Security information for SMEs
The risks represented by terrorist attacks don’t stop at property. In recent years, the nature of the terror threat has evolved. More recent attacks have targeted civilians, typically generating much less property damage than those mounted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army two decades ago.
We’re just a small business. Should we be concerned?

The threat of terrorist attacks isn’t restricted to major cities alone. London and other large cities in the UK are still highly attractive targets, however, terrorists have changed their tactics and we have seen more regional areas including Yorkshire, Brighton, Cumbria, Lancashire, Birmingham and Glasgow fall victim to attacks.

More recent attacks have heavily impacted our busy high streets and public spaces. These indiscriminate attacks, often fatal, involve comprehensive investigations which require the police to cordon off large areas. Many small businesses have unwittingly found themselves within a cordon, with some businesses being unable to access their premises for weeks, and on some occasions, months.

What if the worst should happen?

Very few small businesses have crisis plans or procedures in place, even less have considered ‘what can be done about it?’. A proactive approach to risk management, underpinned by appropriate insurance, is vital to stay afloat if the worst should happen.

Worryingly, few SMEs are aware that their current Property and Business Interruption insurance cover specifically excludes acts of terrorism. With all businesses increasingly relying on technology in various forms, cyber security is also crucial. Cyber attacks can have a rapid and lasting effect, especially for smaller businesses that may not have the capacity to survive significant business interruption.

Your business may be too small to be a terrorist target in itself, but an attack nearby could still wreak havoc by causing collateral damage or denial of access to your premises.

Impacts your business might face

If your business is cut off by a police cordon following a terrorist attack, you could feel the financial repercussions for months to come. Businesses in sectors like tourism and hospitality are particularly vulnerable to losses caused by business interruption, cash flow interruption and the loss of perishable stock.  SMEs are also likely to be more sensitive to supply chain disruptions and reduced footfall.

We recently commissioned a study into the 2017 Manchester Arena attack and its effects on local businesses. Shockingly, we found that 43% of businesses we interviewed had no continuity, disaster recovery or crisis plan in place. Furthermore, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) estimates that the take-up of terrorism insurance is around 10% – even lower among businesses outside London, who possibly consider terrorism a low risk therefore not a priority on a tight budget.

So how can I make sure my business is properly protected?

With terrorist attacks now less likely to involve physical damage to a property, how can you properly protect yourself against this evolving threat?  We recommend you focus on the following areas:

Preparation

  • Contingency planning –  is the process of preparing for potential emergencies. Create a business contingency plan which details the actions that your business would take if an unexpected event or situation occurred
  • Crisis management –  is the overall management of emergencies when they do occur. Develop and rehearse crisis plans setting out the clear steps you expect to be taken if your  business is caught up in a terrorist attack or its aftermath
  • Ensure you implement suitable training for your managers and staff
  • Ensure you are aware of and have access to up to date threat information

Recovery

  • Should your business be directly or indirectly impacted you will need to implement your crisis management plan
  • Ensure you are able to access up to date information on the scale and scope of the attack, advice on the likely timescales of the investigation and thus the ongoing disruption to trading. This will enable you to make appropriate long or short term plans
  • Consider your cash-flow. What measures will you take if your business is caught up in an incident and you are unable to trade? Calculate the costs of any  outgoings and ensure you have sufficient access to funds to sustain you

Adequate terrorism insurance

Your standard property and business interruption package policy will not cover terrorism unless it is specifically extended to do so and an additional premium paid. There are two different types of terrorism insurance available from Pool Re Member insurers;

  • Damage caused to your property, and resultant business interruption, caused by an act of terrorism;
  • Non-damage business interruption caused by an act of terrorism, happening in the vicinity of your place of business, that prevents or impairs access to your business

You should discuss the above options with your insurance provider.

Assessing Your Organisation’s Risk and Vulnerability

How vulnerable is your business to a terrorist attack? Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:

The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) was established in June 2003 and is based in MI5’s headquarters at Thames House in London.

JTAC analyses and assesses all intelligence relating to international terrorism, at home and overseas. It sets threat levels and issues warnings of threats and other terrorist-related subjects for customers from a wide range of government departments and agencies, as well as producing more in-depth reports on trends, terrorist networks and capabilities.

For a brief summary of current threats, see the threat to the UK from international terrorism and the UK’s threat level system.

Recent events in the UK and around the world remind us all of the terrorist threat we face.

Police and security agencies are working tirelessly to protect the public but it is also important that communities remain vigilant and aware of how to protect themselves if the need arises.

