Flood Security Checklist: Is Your Small Business Prepared for Flooding?

By SME Insurance

Posted 29/12/17

With at least one major flood every year since 1998 [1], flooding is the most common natural disaster affecting the United Kingdom [2]. The floods that occurred over Christmas 2015 cost £5billion of damage, with businesses across the UK facing financial difficulties due to insufficient preparation and insurance [3]. The Met office is predicting more floods this winter, with an estimated 5 million properties at risk [4] and parts of the UK already experiencing disruptive rainfall. Flooding can never be fully prevented so it’s vital that your business is adequately prepared, should you be affected [5].

Sign up for Advance Flood Warnings

Businesses in England can use the Government website to keep an eye on flood warnings in their local area. To make sure you don’t miss anything, sign up to receive these warnings directly by email, text or phone. There are separate initiatives if you are based in Scotland or Wales, and a flood map for Northern Ireland. These warning systems should help you take steps to protect yourself should you face an imminent flood [6].

Make Sure you are Adequately Insured

Many businesses faced potential financial ruin after the heavy floods of 2015 due to inadequate insurance [7]. In addition to the costs involved with damaged stock, public-facing businesses such as cafes and shops experienced a loss of earnings as they got back on their feet, which some insurance packages had not taken into consideration [8]. The best way to ensure you are adequately protected is to call up and speak to someone who can take you through the process with your particular business in mind. This may be better than relying on an online comparison site or some direct insurers which typically don’t provide advice and therefore require you to know exactly what you need yourself, as well as understanding exactly what you’ll be covered for [9]. If you would like to speak to SMEi about business insurance please call 0330 134 4564.

Protect Your Business

There are measures you can take to protect yourself if your business is located in an area that is prone to flooding. Recommendations include: keeping flood boards that you can put up when a flood is imminent; sealing floors to prevent water seeping into the property through the ground; fitting non-return valves on drains as well as inlet and outlet water pipes; raising shelving and electrical sockets, fuse boxes and wires to above 1.5 metres; and keeping a pump on the lowest level of the building to help remove water when needed. You should also make sure that staff members are adequately trained and aware of your flood plan (see below) [10].

Create a Flood Plan

With preparation it is estimated that businesses could save between 20 and 90% of their stock and movable equipment, be better protected financially and help keep people safe. In addition, if you run a business such as a pub or a restaurant where you are likely to have customers on the premises, it’s important to be confidently prepared to evacuate them as well as staff.  That’s why it’s highly recommended that businesses create a plan that will help them take the best course of action in the event of a flood. This plan should include a list of contacts; a step-by-step guide outlining what to do in the lead up to, and during the flood; a description and map of key property, shut off points and protective materials; and a strategy for protecting property, preventing business disruption and aiding recovery.  There is a useful template on the Government website [11].

Visit the Government website for further information on remaining safe and protecting your business during a flood. If you would like to discuss flood insurance please call a member of the SMEi team on 0330 134 4564.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/410606/LIT_5284.pdf

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/26/major-flooding-in-uk-now-likely-every-year-warns-lead-climate-adviser-storm-desmond

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/28/uk-floods-costs-financial-ruin
[4] https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/barometer/advice/your-home/protecting-your-property-from-flooding
[5] https://www.brokerbriefcase.co.uk/contentdetails/3138/
[6] https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/28/uk-floods-costs-financial-ruin

 [8] https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2016/dec/26/floods-businesses-picked-up-pieces-north-england

[9] https://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/about-flooding/insurance/household-insurance/
[10] https://www.brokerbriefcase.co.uk/contentdetails/3138/
[11] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/410606/LIT_5284.pdf

 

Posted 29/12/17

Author: SME Insurance

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