Coleman Insurance Brokers are offering practical advice and tips to businesses on how to protect their business during the winter months when the risk of flooding is on the increase. Advice includes how to assess the risk, what steps to put in place for a business to deal with a flood and the need to review insurances.
Jeremy Tancock, Claims Manager at Coleman’s Exeter office advised, “Major flooding incidents, such as those seen in Cumbria this winter, have shown what a devastating impact the extreme weather can have on businesses, as well as families and their homes. It is estimated that there are some 260,000 commercial properties which are located in flood risk areas across England and Wales, but you don’t need to be located near a river or the sea to be at risk, as a business could be affected by ground water, burst water mains, sewer overflows, rain water running off hillsides or a sudden increase in rain fall. Businesses need to ensure that they are not only aware of their flood risk, but how they can be better prepared in the event of a flood.”
Climate change is producing more extreme weather patterns and more intense storm events. It is likely that over the next few years more properties will be hit by surface water flooding than by ‘traditional’ river flooding and most of these will be affected for the first time.
Jeremy added, “The chances are that a business will have a fire alarm and perhaps sprinkler systems fitted to protect their office against fire, but flood procedures are often overlooked, despite the fact that in certain areas a flood is more likely than a fire. We are urging businesses to review procedures in place to prevent flooding, understand their flood risk and consider how they would manage a clean-up if flooded. The Environment Agency provide up to date flood risk information online and the data from the risks of all types of flooding. www.maps.environment-agency.gov.uk
There is a free ‘business resilience health check’ that businesses can take advantage of. This is a website backed by the Environment Agency which provides a personalised report that outlines key actions that a business should address and consider. These include; are computers backed up on line or off-site? Do people know how to switch off water and electricity and who’s responsible for keeping procedures and contact lists up to date? www.businessresiliencehealthcheck.co.uk
Consider writing a flood plan which gives details on how to manage in the event of a flood. The Environment Agency have a free online easy-to-use template. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-your-business-for-flooding. The flood plans should also include how you would recover and get back up and running quickly. This might include considering where your business could be temporarily relocated or whether you could adapt your building, raising electricity points etc.”
Concluding Jeremy advised, “We particularly urge that it is good practice to review your insurance policies annually to make sure that your business policy does include flood cover and that cover provided is sufficient for your business. Give careful consideration to the sums insured under the Business Interruption section of your policy as well as the indemnity period associated with the cover. To make the process of submitting a claim easier, make sure your asset register is kept up to date. In the event of a flood, contact your broker immediately and they will be able to help you through the whole claims process.”