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Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Insurers & Property Protection – Part 6

January 30, 2019 11:49 am

Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Insurers & Property Protection – Part 6


In LWF’s fire safety blog series for those who work in Facilities Management, or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at property protection and the insurer. In part 5 of this series, LWF discussed how the early insurers reacted to fire disasters by introducing a ratings system which assessed the danger a building posed and set a premium based on the level of risk. In part 6, we will continue from that point.


The assessment by the insurer of wharves and warehouses as being higher risk than other industries led to a whole array of tariffs for different industries.  The process of calculating the tariff was quite complicated. The basic rate was first applied, that being the rate decided upon by the insurer based on their previous experience in such properties. Loadings were then added to reflect any undesirable aspects of the fire risk, such as problems with construction and lastly, discounts would be given for good construction and any mitigating factors such as fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems etc. The rate was still liable to adjustment depending upon the recent losses in the industry in question.


The Fire Offices’ Committee (FOC) was primarily concerned with the development and assessment of tariffs. Until the 20th century and its demise, most insurance companies were members of the FOC and were collectively known as ‘tariff insurance companies’.


Salvage Corps were established by insurers in London, Liverpool and Glasgow initially. The salvagers would attend a fire and attempt to reduce loss and damage, to mitigate the effects of firefighting and to salvage property where possible. Their appearance and vehicles resembled that of the Fire Service and they worked in cooperation with the local authority fire service, however the salvage tenders carried salvage equipment rather than fire-fighting equipment.


The Salvage Corps in Liverpool was established from an earlier organisation with the same aim which had been formed in 1845 by fire offices in the area.


The body was established following a large-scale fire which destroyed acres of warehouses in Liverpool in 1842 and was named the ‘Liverpool Committee of the London, Liverpool and other Fire Offices’. In 1892, it was reconstituted as the Liverpool Salvage Association in line with the regulations drawn up by the FOC. The following year it became the Fire Salvage Association of Liverpool Ltd.


The Glasgow Salvage Corps was established in 1873 and after the Glasgow Salvage Corps Committee combined with an insurance rating committee in 1876, it was known as the Glasgow Rate and Salvage Association. The London Salvage Corps was founded in 1865. Each of the three salvage corps continued operating for over a hundred years until they were disbanded in the 1980s. The work previously undertaken by the salvage corps was then taken over by the local authority fire services.


In part 7 of this series, LWF will continue to look at the work of the FOC. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.


Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings. 


While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.


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