Extreme weather incidents have become far more common over the last few decades. Jason Harden, Insurance Executive at Scrutton Bland looks at how businesses can plan for severe weather conditions.
Whilst it’s common for the winter months are likely to bring heavy rainfall, and possibly ice and snow, the number of severe weather incidents throughout the year has been increasing, with catastrophic floods in central Europe this summer, resulting in widespread damage and 196 deaths in Germany alone.
Businesses with a plan to cope with extreme weather will cope significantly better than those with no preparations in place. Furthermore, it is worth remembering that business owners have a legal duty to keep their premises safe from hazards such as snow and ice. The gov.uk website has information on whether your area is at risk from flooding, and you can also sign up for flood warnings by phone, email or text as well as advice on planning ahead.
- Plan for ice and snow by having snow shovels and rock salt available.
- Insulate pipes to prevent them bursting in freezing conditions: burst pipe claims (referred to as ‘escape of water’ in your insurance policy) are both expensive and disruptive.
- Sub-zero temperatures will put your building’s heating system under strain so make it has been serviced.
- Check your roof for leaks, loose tiles and unstable fixtures, particularly in old buildings.
- Have an emergency list of who to contact to keep appraised of the changing situation. This should include your insurance company’s claims helpline as well as local authorities, gas and electricity providers.
- Ensure your insurance cover is comprehensive: for businesses you should check you have policies to provide:
- Public liability insurance, which will provide cover against trips, slips and falls suffered by third parties
- Employer’s liability insurance, which will cover against trips, slips and falls by your employees
- Buildings and contents insurance which can cover against escape of water (burst pipes) and may include business interruption cover which protects against loss of income (or higher working costs) as a result of extreme weather incidents.
Scrutton Bland Insurance Brokers Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.