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ALLIANZ WARNS OF A ‘HEATWAVE CRIMEWAVE’

Press Release   •   Jul 22, 2013 14:59 BST

Research from Allianz Insurance finds that the hot weather has been leaving Brits open to theft as 27.4 million people1 throw caution to the wind and take less care of their possessions.

While the hot spell is good news for Brits desperate for sun and relaxation, millions are putting their possessions at risk because they are more likely to fall asleep in public places, as well as leaving expensive items in the garden and unattended homes and cars are left with their windows open.

·  The heightened sense of relaxation results in 12 million sunworhippers2 confessing that the sunshine makes them prone to falling asleep in parks or on the beach for example, when they could have expensive items like mobile phones and tablet devices with them, One in four (25%) 18 to 34 year olds revealed they are likely to fall asleep in the sunshine and also admitted they drink more alcohol in the summer months (29%), which again leaves them at greater risk of theft.

·  Britain’s summer sense of security means that when it comes to their gardens, goods worth £68 million3 - or £261 per home - are being left unlocked or not stored away. More than two thirds (68 per cent) admit to forgetting to lock valuables in the shed or garage and a third (33 per cent) are expected to leave prized BBQs and BBQ tools in the garden over the summer. Worryingly, one in four Brits (23 per cent) have been a victim of garden theft or knows someone who has, yet more than half (54 per cent) don’t know whether such items are covered under their home insurance policies.

·  As more than nine million4 people will be likely to leave their windows open while out for the day making empty homes easy targets for theft, Allianz is warning homeowners to take simple steps to avoid attracting thieves when heading out in the sunshine such as locking windows and garage doors and putting things away in sheds. In addition, one in five (19%) shared that they would leave a window open in their car while away from their vehicles in the heat, allowing easy access for criminals.

Commenting, Harry Rule, Property Claims Manager at Allianz Insurance said: “While enjoying the sunshine, many of us get that holiday feeling and let our guard down. We urge people to maintain a high level of awareness and protect their possessions during this hot spell, whether it’s ensuring homes and cars are secure or taking the bare minimum of belongings with them when they are out and about in the sunshine.”

Smartphone app, Allianz WeatherSafe, details weather alerts and risks for homeowners as well as businesses which can help advise as to protecting possessions and property. The app is available to download and is free at  https://weathersafe.allianz.com/user/register.

- Ends -

Notes to Editors

The research was conducted by Toluna Group amongst 1,000 UK adults aged 18 and over, surveyed on 15 July 2013.

1 The research found that 43.5 per cent of respondents agree the hot spell of weather is more likely to make them feel reckless. 27.4 million figure has been calculated based on 43.5pc of the UK population, estimated at 63.2 million (ONS, 2012).

2 The research found that 19.4 per cent of people say they are more likely to fall asleep in the sun because of the current good weather. 12 million figure has been calculated on 19.4 per cent of the UK population, estimated at 63.2 million (ONS, 2012).

3 The research found that the average household leaves £216 worth of valuables in garden (not locked in shed or garage). £68 million figure has been calculated on £215 per household in Britain, estimated at 26.4 million households (ONS, 2012).

4 The research found that 34.7 per cent of people are likely to leave the house without closing open windows this summer. 9 million figure has been calculated on 34.7 per cent of the total households in UK, estimated at 26.4 million (ONS, 2012).

Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and part of the Allianz SE Group, the largest property and casualty insurer worldwide.

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