There is a lot of hype and prestige attached to the Secure By Design (SBD) label by our industry. Every new product coming to market looks to achieve it. Installers selling products look to show off the SBD label. Home owners recognise it and appreciate it when they buy something that has the SBD badge. Yet when it comes to the insurance industry, there is no discount on premiums for homes that have products which achieve SBD status. It is this oversight that Sliders UK hopes to correct.
“home insurers to offer discounts”
Here is the premise and reasoning for Sliders UK to get involved in this issue, according to an article on their website:
Sliders UK has launched a new campaign aimed at encouraging home insurers to offer discounts on policies if doors and windows are accredited to a Secured by Design (SBD) standard.
With the cost of home insurance claims averaging £2,178, burglaries collectively cost the insurance industry tens of millions of pounds each year.
But despite the contribution that Secured by Design accredited building products and specifications can make in keeping criminals at bay, very few insurers offer reduced premiums.
Sliders UK, which became the first manufacturer to fabricate an SBD accredited inline sliding patio door in 2008, has launched a new industry campaign, ‘Home Security Sense’ which aims to encourage insurers to sign-up to reduced homeowner premiums where SBD products are installed.
Ian Longbottom, Chairman, Sliders UK, said: “Secured by Design accredited products and building specifications have been shown to cut burglaries and crime by almost half.
“Given the cost to the insurance industry of break-ins, it seems to only make sense that a reduced premium should apply to those properties where SBD approved products have been installed in exactly the same way as they do for other security measures, for example burglar alarms.”
Sliders UK is encouraging the window and door industry to get behind the campaign ‘Home Security Sense’, by promoting the benefits of SBD products to homeowners.
The fabricator is also writing to insurance companies and MPs, highlighting the contribution that SBD products can make in cutting crime.
Ian continued: “Fitting a NACOSS/NSI approved burglar alarm is cited by multiple insurers as a way that homeowners can cut what they pay for insurance. Secured by Design fulfils exactly the same role as NACOSS/NSI.
“That this isn’t yet recongised in lower homeowner premiums is even more incongruous given the Government’s current drive on home security. This includes last October’s introduction of Part Q of the Building Regulations and a PAS24:2012 or SBD specification as the new minimum requirement for new homes.”
The calls have received support from both the police service and SBD. Its’ Director, Alan McInnes, said: “Just fitting a door or window lock says little about the quality or strength of the door or window to which it is fitted.
“A certified PAS 24 / SBD product tells you that the whole unit has been tested against typical attack methods and apart from leaving the door wide open will protect you.
“Alarms can generate false calls, may not be set every day and where they cause a nuisance, can even be banned by the police – yet alarms often appear as factor of insurance.
“In the new world of limited resource policing, PAS24 is better pay back than an alarm which, when activated, just says your security has failed.”
To be accredited as ‘Police Preferred’ by SBD, doors and window products must not only be tested by the product manufacturer, but also undergo certification from a UKAS-accredited independent third-party certification authority.
This is because testing relies on the fact that the product that is being installed precisely matches the configurations that were present during the original test procedure.
In the case of doors and windows, subsequent modification in the specification of any one aspect, such as the locks, handles and even the fixings, could compromise the product’s security. The certification process goes further and calls for both initial and on-going audit testing of the product, together with regular audits of the production facility.
Hands up how many reading this probably failed to see this as an issue. Mine is up at this point, and I bet a few of yours are too. As soon as I read this, I did think to myself “yeah, why aren’t insurers offering discounts on this?” As the article points out, there are plenty of other products and factors which qualify for a reduction on home insurance premiums, but windows and doors with SBD status do not. Why not? These are products designed to protect homes even better, recognised by our Police force. Surely these are credentials enough for home insurers to at least consider it when working out their premiums for home owners.
I totally commend Sliders UK on taking this issue up. It’s a very valid point that has gone either unnoticed or understated for a long time, and whilst we are living in austere times, this appears to be a very good opportunity for the window industry to try and contribute to lower costs for home owners, which would be a good thing for everyone.
I hope that the industry gets behind this campaign, and hope that pressure put on MP’s and insurance companies forces them to look at this issue.