace at night to get a feel for particularly dark corners, passageways, or thresholds. While you’re at it, you could check that your glowing exit signs are working properly, too!

Click here for your free incident reporting template!

Surfaces

Spaces with uneven surfaces are begging for trouble, especially those in high-traffic areas. Both indoor and outdoor areas need your attention, especially when the weather takes a turn for the worse, or if you work with anything that could spill, clutter, or otherwise affect easy movement through your workspace.

When assessing the property outside your building, you can look for things like:

  • Downspouts that drain water into parking lots or onto sidewalks. Water can make for annoying puddles – or worse, slippery surfaces that surprise your visitors.
  • Cracks, debris, potholes, and other problems on your parking lot surface. These can damage cars, but also catch shoes, ankles, or canes to cause a nasty fall.
  • Stairways in need of a facelift. Crumbling concrete is a clear problem, but so is a too-smooth surface: do what you can to make sure your stairways and walkways are slip-resistant.
  • Bumps, covers, drains, ramps, and thresholds. Any feature that sticks up or interrupts the usual landscape can be a tripping hazard, so inspect your space closely and consider marking any changes in elevation or texture with non-slip material and high-contrast paint.
  • Clean up spills and indicate where they happened. “Wet floor” signs may not be the most exciting aesthetic, but they’re important accessories for any workplace to keep on hand.
  • Make sure tiles, carpet, and other floor coverings stay put – when boards or corners start to come up, repairs should be your top priority

In 2016 there were 11,495 lost-time injury claims in Ontario alone that resulted from falls.

Entrances

How do your patrons get in and out of your building? Does an automatic door glide open to reveal a wide and clear hallway? Or must your customers fight with boxes, vases, curtains, or other clutter to get to your goods? Entrances and exits aren’t only your first and last chances to make a good impression, they could also be dangerous spaces that lead to legal trouble.

The first step is to clear away anything that doesn’t need to be there. Worried that a sparse and sterile entryway may not be very welcoming to customers? Think about hanging up some art or posters, or you can paint the walls to brighten things up. Then, commit to keeping the space clean and dry.

Furniture

Tables and chairs need to be sturdy and intact – but so should display cases, service counters, and any other furnishings that are meant to hold products (or your customers). If it’s been awhile since you took a close look at your furnishings, take a moment to check for broken parts, splinters, sharp edges, or protruding nails. Furniture that’s in good condition is less likely to painfully intercept a customer or buckle under their weight.

Observe and record

Routines can be difficult to start, but soon enough they become second nature. Make inspection a part of your daily routine and get a good recording process in place to make sure nothing falls victim to communication breakdown. Here are some tips:

  • Check all primary areas regularly, from the parking lot and entranceway to shelves and displays.
  • Commit to cleaning at a given time each day (preferably after you close up shop for the day).
  • Consider putting one employee or a small team on certain maintenance duties, so they get to know the job well and are less likely to pass over a problem or task.
  • Keep a log book to document all maintenance activities. This master record is a helpful resource for your staff to stick to procedure, and it can be crucial evidence if a claim is brought against your business.

When accidents happen, the right report can help save the day

Even the most cautious business owner can’t control everything all the time. Sometimes slips and falls happen, and when they do, the speed and nature of your emergency response can make a big difference in how your business handles the consequences.

If you have a commercial general liability insurance policy in place, you can count on professional support if a claim should arise. However, you’ll also need a solid plan that can help you spring into action as soon as the incident happens – this is where you can include witness testimony, photos of the scene, and details of the claimant. Download our Slip and Fall Incident Report template so you can gather the info you need, when you need it!

 

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Is your emergency contact list up to snuff? Use our free template! https://www.nbins.com/blog/risk-management/emergency-contact-list/ Wed, 06 Jun 2018 17:47:45 +0000 https://www.nbins.com/?p=121565 Uh oh. A power failure has just shut down your shop during a crucial production run. Or maybe a midnight flood has left your office three feet underwater, or an… read more →

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Uh oh. A power failure has just shut down your shop during a crucial production run. Or maybe a midnight flood has left your office three feet underwater, or an employee accidentally unleashes a computer virus. What’s your next move?

Emergencies are urgent by nature, and after the heart palpitations subside, you’ll need to spring into action. That’s where the right tool – like a detailed emergency contact list – can make a big difference. Fortunately, our downloadable template will help you create the reference your business needs.

What to include on your list?

Start from the start: your business info should be the first entry, including your company name, address, location, and phone number. This information needs to be accessible, so when you’re speaking with emergency services, you can get the details sorted right away.

Ready to get started? Download our free emergency contact list template! 

Of course, there’s a lot more to add to an emergency contact list than your business information, regardless of the type or size of your business. Consider these crucial sections:

Manager and employee info

Problem with your building? Your landlord or facility manager can be an important ally when it comes to physical mishaps or damage in your workspace. Be sure to include a couple of forms of contact info – after all, if you can’t catch them right away, you could lose valuable recovery time.

Your employees need to know when things go wrong. And if the emergency involves an employee, their emergency contacts will need to be alerted, too. Including a contact number (and email address) plus an emergency contact for each employee is a good idea.

Emergency service numbers

911 is an obvious go-to emergency number, but it’s not the only one that deserves a spot on your emergency contact list. Consider adding the numbers for poison control, animal control, your alarm system company, and any other industry-specific services you think you might need if things go awry.

