8th December 2022 - 3 min read
Insurer Allianz General Insurance has urged the public, especially owners of commercial properties, to recognise the necessity of fire insurance and safety precautions for their assets. This is considering the rising number of fire incidents in buildings that was seen over the past few years.
In a media forum organised in partnership with the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia (Bomba) and Universiti Malaya’s Department of Building Surveying, it was revealed that Malaysia saw approximately 7,000 fire breakouts a year between 2019 to 2021, with losses estimated at RM1.12 billion per year. In comparison, the average of fire breakouts during 2010 to 2018 was 5,335 cases, with a total estimated loss of RM21.95 billion.
In light of this, chief executive officer of Allianz Malaysia, Sean Wang stressed that Malaysians, specifically business owners, need to change their mindset to prioritise safety issues over the cost and probability of insurance claim. This means they should always undertake a proper risk assessment of their premise, then decide on an insurance that fits their needs.
“This forum is about raising awareness, and to put it plainly, the issue is not that the sector is underserved. Unfortunately, it is the lack of the sense of vulnerability when it comes to fire safety or safety in general. To set things right, commercial insurance is not a buy-one-fits-all type of coverage. If you’re a business owner, having fire insurance is not a be-all, end-all,” said Wang.
Wang also added that when it comes to property damage, it is crucial for business owners to understand the basis of the sum insured in their insurance policies: either market value basis or reinstatement value basis. “It is vital that the value or sum insured for the insurance covers for the buildings, machinery, stocks, and the like is assessed and reviewed regularly,” Wang stated.
Meanwhile, the head of risk engineering and consulting of Allianz General, Syed Zain Syed Noh shared that the main causes of fire outbreaks at various properties are electrical short-circuit and electrical resistance that come from simple mistakes. Some examples of these mistakes include loose connections, electrical overloading, faulty electrical devices, and faulty cable insulations.
“For commercial properties, the lack of maintenance is one of the key causes of fire incidents due to old installations and equipment, improper installation, lack of regular inspection, and no supervision during operation hours. Most importantly, electrical fires are preventable, and it’s all down to managing risks and having actionable solutions,” said Syed Zain.
Syed Zain also advised business owners to always review possible risks whenever they make any changes to their premises, such as expanding it or installing new storage technology. He urged them as well to always commit to the necessary safety standards and guidelines, and not be swayed by “shortcuts” that could provide them with temporary profit and benefits.
“Lastly, [business owners should] have a solid, reliable risk management that will help with the continuity of their business in the event of a disruption,” said Syed Zain, noting that a suitable insurance will assist in this.
(Source: The Star)
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