How to prepare your business for storms, floods and bad weather

by David Woodfield on June 9th 2020

Has Storm Jorge juddered confidence, or Dennis menaced your premises? Or has Ciara been calamitous for your supply chain?? Let’s face it, it’s been a grim couple of months, even by British winter weather standards, and the wet weather looks set to continue throughout spring. 

Floodwater has washed out homes and businesses across the UK, and Storms Dennis and Jorge have left thousands of residents and business to count the costs of rising water levels.

But is there anything you can do to mitigate the risk of your business being affected by storm and flood damage?

How to protect your business from storm damage

High winds and driving rain can cause all sorts of problems for your business premises, from flying roof tiles to burst gutters and problems with damp.

The best way to protect your business from storm damage is to make sure everything on the building is as it should be, so look out for the following:

  • Make sure all roof tiles are secure and any broken or loose ones are replaced.
  • Make sure all gutters are properly attached and any blockages are cleared.
  • Keep all external doors, window and gates securely closed.
  • Secure all fences and fence posts and remove or secure all outdoor furniture/displays.

If you own your business premises then it’s on you to get all this sorted, but if you rent then it’s the responsibility of your landlord. 

How to protect your business from flooding

Flooding can be a massive problem when storms hit and you should always prepare for the worst, particularly if you live in a flood risk area.

It might sound obvious, but the best way to protect from flooding is to make sure you have a robust business flood plan in place, for both the short and long term.

Here are some things to consider as part of your business contingency plan for flooding:

Short-term flood planning

Check the Environment Agency website and seen that there are flood warnings in your area. It’s also worth taking a look at the live flood warning map – you should immediately start planning for the worst. Here’s how:

  • Make a list of important phone numbers, such as your business gas and electricity suppliers and your business insurance providers and keep them all in a watertight container along with any other important documents. Keep a torch and a fully charged phone in with the documents.
  • Use sandbags to block any areas where water could enter your business premises, such as doors, windows and airbricks.
  • If possible, move anything that is critical to the running of your business, such as stock, servers, computer equipment and the box of important numbers, to an upstairs room or as high off the ground as possible. If there’s anything you can’t move upstairs or that you still need for the day-to-day running of your business, such as furniture and fridges, try to raise them off the ground. It’s also worth moving them away from exterior walls to help with the drying out process once the floods begin to subside.
  • If the flood waters are imminent, unplug all electrical appliances, and turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies, and never enter any standing water if the electricity is still on, or even if you’re unsure.

Long-term flood planning

If you’ve ever been the victim of flooding, then it’s odds-on you’ll fall foul of flood waters again at some point. So, it makes sense to put long-term plans in place to protect your business against future flooding. Here’s how:

  • Replace any downstairs carpets with sealed wood or ceramic tiles.
  • Fit any water entry points, including doors and airbricks, with flood skirts and use water resistant sealant on doors, windows, and skirting boards.
  • Raise electrical sockets as high up the wall as possible.
  • Plaster walls with waterproof lime plaster and get a chemical damp-proof course.
  • Regularly check drains to make sure they’re clear from any blockages, which can exacerbate rising water levels, and fit one-way valves to pipes and water outlets so no water can flow back up them.

If you work from home and use a downstairs room as your office downstairs, it worth moving to an upstairs room.

For a business flood plan template, check out GOV.UK.

Although preparing your workplace for the worst can help minimise the impact of flooding, it can’t completely protect against the potentially devastating consequences of flood damage. 

That’s why it’s vital to make sure you have quality flood insurance in place. If your business equipment and premises is damaged or destroyed by flooding, you need to be confident your insurance will cover the cost and your insurer can cope with your claim.

How to get the best business flood insurance

There will be thousands of businesses owners out there who haven’t checked their insurance policy for years, which means they’ll have very little idea about what they’re covered for or even who they’re insured with.

Even if you keep on top of your policies, you could find that the cover you’ve always had in place is no longer enough, particularly if you’ve recently moved into a new premises that has been built in an area susceptible to flooding.  

The simplest way to make sure you’re covered is to speak to the business insurance team at Bionic.

We work with 40 of the UK’s top insurance companies, to make sure you have quality, tailored cover in place, no matter which industry you work in.

Our tech-enabled insurance team works with you to help you break down the insurance jargon, policy and cover information to find out exactly what your business needs. Taking the first step today can help ensure you’re watertight for the future.

How to make a business insurance claim for flood damage

The Federation of Small Businesses warned this week that up to 75,000 UK SMEs may struggle to find affordable flood insurance, but we know the business community is on the front foot. 

Insurers are experiencing a high number of flood & storm damage claims. We’ve seen a 70% rise in business insurance claims in January and February (versus the same period last year). If you need to make a flood insurance claim, you should contact your insurer as soon as possible - most have a 24-hour emergency number and will be able to give you help and advice on what to do next. 

And you can help speed up the claims process by making sure you have the following to hand:

  • Pictures of the damage. 
  • Receipts or invoices for damaged stock or equipment. 
  • A detailed inventory of damaged furniture, stock, products and equipment.

To make sure your business is covered, give Bionic’s tech-enabled team a call on 0800 804 4196, or by going to https://bionic.co.uk/  to start a quote.