The four minute film, Stay Safe: Firearms and Weapons Attack sets out three key steps for keeping safe. The film is accompanied by an online information leaflet.

The film and leaflet advise that if you are caught up in an incident to ‘run, hide and tell’ – guidance which can be applied to many places and situations.

CPNI is the government authority for protective security advice to the UK national infrastructure. Our role is to protect national security by helping to reduce the vulnerability of the national infrastructure to terrorism and other threats.

Effective planning for security is essential for the application of good protective security but is often neglected. Failure to plan for security often leads to increases in project costs, delays in delivery and poor security by design. This collection of CPNI advice and guidance will help organisations understand the principles of two key areas of security planning:

Planning for new security projects or upgrades to existing security measures

Planning contingency measures that will need to be implemented in the event of a security incident.

Operating under charitable status, CSSC aims to help businesses remain safe and secure by providing information that will assist them to develop robust resilience and emergency preparedness plans. This is achieved by delivering accurate, timely and authoritative messaging and information.

CSSC operates across a wide range of industry sectors, each headed by one or more Industry Sector Leads (ISLs). Now operational across the UK. CSSC hubs are now established in London, Scotland, Wales, Eastern, South East, South West, East Midlands, West Midlands, North West, and Yorkshire & North East regions.

It’s important to have a well-stocked first aid kit at your business premises so you can deal with minor accidents and injuries.

Your first aid kit should be locked and kept in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children.

Many people also keep a small first aid kit in their car for emergencies.

For a list of essentials click here for more information

Disaster can strike without warning. Emergencies or a major incident may force you to evacuate. Basic services such as electricity, and telephone may be cut off and there may be debris and other hazards. Emergency services will respond but they cannot reach everyone right away. It pays to be ready and better prepared.

The NCSC provides a single point of contact for SMEs, larger organisations, government agencies, the general public and departments. They also work collaboratively with other law enforcement, defence, the UK’s intelligence and security agencies and international partners.

NCSC supports the most critical organisations in the UK, the wider public sector, industry, SMEs as well as the general public. When incidents occur, they provide effective incident response to minimise harm to the UK, help with recovery, and learn lessons for the future.

ACT Awareness e-learning is a new counter-terrorism (CT) CT awareness product designed for all UK based organisations and individuals. It provides nationally accredited, corporate CT guidance to help industry better understand and mitigate against current terrorist methodology.

The following e-learning modules are available:

  • Introduction to Terrorism
  • Identifying Security Vulnerabilities
  • How to Identify and Respond to Suspicious Behaviour How to Identify and Deal with a Suspicious Item
  • What to do in the Event of a Bomb Threat
  • How to Respond to a Firearms or Weapons Attack Summary and Supporting Materials.

Click here to register and complete the course

ACT Awareness e-learning is a new counter-terrorism (CT) CT awareness product designed for all UK based organisations and individuals. It provides nationally accredited, corporate CT guidance to help industry better understand and mitigate against current terrorist methodology.

The following e-learning modules are available:

  • Introduction to Terrorism
  • Identifying Security Vulnerabilities
  • How to Identify and Respond to Suspicious Behaviour How to Identify and Deal with a Suspicious Item
  • What to do in the Event of a Bomb Threat
  • How to Respond to a Firearms or Weapons Attack Summary and Supporting Materials.

Click here to register and complete the course

Terrorism risks, including cyber threats, are changing and so will the risk management and insurance needs of businesses. Government has raised the threat level of complex synchronised attacks to severe.

This is a serious consideration not only for those who have been directly affected but also to those caught up in the knock-on effects.

Whatever type of insurance you need to find, BIBA can connect you with a broker who can help. Please access the online search opposite or call our Find Insurance Service on 0370 950 1790.

We have closed a significant terrorism insurance gap for UK business. This gives confidence to the customers in the communities they serve that in the event of a terrorist attack, services can and will continue.

Julian Enoizi, Chief Executive, Pool Re

It’ll never happen here

Regardless of your current state of preparedness, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest advice and information. We recently published a short guide especially for SME’s to explain why all businesses should consider insuring against property damage and business interruption by considering and how your business is likely to cope in a such a crisis. Please take a read, and share with your colleagues and staff.

Read the full report here:

Sectors like retail, entertainment, transport and tourism can be the most significantly affected by denial of access and a reduction in footfall.
SME Terrorism Insurance Guide

To learn more, watch this short film illustrating the importance of terrorism insurance for small businesses.

Smaller businesses are most vulnerable as they lack the resources of larger organisations to plan for, protect against and recover from the consequences of attacks.
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