In the past 18 months, the Jubilee Insurance Program has experienced some unusual and quite large losses involving master keys and locks.  In a continuing effort to reduce claims in your reciprocals and help control premiums, our article this month deals with keys and locks and the need for a Key Control Policy.

Many of our Members use a system of master keys, for obvious and practical reasons.  If you have a large number of buildings, rooms and suites etc., it is much easier for maintenance personnel and/or users that require access to these units to access them by use of master key(s).

It is not our intent to discourage the practice of the use of master keys; however, we would like to bring to everyone’s attention some issues that go along with the use of master keys.  These issues bring with them the following security, safety and property exposures and the associated costs:

  1. The cost of replacing or rekeying the locks which can be very substantial depending on the number of  locks requiring rekeying
  2. One actual example is where a keyset containing multiple master keys was stolen from a vehicle resulting in replacement /rekeying of locks - estimated cost of loss $60,000; 
  3. The potential for theft and/or vandalism of member property;
  4. The potential for theft and/or vandalism of tenant/renter property;
  5. Personal injury to employees or tenants, thus creating a liability exposure even greater than the potential property damage;
  6. Uninsured loss in terms of Member time spent in rectifying the problem, and dealing with the stressed individuals who have been affected;

Whether you make use of master keys, or key each lock individually, you should have a Key Control Policy. It is important to have such a Policy for two reasons:

  1. To provide reasonable personal security for employees, tenants, visitors and so forth, of your facilities
  2. To ensure the protection of personal and Member property through the control of keys to buildings, offices, shops, server rooms, resident rooms and other secure areas.

The responsibility for implementing a Key Control Policy lies with the Member.  As with all policies, they will vary depending on the Member, and the resources that they have available.  Effective policies should be practical and feasible, and ones that the staff can and will follow through on.

Some things that might want to be considered in a Key Control Policy are:

  1. When not in use, Master Keys should be kept under lock and key
  2. Master Keys should need to be signed in and out
  3. Master Keys should never leave the person who signed it/them out.
  4. Master Keys should be returned immediately after use
  5. Consider keying exterior door locks on buildings/apartments to a key that is NOT master-keyed
  6. In administration buildings and residential facilities, use a separate Master Key for each floor or wing

This is by no means an exhaustive listing of things to consider when creating a Key Control Policy, but just a starting point.  In addition, there are many, many types of locks and locking systems available, so we suggest that each member might consider consulting a locksmith to find a system that will suit their needs and budget the best, as technology can help reduce costs and time spent on re-keying.

Lost or misplaced keys and the need for re-keying are inevitable, but these can be minimized - in this one recent instance, not having all the master keys for multiple buildings on the same key ring would have helped.

Most Commercial Property Insurance policies have a sub-limit for master keys and locks that may vary between $5,000 - $25,000, and limits these types of losses.  In light of our recent experience, Jubilee is considering implementing one; however, a strong Master Key Control Policy would be the preferred means that Jubilee would like to see their Members take in order to prevent or limit the negative effects of these events to acceptable amounts.

Latest News

19 May 2016 22:20 Register for AAMDC Consultations on MGA Amendments

For the past two years, the Government of Alberta has been reviewing the Municipal Government Act, which provides the legal framework for Alberta’s municipalities and was last updated in 1995. Later this month, it is anticipated that the Government of Alberta will be tabling a number of...

Read More ...
19 May 2016 22:16 Provide Feedback on Regulations Related to Transportation Network Companies

The Government of Alberta is requesting municipal input on Bill 16, The Traffic Safety Amendment Act. The primary purpose of Bill 16 is to establish regulations related to Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). TNCs are more commonly referred to as ride-sharing services. The proposed...

Read More ...
19 May 2016 22:13 AAMDC and AUMA Host Manitoba and Saskatchewan Municipal Associations

On May 5 and 6, 2016, the AAMDC and AUMA jointly hosted delegates from the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities for the 2016 Western Canadian Municipalities Association (WCMA) annual...

Read More ...

AAMDC Trade

To enhance the buying power of all members and associate members by ensuring the availability of quality, competitively-priced goods and services on a province wide basis.
 

Jubilee Insurance

Jubilee Insurance Agencies Ltd. has been helping make organizations safer for over 50 years.
 

PFA Canada

PFA Canada helps create mutually beneficial relationships between fuel suppliers and our AAMDC member municipalities and associations.
 

Advocacy

Advocacy works to ensure that provincial and federal decision-makers, industry and other relevant stakeholders understand and incorporate rural Alberta’s best interests in their policies.