Let's face it…most small businesses have their fair share of challenges. But what happens once things start looking up? Are there any other pitfalls that you as a business owner could've avoided? We've looked at Santam's list of claims from South African businesses over the past few years and give you a few practical tips to consider in the future.
What do businesses in South Africa claim for most frequently?
While fires and special perils (claims as a result of wind, water, hail or snow damage) form a large part of business claims, collisions and vehicles overturning outweigh all Santam's commercial claims quite substantially.
What can businesses do?
We asked our commercial property and vehicle underwriting experts for some advice around these claims.
How to help prevent collision and overturning of commercial vehicles:
Keep all your vehicles in a safe and roadworthy condition. You can do this by ensuring the following:
- Ensure that the business vehicle's tyres are always in an overall good condition; this doesn't only relate to the tread but speaks to the condition of the side walls as well;
- The correct tyre pressures at all times are also of utmost importance to achieve optimum road-holding and to improve tyre life span;
- The law states that vehicle tyres must have at least a 1 millimetre tread; good tyre tread is essential to maintain road grip, especially when the road is wet;
- Well maintained tyres will hold the vehicle securely on the road, allowing it to stop, pull away and turn safely;
- Ensure that all vehicle lights are in a good working condition before every trip; and
- Drive with your vehicle lights switched on even during the day to ensure that your vehicle is visible to other road users.
Check the brakes of your vehicles on a regular basis. Simply changing the front disc pads is not enough if no attention is given to the rear brakes. Don't wait for the next service to check whether your vehicle's brakes are still going to keep you safe.
How to mitigate the risks of damage caused by wind, water, hail and snow
- Clean your premises' gutters before the rainy season (which is in summer in the Northern part of the country). This could reduce possible water damage in the event of a heavy thunderstorm when gutters can overflow;
- Check and replace broken roof tiles. Fasten roof sheeting; this will reduce the possibility of water damage; and
- Store all goods that are susceptible to water damage on pallets (i.e. raise the goods from the floor, at least 150 mm).
How to prevent fires on your business premises
- A large number of fires have an electrical origin. Have an electrician check the electrical installation and repair where necessary;
- Have your fire fighting equipment (fire extinguishers/hose reels) serviced at least annually. The equipment must be clearly marked and properly hung (i.e. not placed on the floor); and
- Remove waste regularly from the premises.
The chances of your claiming for any of these events will be reduced if you put the right checks and balances in place. At Santam, we urge you to take care of your business; it could help save your livelihood in the end. Visit our business advice page for more useful tips.