Dealership Riot Response Plans

By Jeffrey Bellant June 09, 2020
 Clean-up begins at the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Oakland, CA, on June 3rd after George Floyld protests on June 2nd Clean-up begins at the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Oakland, CA, on June 3rd after George Floyld protests on June 2nd

Preparing and responding to emergency situations at a dealership became an important issue in the wake of some looting and vandalism that grew out of recent nationwide protests.

On May 25, Minneapolis resident Georgie Floyd was killed in the process of being arrested by police officers, who now face charges related to his homicide. One day later, protests over Floyd’s death started in Minneapolis and spread throughout the country. Vandals and looters took advantage of the protests by damaging hundreds of business nationwide.

According to various media reports and an online video, a Mercedes dealership in Oakland had more than 70 cars stolen during the protests on June 2.

On June 4, ComplyNet President and CEO Adam Crowell hosted a webinar entitled, “What’s our Dealership’s Riot Response Plan?”

After showing the video of the looted Mercedes dealership, Crowell told the story of a nearby Audi dealership which took a proactive approach to the protests.

They decided to board up the dealership.

“It was not an easy decision for them,” Crowell said. “It was made with the (thought) that, ‘Maybe this is overkill, but let’s do it, just in case.’

“By and large, this dealership was unscathed.”

Despite a nearby Target store being “completely ransacked,” the Audi dealership avoided that result by making the difficult decision to boarding up the building for protection.

Chris Schrementi of Corkill Insurance based near Chicago,  said several of the company’s dealer-customers were hit by looting and damage.

“(It included) breaking into some of our higher-end dealerships downtown, where they would get in to damage vehicles,” he said. “When they get in, they would also damage everything you could possibly think of.

“There is extensive damage to multiple stores we had within the agency.”

In addition to physical damage, a business isn’t able to operate, affecting the income that comes from the operation.

First and foremost, dealers should refrain from being heroes and physically stand at their dealership to attempt to defend it from rioters.

Mercedes of Oakland CA was damaged during looting on June 2nd.
Mercedes -Benz of Oakland CA was damaged during looting on June 2nd.

“It’s a no-win situation. Just make sure your employees are not on site (when there is looting and vandalizing),” Schrementi said. “God forbid someone gets injured and it triggers the workers compensation insurance.”

The physical inventory can also be a big loss in these situations, Schrementi said.

Although vehicles will be insured, there will be deductibles, so there will be some costs involved in making a claim.

Dealers should try to be proactive if it’s possible to avoid those expenses.

“If you can, ahead of time, find a place where you can get those vehicles off the lot,” Schrementi said.

Other insurance claims involve business personal property, which can include anything from computers to key fobs.

There are exclusions for insurrection, revolution and war, which would not be covered.

In this case, there actually was a discussion in the federal government about invoking the Insurrection Act during these protests and riots, but it did not happen.

Insurance coverage is available in the case of a business being shut down due to damage done to the property.

“Right now, adjusters are being extremely responsive,,” Schrementi said.

Crowell said OSHA (the Occupational Health and Safety Administration) requires dealers to assess their emergency risks and have a written emergency action plan (EAP), unless the dealership has fewer than 10 employees.

“The purpose of this plan is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies,” Crowell said.

Along with that, employees should also be trained for these situations, according to OSHA.

Police in riot gear Berkeley, CA
Police in riot gear Berkeley ,CA

An EAP must include a means of reporting fires and other emergencies; evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments; procedures for employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate; accounting for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed; rescue and medical duties for employees performing them; and names or job titles of person who can be contacted.

OSHA also recommends that a business have a secure or off-site location to store originals or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, employees’ emergency contact lists or other essential records.

Crowell said cloud-based systems will help businesses get back into operation quicker in these situations.

He reiterated dealers, when it comes to inventory, should think about alternative locations to store vehicles.

If not, having gates or blocked entrances can prevent cars from being stolen.

Crowell said a secure location to store keys and key fobs is critical. If they can’t be secured, then it might be better to take them off-site.

“Almost every single week, I hear a story where someone breaks into a dealership and steals key fobs and takes off with a bunch of cars,” Crowell said. “That’s happening more often these days.”

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Last modified on Tuesday, 09 June 2020 14:34