Insurance info

When your business is at risk of a loss (or if one has already occurred), you’ll need to contact your insurer as soon as possible. Be sure to include the name of your insurance company, your policy number, and the direct number to their claims team to start the claims process.

Not confident your insurance coverage can come to your rescue? Check out the protection we can offer your business, whatever your industry.

Utility Companies

Utilities probably play a central role in your business operations, so it’s important to keep your utility companies in the loop. Include numbers for gas, electricity, and water service providers on your list, since these contacts can help you minimize damages if you experience something like a gas leak or a burst pipe.

Need some help finalizing your list? Consider what our Risk Services specialists can offer your business.

Other useful contacts

You may need to contact other services in the wake of an emergency, like locksmiths, taxi companies, or tow trucks. Play it safe and include all relevant services in this master list, so you won’t have to frantically track the numbers down when the time comes.

Good planning is good protection – so is insurance

Losses are tough, and recovery can be a long road. Don’t go it alone! The right business insurance policy can help with everything from the immediate cleanup to legal issues that arise after the dust settles. The best way to get a well-tailored policy for your business is to work with a broker who truly understands your industry.

Ready to get started?

Give me a quote!

 

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5 Key Business Interruption Risks (and a Free Template to Help Safeguard Your Operation!) https://www.nbins.com/blog/risk-management/key-business-interruption-factors/ Wed, 23 May 2018 16:01:48 +0000 https://www.nbins.com/?p=117976 When things go wrong at work, you can face two types of consequences: immediate challenges and long-term repercussions. Unfortunately, business interruption risks – those factors that force you to put… read more →

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When things go wrong at work, you can face two types of consequences: immediate challenges and long-term repercussions. Unfortunately, business interruption risks – those factors that force you to put your operations and revenue stream on hold – can be easily overlooked.

In their 2018 Risk Barometer report, Allianz pinpoints business interruption as the most important business risk – for the sixth consecutive year. The report highlights some key causes that any business owner should keep in mind, and while some of these may come as no surprise, other risks are newer on the scene and tend to affect a wide variety of businesses.

What exactly is business interruption? Find out more about this crucial coverage here.

In fact, you don’t need to have a huge brick-and-mortar operation to feel the pinch (although a fire or flood could do more damage to a larger space and stock). In many cases, small businesses can suffer just as much when they’re forced to close their doors while they recover from a setback. Here are five key causes of interruption to Canadian businesses, plus a business impact analysis template with all the factors to consider in a smart business continuity strategy.

Download the form below!

 Fire and explosion

This is a more traditional business interruption scenario, but one that continues to worry business owners. In fact, according to the Allianz report, 40% of Canadian businesses fear fire and explosion more than many other potential disruptions to their business.

Not all businesses will share the same level of risk when it comes to fire and explosion; the nature of your operations can determine whether or not this scenario is likely to unfold. Do you work with combustible dust, flammable liquids, complex machinery, or electrical hazards? If so, fire and explosion may be a sizable risk for your business.

Cyber events

The only risk that ranked higher than fire and explosion? Cyber incidents, with 42% of Canadian business owners admitting that a damaging cyber event is a top fear when it comes to business risk.

It’s not too surprising that more businesses than ever are concerned about cyber risk, considering how many attacks have made news headlines in recent years. And as supply chain management and industrial controls become more automated, cloud infrastructure becomes the norm, and interconnectivity spreads, any type of business operation could be interrupted with a well-placed cyber attack.

Know your risks before you build your business continuity strategy. Download this free business impact analysis template to get acquainted with your unique business interruption risks!

Natural catastrophes

More active hurricane seasons, earthquakes, and devastating wildfires in recent years are putting a lot of business owners on edge – which is no surprise, given that Allianz reported around $330 billion in overall losses from natural catastrophes in 2017 alone. For businesses, more natural disasters could mean more losses that shut down operations for uncomfortably long stretches.

And it gets worse. As globalization continues, natural disasters can bring even more risk of business interruption: a flood in one region could have a direct impact on the supply chain for a business in another region, and in the worst cases, it could bring those business operations to a halt.

Regulatory or legal changes

Globalization has changed trade dynamics in other ways, too. Uncertain political landscapes, coupled with new rules and legal changes, can shake up the way your company does business with international parties. In some cases, that can force a change in strategy; in others, it could prevent your business from growing in the ways you were hoping to take it.

Administration changes led to an unpredictable economy in 2017, and as uncertainty surrounding trade pacts continues, sudden problems could pop up for certain businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

Machinery breakdown

Anyone who works with complex equipment or machinery knows how much depends on a functioning system. When one crucial piece of equipment is lost or broken, you’re not only faced with repair or replacement costs – you could be left scrambling to fulfil orders, relocate to another facility, and convince unhappy clients to stick around while you recover.

Machinery breakdown can have immediate, lasting, and severe impact on operations, and 23% of business owners surveyed feel that it’s one of the biggest threats to their operations.

Know your risks and plan ahead with our complimentary template

Every business is different, and it can be difficult to uncover all the risks to your operations. Our impact analysis template is a great place to begin, but we have other great resources to help you build a business continuity strategy, emergency action plan, and more.

If you could use some help getting started, turn to the professionals – our Risk Services specialists have expertise in dozens of industries! Learn more about how risk management can help you mitigate business interruption risks and their consequences.

 

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