Users paying price for UK equipment theft

By Patrick Hill03 December 2008

Ian Fletcher (left) and Patrick Sheeran

Ian Fletcher (left) and Patrick Sheeran

"There are seven winners in construction equipment theft and only one loser -- the contractor," said Ian Fletcher, director, Bridle Plant Insurance, a broker specialising in construction risk in the UK. "We put up the [insurance] premium; you pay for it."

Speaking at the Civils 2008 exhibition in London in November, the head of the Lyndhurst-based company said that contractors "...are the only ones who can affect the situation." Mr Fletcher urged that only equipment protected by a Thatcham Cat P2 immobilisation device - certified to withstand 15 minutes of assault - be used and rented.

Norwich Union and four other leading insurance companies, according to Mr Fletcher, offer up to 35% discount on premiums to cover equipment so protected. If the item is also CESAR (Construction Equipment Security and Registration) scheme qualified, the discount rises to 50%, he said.

Other insurance cover benefits are: zero claims excess, the free rental of an equivalent machine for 28 days, replacement with a new machine if the stolen machine is less than one year of age, and a depreciation basis of 10% per year for covered machines that are two to five years old.

Kosran ecv Ltd, a manufacturer of 20000 devices made to Thatcham Cat P2 standard currently in service, now offers a £1000 ‘guarantee' on equipment with its product installed. The Irish company, which claims never to have failed to prevent a theft, makes the offer to offset contractor costs of stolen items. Allianz Insurance estimates those total costs now to be £7500, on average, per theft.

Patrick Sheeran, chief executive officer, told IRN that he expects 30% of the company's sales in 2009 will be driven by safety considerations. Keeping unauthorised individuals off machines in order to prevent liability and damage awards will become increasingly important to contractors, he said. The use of effective immobilisation devices will "make a contractor an insurable risk."

Extension of the EU 95/56/EC directive, enacted to help prevent unauthorised use of automobiles, to construction equipment is also one of Mr Sheeran's objectives. "Contractors need to get vocal," he said, in order to reduce their stolen equipment costs.

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