Construction Claims – Theft/Vandalism
Construction claims can be driven by a variety of factors – weather, water damage, fire and arson and theft or vandalism. Contractors are concerned about the potential for increased theft and vandalism on construction sites due to trends brought on by COVID-19. The global pandemic has caused a great deal of disruption in the supply chain and has driven up the costs for construction materials, parts and supplies. Across the country, builders have reported increased prices for everything from lumber and copper to vinyl siding, cement and steel. At the same time, the residential construction market has been booming. The latest data on construction spending from the Census Bureau shows a 21% increase in residential construction from January 2020 to January 2021. While this positive growth is good news for the industry, it also means that there is greater opportunity for thieves to target construction sites. According to experts, this theft can come in many forms – theft by workers of tools and materials; after-hours stealing of lumber and other materials by opportunist thieves and theft by habitual offenders of fixtures and appliances.
There are things your insureds can do to help protect their job sites. Make sure your contractors have identified and inventoried their property. Most experts recommend that construction equipment should be marked in at least two obvious and in one hidden location. Contractors should encourage their employees to mark their own tools as well. Maintaining control over the use of keys is also important. Know who can access keys and remove keys from equipment when the equipment is not in use. Secure tools and equipment when they are not in use and maintain a means of checking supplies in and out. If possible, fence the job site to make access control easier. Lighting can also be a deterrent to theft and vandalism, particularly for casual or impulse offenders. Lighting should be focused on office trailers, equipment storage areas and materials.
The National Equipment Register estimates the value of stolen construction equipment each year to be somewhere between $300 million to $1 billion. That estimate only captures equipment and not other items like tools or building materials. Make sure your insureds are protected from this risk.
To find out more information on how Property & Inland Marine can help in these situations, contact your representative.