09 October 2019


This month Simon Banks talks to Chris Hanks, Chairman of the National Security Inspectorate (NSI), a leading certification body for the security and fire protection sectors in the UK. Prior to his appointment to this role in 2013, Chris has had a distinguished career in the insurance industry, beginning his career as an underwriter.

In your role as Chairman of the NSI you have seen the importance of regulation in the industry. Do you believe enough is being done?

Well, as they always say, there’s never enough being done! NSI’s mission is very straightforward – raising standards in security and fire safety, and we can always do more. Standards are always evolving and helping industry keep up is a never ending task. We mean to make life as easy as we can for approved companies in the race to stay relevant whilst upholding new standards. That is our challenge. That and seeking improvements in standards where the evidence is they are lacking, or doing a dis-service. So, on the one hand we are wholly focussed on realising NSI Gold as the ‘go to’ hallmark for security and fire safety buyers, be they public bodies, commercial organisations, or consumers, and on the other ensuring that new standards revisions and developments meet genuine needs. Installers are key players in the supply chain. They are the customer interface for the industry. In a sense they put their trust in the NSI hallmark. Our job is keeping it pertinent and in the eye of the buyer.    

Where does Security sit within the current priorities of Insurers?

There’s no hiding from the fact that security now holds third place in the focus of the insurance sector, after flooding and fire. Nonetheless, there are still important aspects around security. Losses aren’t as great as for flooding and fire but can still be significant and devastating for businesses and home owners. In some parts of the country, burglaries are on the rise, and there are also the wider repercussions of burglary that can be distressing for individuals in terms of the psychological impacts of personal loss or intrusion. It would be helpful if insurers could look more favourably on premises with certificated intruder alarm systems. e.g. with lesser insurance premiums. That would encourage end users to look more carefully at the benefit of working with approved installers, and less inclined to settle for a DIY installation.  

You will be speaking at the CSL Industry Forum in November. Can you tell us a little more about why you feel it is important to attend the event?  

I am delighted to be speaking to the industry at this forum. Collaboration between stakeholders across our industry is important, and I see the Forum as a great platform to encourage and facilitate this. Third Party Certification in the UK contributes to our culture and everyday life in ways we don’t even realise, and can be a powerful tool for change. NSI has actively supported the raising of different standards in security for 50 years. Today we see potential for making our environment safer in areas as diverse as labour provision in guarding, in fire detection and suppression, fire alarm signalling, in cyber security for networked security systems, and enhanced alarm signalling to the police to save time, cost and lives. Third party Certification works for the public good when partnerships between emergency services, insurers, associations, manufacturers and service providers leverage it. Building partnerships is what the CSL Industry Forum is all about, and that deserves NSI support.

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