A company in flames – how Zurich helped

A company in flames – how Zurich helped

After a major fire, a paint shop in Ticino is at a stand­still. It takes ten months for all systems to be up and running again. The entre­preneur tells how he sur­vived this night­mare thanks to Zurich.
When he is alerted on his mobile phone about the fire, Fabrizio Dotta hopes for a false alarm. But arriving on site, his worst fears are con­firmed: His company, Metallizzazione SA, is on fire. It is September 14, 2017. He watches helplessly as the fire destroys a large part of the production facilities in the medium-­sized paint shop. "At that moment, you're obviously shocked," says the ETH engineering graduate, looking back: "You never think that it can burn down – you just can't believe it."

A twist of fate

Metallizzazione SA, based in Lamone near Lugano, was founded in 1957 and specialises in hot-dip galvanising, powder coating, industrial wet painting and zinc flake treat­ment. Its customers come in particular from the construction and auto­motive industries. One of its services is fire protection; it seems like a mean twist of fate that of all companies, this one would become prey to a major fire. 

A nightmare comes true

A few weeks earlier, a hailstorm had already severely damaged various hall roofs and the office roof. Fabrizio Dotta can hardly believe that some­thing is up again. On the night of the fire he doesn't go to bed until one a.m. – in the hope that he will "awaken from this bad dream in the morning". 

The damage is considerable

However, the picture is even more shocking the next day. The powder coating plant has been completely destroyed and the wet painting area has also been severely damaged. Fabrizio Dotta can immediately tell that the damage is consider­able. Initial estimates suggest total costs of approxi­mately two million Swiss francs.

"Great support"

Fabrizio Dotta immediately contacts his insurance company – Zurich. The respon­sible damage inspector is Francesco Schramm, a distinguished expert. He assesses the extent of the damage on site right away. Together with Fabrizio Dotta, he agrees the first measures so that at least part of the production can continue as soon as possible. He also provides an external engineer to advise on the recon­struction. "Mr. Schramm was a rock for us during this difficult time and gave us great support," the entre­preneur recalls. 

The goal: to retain as many customers as possible

In the coming weeks and months Fabrizio Dotta and Francesco Schramm get to work recon­structing the destroyed facilities. The goal is to retain as many customers as possible. "Thank God a competitor helped us and carried out work for us," reflects Fabrizio Dotta "This allowed us to continue to serving our customers. However, there are still consider­able losses in earnings; it takes almost a year for the company to become fully operational again. 

Survival thanks to swift assistance

Metallizzazione can survive in this situation because Fabrizio Dotta's property insurance also secures him against business interruption. This allows Francesco Schramm to immediately make payments on account to compensate for the loss of sales: "My customer is in need. So I have to help quickly and pragmatically. After all, he's taken out insurance for such emergencies."

Stressful period of uncertainty

To this day, the exact cause of the damage is still unknown. As always in such cases, the police are also investi­gating. They can rule out the possibility that the fire was caused by mis­conduct or even started intentionally. Those involved can breathe a sigh of relief. "This was also a very stressful time for my employees," the Managing Director recounts. Even though there wasn't enough work to go around, he didn't let anyone go. "Zurich's services gave me the leeway to act responsibly as an entre­preneur," he says.

Keeping a clear head in an emergency

Looking back, Fabrizio Dotta cannot blame himself: "I planned my system to the best of my know­ledge and belief, we had fire extinguishers every­where and my employees were well trained." Never­theless, after the fire he is investing even more heavily in prevention: "We regularly organise exercises with the fire brigade. This also gives my employees the self confidence they need to keep a clear head in an emergency." 

"Zurich was fantastic"

Metallizzazione has success­fully survived the crisis. Fabrizio Dotta can look to the future with optimism – and with gratitude: "Zurich was a great insurance company and gave us great support. The fact that we're still here today is really down to Zurich."

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