Leading insurer warns of increase in warehouse fires


A recent report issued by Zurich Insurance has warned that the pandemic-driven boom in e-commerce could ignite an increase in warehouse fires.

With many high street shops unable to open amidst the outbreak, online sales spiked, causing companies to require increased space for storage and distribution. The insurer warned that out-of-date rules regarding fire safety, combined with over-packed warehouses, could lead to more fires at industrial facilities.

The report also illustrated how retailers are desperately seeking to expand their storage units, with a rise in demand for larger warehouse sites of 64 per cent last year in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis.

Zurich’s figures for claims for an average fire at a large warehouse are around £5.9 million, indicating the considerable impact such incidents have on both businesses and the UK economy. Home Office statistics support these concerns. Data collected from England’s fire authorities showed an increase in destructive warehouse fires of 42 per cent from 2019 to 2020.

Speaking to the Insurance Times, Zurich Head for Property Claims, Charles Bush, commented:

“As well as posing a threat to life, warehouse blazes devastate businesses, send shockwaves down supply chains and lead to the loss of jobs and productivity.”

Owners of industrial enterprises are legally obliged to perform regular fire risk assessments of the facilities they operate, like warehouses and factories. Adequate fire prevention systems must be established onsite to protect both property and workforces, such as alarms and detection devices.

Businesses planning a fire alarm installation in Chester, Manchester and other UK cities can depend on qualified electricians to fit equipment to code.

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