After the Grenfell Tower Fire: What Building Owners Can Do to Improve Fire Safety

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A massive London apartment fire that killed at least 80 people last June is causing landlords to reassess fire risk and potential liability. Officials trace the likely genesis of the Grenfell Tower fire to a faulty refrigerator. But the use of Reynobond PE, an exterior building cladding made by Pittsburgh-based Arconic, Inc., may have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire from floor to floor around the building’s exterior. The cladding consists of thin sheets of aluminum on either side of a core of polyethylene, a flammable plastic. Despite being illegal for use on high-rise projects in the United…
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How to Protect Your Home from Wildfires

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Forest fires consume some 8 million acres in the U.S. each year, according to insurance industry sources, with most major fires occurring in western states. The most recent example of the devastation that such fires can cause is of course the wildfires that swept through the Napa Valley in California in October.  If your home is in an at-risk area, take these steps to increase the chances of it surviving a wildfire with minimal damage. Prepare ‘defensible space’ “Defensible space” is essentially the last-ditch firebreak immediately around your home. Many fire prevention concepts are organized around the concept of maximizing…
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Business Interruption Claims Grow in Number and Cost

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As the world becomes more interconnected and natural disasters increase in frequency, more firms are dealing with costlier and costlier business interruption losses. Business interruptions were the top risk to organizations cited by risk managers surveyed in the report, “Global Claims Review 2015: Business Interruption In Focus,” from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty. The study looked at more than 1,800 business interruption claims and found that they resulted in average losses that were greater than the actual property damage. The report, which looked at claims trends between 2010 and 2014, found that the average cost for a business interruption insurance…
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Sprinkler Damage from a Quake Can Prove a Costly Business: Protect Your Assets

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While you might expect cracks to the foundation of your business building during an earthquake, that is not the most common damage resulting from temblors in California. More typically, businesses may suffer property damage after a quake shakes a building enough to activate or damage indoor sprinklers, which in turn spray water, wreaking havoc on office fixtures, machinery and inventory. The resulting damage from water sprinkler damage can often far exceed the damage to the structure itself. Napa quake case study After the Napa earthquake in 2014, the Federal Emergency Management Agency studied 32 buildings with fire sprinkler systems and…
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Think like a risk manager to reduce your insurance costs

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All large corporations and national businesses have someone in charge of risk management, if not a whole department. But hiring a risk specialist or dedicating a number of employees to that kind of work is typically too expensive for most small and mid-sized companies. So, this risk mitigation typically is left to the business owner or the duties are spread among senior managers. One way that you can reduce the risk to your finances is to purchase appropriate insurance coverage, which can sometimes be expensive. However, if you focus on managing your company’s risks, you can do more than solely…
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Protecting Your Business from Wildfire

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As wildfires rage in California and elsewhere in tinder-dry areas of the US, now more than ever you need to make sure that your business is protected from the threat. Whether you own or operate an apartment complex, convenience store, office, motel, restaurant or other retail establishment, the steps you take now will reduce the risk of costly repairs or rebuilding if a wildfire strikes. If you are located in one of the many tinder-dry areas this year, you need to consider the possibilities that fires can start near your business – and, if so, are you prepared to deal…
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