Winter Weather Precautions


Every winter millions of pounds of damage are experienced by businesses and households from burst pipes, roof snow collapses and water ingress. However by taking some basic precautions and planning ahead, many incidents can be prevented or the effects of damage minimised:

Preventing burst pipes

Protect pipes and tanks with good quality lagging BS6700
Repair dripping taps and faulty ball valves as they can cause waste pipes to freeze.
For unoccupied buildings or those with a history of freezing incidents, leave the heating set at a low level, or drain all equipment that is susceptible to condensation

Or freezing.

Install a frost stat to central heating and check it’s working correctly.
Arrange for premises to be inspected at least daily in periods of very cold weather.
Service heating systems at least annually.
Ensure all boilers are safeguarded against freeze - particularly drain and condensate lines. Drain down all idle boilers.


Ensure that you know the layout and routes of all water, gas and electricity services within the premises and that this information is recorded and available.
Know the location of all main and subsidiary stop-taps and ensure they are fully operational.
Research the details of reliable local plumbing contractors and keep their contact details available.

Minimising damage

Isolate water at stop cock. Turn on cold taps to drain the system as quickly as possible.
Turn off the central heating.
Protect or remove any vulnerable contents or equipment that may be damaged.
Never use naked flames to thaw ice plugged pipes and equipment.
‘Ice dams’ can be created on the edges of roofs, especially tiled roofs by the continual thawing and refreezing of melting snow. Water may ‘back up’ up the roof getting under the tiles and leaking into the building. To help prevent this keep drains open and free of ice in a safe manner. Engage specialist companies to perform this if necessary.
Monitor the amount of snow on roofs and clear them before accumulations reach unsafe levels.

Sprinkler systems

For all sprinkler systems engage sprinkler contractors to make systems ‘winter safe’.
Especially vulnerable are systems protecting outdoor areas or cold areas (attics etc), valve chambers, and pump rooms.
Heating should be maintained at all times at or above 4 degrees C. Exposed pipe work should be trace heated and lagged, and this must be routinely inspected and maintained.



Insurance Act 2015-       What it means to you

Insurance Act 2015- this became law on 12/8/16 and is much more user friendly than the old law which applied- there is a seperate FACTSHEET on the website for you to check if you follow the 'read more' link above. As always, if you have any doubts, call John Sweeney on 07900 692163.


Cyber Cover-                 Protect yourself online

Online crime is at an all time high- the culprits are clever, and employ sophisticated and professional methods to defraud you- cyber Cover is readily avaliable, quick and cheap- please contact us for details. 



Fail to Prepare               Prepare to Fail!

Recent HSE prosecutions continually quote that UK Companies must plan their jobs professionally with the safety of their workforce at the core their thinking- again, call us for advice and if we cannot help,we happen to insure several very good Health and Safety Practioners who could help you. 



Life Insurance                     Don't gamble with your life

You don't have to panic and go on the internet, not really knowing what you are wanting. We are completely independent and can sit down with you and discuss things- whether it is a simple 10 year Term Assurance or KeyMan Cover, lets talk.



Home Insurance                 Try Us!

You will be very pleasantly surprised- AXA, in particular, have a superb Home Insurance Contract- good cover backed by a quality insurer- you may not get a free pen or a cuddly toy.


But, what you will get is a very good policy and when the chips are down, our Managing Director will come to your home and sit down over a cuppa and conclude your claim professionally. 



Private Medical Cover           What's new?

We can arrange both individual and Group Schemes, many of which can be extended to include Family members and/or key members of staff. As always, happy to pop out and explain things for you. 



Cost of insurance set to rise in June 2017 with IPT increase

Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) is set to increase to 12% in June 2017. This is the latest of a number of recent increases to IPT and means that the tax on insurance premiums will have doubled in less than two years:

  • November 2015 - IPT rose from 6% to 9.5%
  • October 2016 - IPT rose from 9.5% to 10%
  • June 2017 - IPT will rise from 10% to 12%

What's IPT?

Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) was first introduced in the UK in 1994, and is a tax on general insurance premiums (including home, travel and mobile phone insurance). There are currently two bands, with 10% being the most common rate. A higher rate applies to travel insurance, appliance insurance and some vehicle insurance - which are all at 20% (the same as VAT).

Clearly the larger the insurance premium, the more significant the effect of the recent IPT change will be. So this will hit customers of home and motor insurance the most.



A very warm welcome to our new look website! 


Within these pages we'll do our best to reassure you, as insurance is not complicated. It's about getting the right balance. Cover, cost and quality of insurance company are among the factors you need to consider. 


Here at Sweeney Insurance Associates you will find straight answers with no waffle. We are legally bound to tell you how it is, warts and all. Hopefully we will cover most things, if not please call us. 


  • Established in 1988 at our Teesside Offices. 


  • Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority- Reference 310183. 


  • Members of British Insurance Brokers Association.


  • We hold the prestigious QUALITY MANAGEMENT award QMS ISO9001. We are independently audited to ensure our systems and controls meet the strict ISO9001 standard. 


  • Registered in England and Wales, registration number 2271457. 


  • NEBOSH qualified- John Sweeney.


  • IOSH qualified- John Sweeney.


If you are browsing through, enjoy the site- we will try and keep it fresh, topical and lively- we'll also try and be informative. 


If you need a second opinion on your insurances, please call or e-mail- Contract details are on the menu to the left. Thank You. 


J. A. Sweeney (Managing Director) 

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© Sweeney Insurance Associates •Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority- Reference 310183.•Registered in England and Wales, registration number 2271457.