Theft the most common crime against firms

AXA commercial lines and personal intermediary research has found that levels of crime committed against UK businesses have increased 16% in the worst-hit areas.

Theft was the most common crime against businesses, accounting for 74% of all cases. Arson saw the biggest rise since last year, with 10% more cases.

However, malicious damage claims against businesses have dropped by around 10%.

The AXA research showed that last summer’s riots contributed to a 3% increase in the level of crimes against businesses. Despite the riots, the overall increase reflects an upward trend of crime against business in the last two years, with the level of crime increasing 3% in the previous year too.

The insurer estimated that the total cost of business crime is several hundred million pounds, with many businesses unable to claim back costs due to being underinsured.

AXA commercial lines and personal intermediary managing director Matthew Reed said: “In a continued period of recession it is no surprise to see business crime levels rising, reaching costs of several hundred millions of pounds across the UK.

“It’s important to understand when, where and what types of crime businesses are experiencing, as it helps AXA work together with its intermediary partners to identify and manage risk, and ensure that businesses have adequate cover for their needs.

“We would urge brokers to use this opportunity to review clients’ insurance needs and ensure they are properly covered. A loss for a small business can be devastating, and it’s only right that we work together to ensure peace of mind for SME owners should the worst happen.”

The top ten worst affected postcode areas this year were (last year):

  1. Halifax (57)
  2. Telford (6)
  3. Oldham (5)
  4. Luton (21)
  5. Doncaster (14)
  6. Dudley (8)
  7. Wolverhampton (2)
  8. Wigan (10)
  9. Walsall (1)
  10. Bolton (16)

The postcode area with the biggest rise in crime rates was Sutton, with a 140% increase. The biggest drop was seen in Kilmarnock with a 42% decrease.