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Holiday Fire Safety at Home

Ron Martin - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Picture your perfect holiday. Perhaps you hear family members laugh while the fireplace crackles in the background. Or you enjoy your favorite holiday meal surrounded by friends and the glow of candlelight in your carefully decorated dining room.  read more

Prevent Freeze-ups of Automatic Sprinkler Systems

Ron Martin - Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Every winter, plummeting temperatures bring ice and snow to most regions of the country and present us with a unique set of loss prevention challenges. A common, yet significant winter challenge is how to prevent interior water pipes from freezing.

Nearly all commercial buildings have automatic sprinkler systems in place to protect against fire. While a fire can cause monumental loss, so can its polar opposite: ice.


Frozen pipe photo


A freeze-up of automatic sprinkler system pipes, caused by insufficient building heat, may result in burst piping and subsequent water damage to a building and its contents. If a fire occurred while the sprinkler system was incapacitated, the resulting loss could be catastrophic.

To prevent sprinkler system pipes from freezing, these standard building management procedures should be followed:


Prior to the official start of winter, the building’s heating system should be completely serviced and then checked on a regular basis throughout the cold weather months.


The structural components of the building should be inspected for any deficiencies or problem areas. Broken windows and wall cracks should be repaired promptly to prevent drafts from entering the building.


Temperatures in areas protected by wet pipe systems should be kept above 40°F.


Adequate heat should be provided to concealed areas, such as attics and areas above ceilings, where sprinkler piping has been installed.


Although dry pipe systems are less susceptible to freeze-ups, they should also be included in any winterizing program.


Fire pumps should be in a heated room and should be tested at periodic intervals. Suction taken from open water should have lines that are buried below the frost level. Intake screens should be kept clear of ice.


Gravity tanks should be checked for leaks and overflows. Should leaking or overflowing water freeze, it could cause structural damage to, and the subsequent collapse of, the tank.


Fire hydrants and valves should be kept clear of snow and ice to prevent freezing. Piping
for outdoor systems should be buried below the frost level to prevent freezing. Piping that is exposed to freezing temperatures should either be insulated or heated. Fire hydrants should be checked for adequate drainage and post indicator valves should be checked for leakage.


Once winter has arrived, management should keep a close watch on weather conditions. All commercial buildings and facilities should have a plan in place for handling extreme snowfalls and extreme cold spells that may lead to heating problems.


Supervisory personnel should be provided with a list of emergency numbers to call in case of trouble.

Despite following all of the recommended procedures, a freeze-up may still occur. If that happens, management should contact the experts for repair, rather than attempt to make repairs in a “do-it-yourself” manner.

While the sprinkler system is down, special emphasis should be immediately placed on controlling ignition sources and securing known fire hazard areas throughout the facility:


Cutting and welding operations should be postponed until repairs have been completed.


Smoking should be prohibited throughout the unprotected area.


Supplies of flammable and combustible materials should be kept to a minimum.


A temporary water line should be supplied to provide water to the unprotected area.


If possible, a staff person should be posted to monitor the area while repairs are being made.

In summary, by implementing preventive measures, emphasizing prompt, efficient repairs, and controlling known fire hazards, building managers can decrease the likelihood of frozen, incapacitated sprinkler systems and minimize the potential for loss should the sprinkler system become incapacitated.

For more helpful information about Loss Control initiatives, best practices and training ideas that can help control costs, please visit the extensive Loss Control page on our website. We maintain a Loss Control library, which offers a wide array of safety training and educational materials that provide both technical guidance, as well as general safety and training resources.
 Reprinted by permission: AMTrust North America

  read more

Insurance Coverage for Kids in College

Ron Martin - Thursday, August 14, 2014

A question parents and their college-aged children don’t ask, but we need to ask, is, “Will these college students be covered under their parents’ Homeowners’ and Personal Auto policies while they’re living away from home and attending school?” The answer may be, “Yes.” However, the answer may be, “No.” And, sometimes the answer could be, “Maybe….”  read more

So Sue Me

Ron Martin - Monday, July 21, 2014

reprinted with permission - Insurance Agents and Brokers  read more

Should your organization be conducting background checks?

Ron Martin - Thursday, July 03, 2014

reprinted with permission  read more

Winter Weather - Property Protection

Ron Martin - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cold weather freeze-ups can cause vital fire protection systems to malfunction. Cold temperatures can cause sprinkler piping to burst resulting in major water damage to buildings, contents, and equipment. Pipes bursting can also impair automatic sprinkler systems and leave a major portion of your facility without fire protection. A fire during this situation may result in a major interruption to your business and a huge loss.

In the interest of preventing water damage claims for your property, designated key personnel should be aware of freeze protection and emergency preparedness procedures. Utilize the
Winter Weather Precautions Checklist to assist with your risk control program.

Best Practices include:

Building temperature should be monitored, documented, and maintained at 55° F or higher   read more

Personal Watercraft Safety

Ron Martin - Thursday, August 01, 2013

We loved this reminder from our friends at United Marine Underwriters, so we are passing it on to you!

  read more

Property Insurance sees premium increases

Ron Martin - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

As 2013 begins, we continue to see repercussions of past year's natural catastrophes which tallied $57.9 billion in insured losses in 2012 alone.  Insurance is being used to rebuild entire communities. To that end, consumers will see is a sharp increase in property insurance rates, both on the Homeowners and Commercial Property sectors. Almost  all insurance companies are seeking rate in order to mitigate losses and build up their reserves for future severe weather events which are becoming the new normal.    read more

Holiday Party Hosts Could Be Serving Up Lawsuits

Ron Martin - Friday, December 07, 2012

Six Good Reasons to Have a Personal Umbrella

Ron Martin - Monday, October 22, 2012

There is no question that the ownership and use of our autos present us with the greatest personal liability exposure. But our normal daily activities can expose us to the potential of a large liability claim that could threaten our personal assets.  read more


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