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Boost security and lower premiums with four-star systems

Enigma, Meck Lock and CESAR develop Thatcham-rated security systems

Tasked by the British insurance industry to combat the huge increase in the theft of construction equipment in the UK, the Thatcham Insurance Repair Research Centre has introduced a five-star rating scheme to categorize the security of construction plant, similar to that used in the passenger vehicle industry.

The five-star scheme is the most significant development yet in plant security and, in an unprecedented step, three UK suppliers of anti-theft systems – Enigma Vehicle Systems plc, Meck Lock UK and CESAR, provided by Datatag ID Ltd – have come together to meet the security challenge with new combined systems that are four-star rated under the Thatcham scheme.

Established in 1969, Thatcham is independently operated by a Board of Directors drawn from 31 insurer members who fund the organization’s work. The new Thatcham star ratings provide a layered approach to security measures in construction plant with one-star being the entry point, rising to five stars for a comprehensive security package, based on the following key security points:

  • vehicle identification
  • key security
  • immobilization of machine
  • peripheral security
  • after-theft tracking systems.

The Thatcham recommended minimum star rating for standard fit security is three.

Emphasizing the importance of the five-star scheme to the insurance market, Stefan Bramwell, underwriting manager at Allianz Engineering, said: ‘Allianz Engineering fully supports the Thatcham five-star rating initiative and urges owners of construction plant to consider the benefits of installing certified security devices to their machinery. Plant theft typically costs insurance companies on average £100,000 a day. Recognized security criteria, such as the Thatcham five-star rating, are allowing insurers to develop preferential rates and cover for clients who proactively adopt these measures, as well as helping to prevent theft of individual items.’

Matt Cain, senior underwriter – specialist classes covering construction plant insurance, at Aviva, added: ‘The Thatcham five-star system is fully supported by Aviva and our approach to plant security and the discounts available to the various types of security is currently being reviewed in the light of this new initiative. It is unlikely that the level of discount we offer for a three- or four-star system will be less than 40% - this is the current level of discount we offer for items both registered with CESAR and protected by a Thatcham P2 immobilizer.’

Chris Lloyd, chairman of Enigma Vehicle Systems, said: ‘Enigma, Meck Lock and CESAR are in the vanguard of rising to the challenge of the five-star initiative. Insurers will be using the five-star scheme to both mandate and incentivize the deployment of anti-theft systems. Without the Thatcham initiative, insurers believe that unprotected plant is a ‘soft’ target for thieves and this will be reflected in high premiums and excesses for insuring these machines. The Police are equally excited by the initiative as plant theft is rising rapidly and this will help in their clear-up rates and to reduce crime statistics.’

The four-star rated systems being offered by Engima, Meck Lock and CESAR are said to be the highest rated standard security systems available. They combine the Skyline GPS tracking and security system from Enigma, immobilizer products from Meck Lock and CESAR (the Construction Equipment Security and Registration Scheme) run by Datatag. The new four-star systems offer advantages over existing products, which are generally limited to only one machine or vehicle, because they are transferable, offering customers an investment in security with unlimited life that can also be updated in the future to incorporate new advances in technology.

Mike Briggs, vehicle security manager at Thatcham, said: ‘The five-star initiative arose from insurers’ concerns over increasing plant theft and the desire to elicit products and services in the plant industry that will have the same effect as similar initiatives did when they were introduced in the car and truck markets, where we have seen a 66% decrease in car thefts. Insurers have been very proactive and asking Thatcham to assess machinery fleets to encourage owners to have good security throughout their fleets. I haven’t seen insurers this galvanized since the release of Cat 2 products nearly 20 years ago.’

In use in over 600 businesses worldwide, the combination of tracking and telematics capability in Skyline has provided excellent results. For example, the recovery rate of stolen plant fitted with Skyline at one of the leading rental companies is running in excess of 95%.

Totally web-based, Skyline offers fully integrated Google road, satellite and hybrid maps. The system provides a configurable login, with the user able to customize client settings, driver settings, vehicle settings, user settings and vehicle icons. Skyline reports vehicle/plant movements (authorized or unauthorized), tamper, ignition state and a range of other data via eight input/output ports that can be used for monitoring additional sensors.

The four-star system provides access to all the features offered by Skyline, including detailed, relevant and user-friendly reports on plant or vehicle status on a 24/7 basis, which can be accessed from any computer, PDA, Blackberry or Internet-enabled mobile phone.

The new system also utilizes the CESAR system where each item of plant and machinery is permanently fitted with two unique and highly visible triangular identification plates that are tamper evident and contain a unique Datatag transponder. In addition, each CESAR system comes with a number of Datatag transponders or ‘tags’ permanently hidden within the machine that can be located and read with Datatag’s infrastructure of special readers. The CESAR system also includes hundreds of miniature Datatag Datadots embedded within another unique number permanently concealed throughout the machine making them virtually impossible to find and remove. Each CESAR system also contains a forensic DNA solution that is invisible to the naked eye and applied to the nooks and crannies of the machine.

Each machine and CESAR system is permanently registered on Datatag’s secure and accredited database that is accessible 24h a day, seven days a week for Police and customer enquiries. All self-propelled machinery and equipment is also registered on the DVLA’s Off-Road Register (ORR), allowing Police instant access to the Police national computer and registered keeper files.

For further information contact:

Enigma; tel: 0844 800 9926; email:


Meck Lock UK; tel: 08701 903090; email:

CESAR from Datatag ID Ltd; tel: 08450 700440; email:


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