Plastics Industry Also at Risk for Metal Theft in UK: MMA Insurance

October 19, 2011

The plastics industry is now a target for the growing market of metal theft, according to one UK insurer.

MMA Insurance is warning that the plastics sector is now at risk as thieves are now targeting the brass tooling and dies which are needed to produce plastic products.

Rising prices of metals such as copper and lead, coupled with the economic downturn, have led to a 70 percent increase in metal theft in some areas of the UK. The cost to UK businesses is now estimated at £770 million per year in the UK with a black market for metal strengthening.

The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) estimate over 15,000 tons of metal is stolen in the UK each year, and the high demand is causing the thieves to widen their nets. MMA is beginning to see a trend for wider claims relating to metal theft, beyond the obvious targets such church roofs, manhole covers, batteries and businesses where metal is widely known as being used such as jewellers, tool manufacturers and precision engineers.

MMA says that while thieves are motivated by what they view as high values for the scrap metal, including brass and dies from the plastics industry, it is not the raw material replacement costs of these items generating the highest claims cost. It is the replacement tooling costs and interruption to businesses that can result in six figure losses.

Paul Hodgson, director of commercial underwriting at MMA insurance commented: “It is worrying to see this sort of theft on the rise in these industries. At MMA we are seeing average claims to the sector of around £100,000.”

“As a direct result of high world metal prices we believe that insurers will need to move with the times in terms of raising the assessment of theft risk in a number different industrial sectors, as well as ensuring that the properties that they insure are adequately protected against theft. Good quality risk management advice is also key.”

Hodgson advises businesses to implement the following risk management tips:

  • Review current inventory and machinery equipment – identify what may be attractive to metal thieves.
  • Consider where equipment is stored – place all items in a secure, locked area and monitor access and stock control.
  • Review existing physical security and ensure adequate electronic security is in place for maximum security.
  • Monitor visitor control in and out of the premises.
  • Backup blueprints – make sure the blueprints for the tooling are readily available in case of a theft.

MMA has produced a short guide for businesses which is available to brokers for distribution to their commercial clients. To obtained the guide by e-mail:

Source: MMA Insurance

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