A store's burglar alarm is the heart of the security system
By David Sexton, CPCU
Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co.
When did you last review the UL certificate for your burglar alarm system?
Never? Then drop everything and do it now. You should know what you're paying
If your alarm system is certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) a
national testing facility for devices, systems and materials the UL
certificate verifies it meets UL requirements, was installed and is monitored
by a qualified alarm service company, and is under a maintenance/service
In 1996, UL revised its graded certificate for burglar alarm systems
and started to phase in a modular certificate. In the former graded certificate
program, many people considered the "AA/AA Complete" designation
the ultimate in security, so many businesses requested this level of service
whether or not they needed it, but alarm firms often couldn't meet all the
requirements. The new system, to be phased in by 2001, permits more flexibility,
with options better reflecting customer needs and central station capabilities.
If you have a graded certificate (grades such as A, AA, B, etc., and
a copyright in the 1980s) file this series of articles with your certificate.
When your new modular certificate arrives, review the certificate and the
Reading UL Certificates
Your new certificate has two pages. Verify the information on the first
page. Your premises is listed at the bottom along with the name and address
of the alarm company. Above that is the alarm system description, which
lists the areas being protected, typically your premises, safe or vault,
and stockroom and possibly an office, records room or workshop.
The second page is a burglar alarm system description with:
- Your address.
- The alarm company's name and address.
- System description.
- Alarm transmission method (how your system transmits an alarm).
- Area covered by your alarm.
- Type of alarm sound-ing device.
- Remote monitoring of the alarm.
- Type of alarm line security.
- Alarm investigator response (if central station).
Beyond the store and alarm company's names and addresses, most other
factors describing an alarm system may sound like Greek to most retail jewelers.
Next month, we'll translate.
Your alarm system can prevent losses and keep down insurance costs.
The more losses you prevent, the more affordable and available insurance
will be for everyone.
When you renew your jewelers block policy, an underwriter evaluates your
exposure (inventory value, loss experience, location) and security program,
which should include:
- Physical protection (safes, locks, security glass).
- Electronic protection (surveillance cameras, alarms, door buzzers).
- Procedures (show one item at a time, keep showcases locked, open with
two or more employees, etc.).
For your security program to be effective, you must maintain all three
components. For example, a jeweler who buys state-of-the-art electronic
security but neglects proper procedures by leaving merchandise in unprotected
windows when closed becomes an easy target for burglars.
David Sexton leads the large accounts underwriting department at Jewelers
Mutual Insurance Co., Neenah, WI. He also is a corporate member of UL's
Burglary Protection Council and the Central Station Alarm Association.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.