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Risk in Context

Asset Shutdown: Practical considerations for property owners & managers during COVID-19

Posted by Robert Gardiner April 15, 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, businesses across Australia and New Zealand have been impacted by shutdowns and possible lockdowns that have left many premises idle, vacant or operating with skeleton staff. During this period, it is important for businesses to maintain practices to protect against a possible asset loss or damage. 

Property owners and managers should consider several factors that may impact the security of their assets. We provide below some of our recommendations and practical tips to help businesses mitigate the risk of asset loss or damage:  

Sprinkler / fire systems

  • Maintaining automatic sprinkler and protection systems as well as fire detection systems in full working condition including maintaining scheduled inspection, testing and maintenance activities. As a result of limited employee / contractor resourcing or restricted access to sites during such a lockdown period, there may be difficulty in maintaining normal scheduled fire protection system inspections. Businesses should notify Marsh and their property insurer(s) of such changes or impediments to maintaining such processes.
  • Continuing to report any impairments to fire protection systems.
  • Ensuring all accessible sectional and divisional valves on the sprinkler and hydrant systems are locked in position (lock and chain), and increasing the frequency of checks on valves.

Property access and security

  • Considering implementing deterrents to unlawful access such as interior / exterior lighting and alarm systems.
  • Ensuring valuable items are secured and access to the property is monitored and controlled at all times.
  • Increasing the frequency of patrols especially in areas containing flammable liquids or gases and idle machinery.
  • Keeping yard areas and remote entrances well-lit and ensuring access gates are locked when unattended.
  • Keeping yard storage at least 15 metres away from the perimeter fence where possible and away from buildings.

Maintenance and housekeeping

  • Maintaining all regulated inspections and testing, i.e. pressure vessels, lifts, cooling towers, etc.
  • Maintaining good housekeeping, especially of combustible debris.
  • Disconnecting any unnecessary power supplies.
  • Monitoring the need for hot work, ensuring permits are used and appropriate precautions remain in place.
  • Ensuring important records, systems or drawings are duplicated and stored at a secure offsite location.

Staff and communications

  • Ensuring contractors are well managed and their locations are known at all times.
  • Ensuring emergency response procedures properly reflect the changing conditions and briefing employees so they know how to respond.
  • Testing your emergency communications system and ensuring employee contact details are up-to-date.

In these uncertain and rapidly evolving times, taking precautionary measures such as the above can help businesses ensure their key assets stay protected and continue to be well managed in accordance with regulatory and other stakeholder requirements and expectations.

If you would like to learn more about asset shutdowns or discuss how COVID-19 may be impacting you, please contact your Marsh representative or email us.

Any information contained in this publication provides only a general overview of the subjects covered, is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Insureds should consult their insurance and legal advisors regarding specific coverage issues. All insurance coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the applicable individual policies. Marsh cannot provide any assurance that insurance can be obtained for any particular client or for any particular risk.  

Robert Gardiner

Head of Property Risk Solutions - Pacific

This website contains general information, does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs and may not suit your personal circumstances. For full details of the terms, conditions and limitations of the covers and before making any decision about whether to acquire a product, refer to the specific policy wordings and/or Product Disclosure Statements available from Marsh on request.