Fire threats rising yearly, disrupting businesses -- Allianz Malaysia

07/12/2022 08:41 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 (Bernama) -- Business owners must understand the risk of fire threats and how to prevent, mitigate, and protect businesses to ensure fewer disruptions and continued operations as failing to do so leaves them financially vulnerable, said Allianz General Insurance Company (Malaysia) Bhd (Allianz General) chief executive officer Sean Wang.

In a media forum today “Ignore the Peril, Face the Mayhem”, Wang said the threat of fire is always present in commercial buildings and this is a huge topic in the insurance industry.

The forum was co-organised with the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia (BOMBA) and Universiti Malaya’s Building Surveying Department under the Faculty of Built Environment to raise awareness about fire safety and the importance of commercial insurance.

“As insurers, we see a lot of fire claims each year and the damages are catastrophic,” Wang said.

“Besides having a sense of invisibility, some business owners put cost and probability of claim above safety and having proper risk assessment of their premises,” he said.

The forum revealed that dominating causes such as electrical short-circuit and resistance heating are usually caused by loose connections, electrical overloading, faulty electrical equipment and devices, and faulty, worn-out, or damaged cable insulations.

The lack of maintenance in commercial properties is one of the key causes due to old or improper installations and equipment, lack of regular inspection, and no supervision during operation hours.

Wang said over the years, commercial insurance coverage has evolved to cover more than property damage, legal liability, and employee-related risks. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of add-on coverage such as business interruption benefits, business continuity cover, and protection of profit.

BOMBA Fire Safety Division senior superintendent of fire 1 Dr Mohd Zaid Abd Ghani said fire incidents in commercial buildings are increasing.

In 2021, there were 7,447 structural fire incidents, the highest since 2018, involving 804 shops, 408 factories, 263 storage facilities, and 200 offices, with electrical fire (4,558 incidents) being the top source of structural fires, followed by gas equipment (1,328 incidents), lighter (525 incidents) and glowing fire (519 incidents).



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