The festive season is a time when winding down and celebrations with family and friends feature at the top of most priority lists. Being caught up in the holiday merriment is a great stress reliever. However, letting your guard down is never wise. As advisers that are looking out for your customers’ best interests, alerting them to the rise in criminal activities and equipping them with risk mitigation measures during this period, is crucial.
Here are a couple of trends customers should be mindful of:
Invisible within a crowd
Everyone seems to have the same idea during the festive period; restaurants are filled to capacity, malls are super busy and there always seems to be long lines at the movies. Combine overcrowding with people engrossed in conversation/activities and the level of alertness to suspicious behaviour is severely reduced. In these circumstances, leaving valuables on a chair, on the floor or hanging loosely on one’s person is a big mistake. Handbags, wallets, cell phones and even jewellery are easily snatched with the owners only realising their loss much too late. The likelihood of valuables being damaged during the hustle and bustle or after a few drinks also increases.
To safeguard against theft in particular, customers should be aware of their surroundings; keep handbags zipped, close and within view; and tap to check their jewellery or pockets (men especially) if they have been bumped into or felt someone get too close. When travelling abroad, trying to blend in as a local is also a great idea as tourists tend to stick out like a sore thumb. Dressing more like a local, carrying limited cash and what looks like a rugged backpack, can be very helpful.
Ultimately, every customer should ensure that the items they are taking on holiday are covered under our All Risks policy, which is specifically tailored to cover such losses or damage.
Safety begins at home
Since many homes are left unoccupied throughout the day or for extended periods during the festive season, burglaries become more prevalent. An automatic timer for lights or asking a friend/neighbour to check in and switch the lights on is a good way of throwing criminals off. Customers should also ensure that all doors and windows are locked when they leave home and that they are aware of their surroundings when pulling into their driveways.
Any valuables normally lying around the yard should be packed away and vehicles that are not in use should ideally be parked in an area that is not visible to passers-by. Customers should be mindful of what they post on social media; criminals can quickly piece together addresses and the length of time a home is left unoccupied.
Besides the criminal element, damage due to a burst geyser, flash flood or electrical fault is also a probable occurrence. Including preventative measures as part of holiday planning is a must do (be it switching off geysers or activating your alarm system) and Homeowners, Household Contents and Comprehensive Motor Vehicle insurance are must haves. Equally important, is ensuring that customers’ valuables are covered sufficiently – an area where your advice would be hugely beneficial.
The season of giving
Gifts are synonymous with the festive season and some tend to splurge on expensive jewellery, cameras, mobile phones/tablets, leather jackets, etc. Customers should be urged to alert their advisers so Household Contents/All Risks policies may be updated timeously to cover such gifts. Additionally, when staying at a hotel or guest house, ensure that all valuables are either locked in the safe provided or in your luggage.
Regardless, all customers should be urged to review their existing insurance covers, now. Ensuring their possessions are adequately and appropriately covered – whether at home or out and about – will help cushion the blow of any losses due to damage or theft.