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Firms warned about hiding presents in the office

Date 12 Dec 2007

Firms are being warned to take extra care over office security over Christmas after evidence of an increase in business crime in the past year. Insurance firm AXA says there was a 20% rise in crime-related settlements among firms, with theft showing an even bigger increase. The average insurance settlement was around £4,000, with arson, malicious damage and break-ins among the main reasons for claims.

Bradford had the highest proportion of crime-related claims made by businesses in the three months to September, followed by Bristol, Cardiff and Derby.

Doug Barnett of Axa said: "Crime related claims have been consistently higher this year compared to 2006. "This is particularly worrying as we approach the Christmas period which is traditionally one of the busiest periods for business crime. With many people taking holidays and some businesses closing entirely, premises will be left empty and under-staffed. "Retailers are also vulnerable as stores carry increased levels of stock and as customer traffic affords more opportunity for thieves.

"We are urging business owners of all types of business to review their security precautions ahead of the festive period."

Keith Scowcroft, business development executive at Caunce O'Hara insurance brokers, said: "Lots of people store presents at work to hide them from loved ones and we would normally expect a commercial insurance policy to include personal effects of employees. This is usually subject to a limit of £500 per employee but some shoppers may get carried away and find themselves spending much more.

"The bottom line is to check your insurance before, not after the event."

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