Practical Advice: Businesses At Risk Of Flood

As we get closer to spring, many businesses in the UK are keeping an eye on the weather forecasts and hoping that they won’t be facing severe Flood warnings this year. Several businesses are in high risk flood areas and it can be incredibly difficult to get adequate insurance if an insurer decides the risk is too great.

Check your long-term flood risk

The more claims you have to file, the more likely it is that you’ll find yourself hit with high premiums and excesses, resulting in it becoming more and more difficult to adequately insure your business, and it can be very difficult to keep a business running through such a flood. Anything you can to mitigate the damage caused by flooding will make it easier to keep business running as normal and can make insurers more comfortable taking on the risk.

One of the best ways to make sure you’re still in operation if the worst happens is through good preparation. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can help protect your business from suffering a significant loss in event of a flood.

Before a flood

  • Where possible, move essential business equipment and files to an upper level, or a high level (including your insurance documentation!)
  • Make sure you frequently back up any customer data and files
  • If you have a ground floor kitchen, you can raise some of your white goods on a plinth, this will be easiest for non-integrated items such as a standalone fridge/oven etc.
  • Invest in some flood barriers and keep them in a designated place so they’re easily found on short notice
  • If possible, install a non-return valve in your sewer pipes to protect your place of business from a nasty surprise
  • Where possible, invest in flood-resistant building upgrades such as permeable surfacing on any drives and pathways, or flood resistant wall plaster
  • Look into moving electrical sockets and wiring to high positions
  • Prepare a Business Continuity Plan to understand the processes you will need to follow to recover in event of a flood

During a flood

  • Prevent water getting into your premises where possible by using flood barriers such as sandbags or lightweight options available on the market 
  • Move any furniture and property that you can to a higher floor level or raised location
  • Check to see if your gas/water/electricity supply is working, and if not, call the suppliers to report it and find out how long you can expect it to be out for
  • Switch off any gas/electricity supply that might be affected
  • Take plenty of photographs of any damage, as well as your efforts to mitigate the damage
  • When in contact with floodwater, wear protective clothing where possible
  • Call your insurance broker to let them know you are affected

After a flood

  • Do not dispose of anything until you have photographed it for your records
  • Contact your broker or insurer to make your claim
  • If you have previously purchased Loss Recovery Insurance, your Loss Adjuster will be able to help you with the following, otherwise you will need to arrange it yourself
  • Arrange for a Gas Safe engineer to check your gas appliances
  • Arrange for an approved electrical contractor
  • Make sure the building is structurally safe
  • Remove floodwater by roughly a third of the total each day as getting rid of it too quickly could cause buckling
  • Ventilate and dehumidify the property, but if you’re using a diesel generator make sure you’ve got a carbon monoxide detector
  • Discuss with your insurer and landlord what flood resilience measures can be incorporated into the repairs

If you want to discuss any of the above points or simply get some insurance, give us a call Monday-Friday, 9-5:30 and we will do our best to help you.

Every business is different, and we want to make sure you have the best options available to you, no matter how difficult the circumstances.