Companies must ensure they do not fall foul of the requirements of their insurance policies by failing to take adequate precautions over Christmas and New Year, warns the Association of British Insurers.

It warns that thieves or bad weather could leave many companies with a financial hangover after the extended holiday.

It calls for brokers to warn companies of the pitfalls they could face.
- If the alarm is activated a designated keyholder must be available to attend the premises as soon as possible. It is a requirement of commercial insurance policies that a keyholder is available at all times.
- If additional cash is going to be kept on the premises, check with the insurer to ensure adequate cover is in place.
- Checks should be made with suppliers to ensure that sufficient security guards will be available over the period, if required.
- Ensure there are adequate management levels if any staff are to remain on the premises to oversee essential services, such as security.

Tony Baker, the ABI deputy director general, said: The last thing any business wants is to enter the new millennium struggling to come to terms with a large financial loss. Yet this is exactly what could happen if they overlook planning now."