UL provides link to approved firms

Web site provides info on hundreds of fire, security and alarm monitoring companies
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Sunday, August 1, 2004

NORTHBROOK, Ill. - In what could be a real boon for UL-listed fire, security and alarm monitoring companies, Underwriters Laboratories has rolled out a web site listing hundreds of security companies with the UL stamp of approval.
The site, ULalarmfinder.com, is expected to drive business to alarm companies by serving as a resource for businesses and consumers who need an installed and monitored security system that conforms with NFPA 72, a guideline for proper fire and burglar alarm installation, monitoring and maintenance.

“There are two things that drove it,” according to Isaac Papier, general manager of the signaling and security business unit at UL, who was involved intimately with the development of the program.

“These are national fire alarm code requirements and insurance agencies,” he said.

The first phase of the UL Alarm Finder web site comes after a year of development.

The web site enables consumers to locate UL-listed monitoring companies through the use of their zip codes, enabling them to find companies that monitor fire and burglar services that are in close proximity to their homes or businesses.

For communities that require adherence to national fire alarm code requirements, said Papier, the site offers community members a way to research third-party certification from UL-approved companies that are part of the community.

“It’s very, very simple. We completely eliminated all of the jargon,” said Papier. “This takes (the user) through the process and shows him what he needs, what it means and who can provide it.”

Insurance agents, by default, become the first point of contact to the alarm industry. The agents, who notify customers what their alarm needs are and how to attain service, can offer the site as a means to retain an alarm company.

Jewelry store owners, for example, are required to present a UL certificate to receive insurance coverage.

This month, UL will begin offering a hyperlink feature for interested companies on its site for a fee of $500 per year. For those that elect this feature, their web address will appear once its profile is displayed after a search.

By the end of the year, in the third phase of the site’s launch, UL will offer demographic information to alarm companies that wish to purchase the hyperlink feature, such as most sought after alarms and most queries by geographic region.

“We will be able to plot where customers are coming from and what they are asking for on a national basis,” said Papier. “And I think that may be some very valuable information to companies to be able to see growth trends or businesses trends on a national basis.”

In early July, the UL Alarm Finder web page experienced about 1,100 hits a day. UL has provided a banner ad and link for the new service on its main page, according to Papier, who said UL’s web site averages about one million hits a day.