Laboratories house expensive equipment, computer terminals, expensive and potentially hazardous chemicals and monetary instruments such as cash, drafts and cheques. Besides these there is a whole range of documents in the form of quality manual, service policies, standard test procedures and operating procedures loss of which or the falling into wrong hands can lead to direct or indirect losses.
Before going further you should know the difference between a theft and burglary.
Theft and burglary is unlawful removal of property within a locked location and there are visible signs evidencing forcible entry into the premises.
Robbery is an lawful removal of property after threatening its custodian with force, injury or any other form of violence.
It is important to understand the logic behind incidents of laboratory thefts. In most cases it is unlikely that heavy machinery or high cost analytical instruments will be removed because of problems encountered in their removal and disposal but other items such as cash, expensive chemicals, computer terminals or documents are easy targets. The main motives for removal of such items are underlined here:
- Chemicals, biologicals or radioactive materials can be stolen or diverted to small-scale illegal manufacturers of narcotics, drugs or explosives and even for sale in open market.
- Removal of critical documents or sensitive data for use by competition
- Illegal and unauthorised experimentation
- Sabotage and vandalism of high value equipment by disgruntled employee
The present article provides some guidelines which you should keep in mind at time of purchase of insurance for theft claims.
Insurance policy should cover all laboratory items such as test instruments, machinery, cash, documents and loss of income resulting from the loss of such items. It is also important to include legal protection if the stolen items are used for terrorist activities or manufacture of illicit drugs.
List of items that should be included in the cover :
- Expensive chemicals and test instruments
- Electrical fittings and fixtures
- Servers and computer terminals
- Documents such as policies , manuals, standard operating procedures and standard test procedures
- Hard cash and Cash Safes and money loss during transit
- Material theft during transit
- Personal accidents resulting from use of force or assault on laboratory employees
- Loss of business on account of interruption of services due to material loss
Essential points to remember
- Never under declare the value of items covered under the policy as this can affect the quantum of the claim
- All security measures should be in place to prevent loss of property or material covered under the policy
- Any security measure mentioned in the policy should not be overlooked as non-compliance can lead to rejection of claim
Thefts and robberies can happen at any time without early warning so it is of paramount importance that you have in place security monitoring systems at time of loss to make good damages arising from such mishappenings.