- For homeowners
- For business owners
- For landlords
As the UK’s weather patterns become more erratic, flooding is affecting an increasing number of businesses throughout the country. Anyone within a potential flood zone should have a disaster recovery plan in place, which aims to get their business back on it’s feet in the shortest amount of time possible, should they fall victim to a flood. This includes issues such as practical measures to protect the property, a plan to tackle the clean up operation and business continuity planning. Continue reading for further information.
There has been at least one flood in the UK every single year since 1998, and winter 2014 (1 December 2013 to 25 February 2014) was the wettest winter recorded since records began over 250 years ago.
Flood experts estimate that if your business is situated in a flood risk area, you are 30% more likely to experience flooding, the consequences of which are potentially disastrous to your business.
With a bit of foresight and planning, you can effectively protect your business premises from floods and minimise the amount of damage that flooding may cause.
Your buildings, stock, equipment, fixtures and fittings insurance will offer cover in the event of flood damage. The cost of everything from drying out, repairing or restoring and removing debris, to legal fees should be included in your insurance policy. You should also have business interruption insurance.
When looking for a reasonably priced insurance policy that includes all of these features there are a few things you can do to help the process. If you are in a high risk flood area then try to contact an insurance company that specialises in flood risk cover. Contacting a wide range of insurers will give you a variety of policies to choose from, and an overview of the types of cover that are available. You can also invest in a flood mitigation survey, which will help you pinpoint what to do to reduce your exposure to flooding, and present your risk profile to insurers in the best possible light, which could reduce your premium.
For more information about making a flood insurance claim, read our full guide here http://www.morganclark.co.uk/guide-commercial-flood.html.
By preparing a detailed flood plan, you can significantly reduce the impact a flood has on your business.
Your flood plan should contain all the information needed during an emergency, such as contact numbers, and how your business will respond and recover from any damage.
Your flood plan should be looked at and updated every year; as your business grows, you will need to make changes to reflect this. Keep your flood plan in a safe and disaster-proof place (as well as in a waterproof document holder) along with any critical documentation like your insurance policy and important financial and legal documents.
With the unpredictability of British weather, floods can strike and wreak havoc at any time. By following these simple steps you can make sure you are well prepared for a disaster.
We have provided this quick checklist for you to easily print off, fill in and keep to hand with your other important insurance documents…
|Morgan Clark Loss Assessors||01978228646|
|Your insurance policy number|
|Your insurance company tel. number|
|Local gas-safe plumber|
|Local certified electrician|
|Key suppliers||(call them to delay, reschedule or relocate any deliveries)|
|Key members of staff||(with notes on any staff who may require additional assistance) and phone tree plan in place|
|Loss assessor Builder|
|Electrician Plumber/ heating engineer|
Contingency planning is all well and good but businesses who are in known flood-risk areas will want to take practical steps towards minimising the damage caused by flooding.
By taking such measures in advance it is possible for a business to save a considerable proportion of stock, equipment and other fixed assets.
There are many products on the market which can help prevent and protect a property from flood damage. Products approved by the British Standards Institution (BSI) are the most reliable, and these tend to be widely available.
It is also useful to familiarise yourself with how to shut off the essentials in your building too. If you have gas, water and electricity, knowing how to turn them off may come in handy when faced with rising flood water.
Checking www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood will help you keep an eye on the weather and the water levels of nearby rivers which might be liable to flooding.
The Environment Agency also has a system here where you can enter your postcode and your flood risk will be calculated – if your postcode is not recognised then you can also enter your nearest town or river.
By combining practical steps with the implementation of a flood plan, you can protect your home from the impact of a flood to the best of your ability.
Met Office – www.metoffice.gov.uk – to check weather warnings
Sign up to the Environment Agency’s direct flood warning system here
National Flood Forum – http://nationalfloodforum.org.uk – for advice, prior to or after flooding
– Fire and Rescue / Police / Ambulance / Coastguard – 999 – if somebody’s life is in danger
– National Gas Emergency – 0800 111 999 – if you are worried about or smell a gas
– Environment Agency – Floodline – 0845 988 1188 – for a 24 hour helpline / pre-recorded advice
– NHS 111 – for non-emergency health concerns
– RSPCA – 0300 1234 999 – for injured or distressed animals
– Highways Agency – www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information – for traffic information
– Citizens Advice Bureau – http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk – for insurance / claims advice
– Water company – http://www.water.org.uk/home/our-members/list-of-companies – to contact your local water authority
– County Council – http://www.countycouncil.org.uk – find your local county council for public health issues
Despite plenty of warning, planning and preparation, there can be some instances where even this is not enough to prevent your business from flooding. The clean-up operation can be a long, expensive and arduous task, but by implementing an effective plan prior to the flood, you can make this as hassle-free as possible.
Flood water can be very unsanitary, bringing silt, dirt and sewage into your premises.
Keeping yourself healthy in these conditions can be difficult, but there are simple things you can do to ensure you don’t endanger yourself or expose yourself to anything harmful.
When re-entering the premises yourself:
Always take care when re-entering the premises after a flood as the foundations and structure of the building may have shifted and may not be as stable as they once were.
The following should be carried out by a professional restoration company:
Clear thinking can be difficult in a crisis situation. Therefore, we’ve prepared a basic list of some items that you might like to have on hand before and during a flood:
Managing a flood insurance claim can be an extremely complicated affair, which is in turn time consuming and stressful for the individual responsible for managing the claim. A Loss Assessor alleviates this stress by managing the whole claims process on your behalf, which allows you to focus on keeping your business running.
As part of the claims management service, a Loss Assessor will typically offer the following services:
As the business owner, you have ultimate control over your insurance claim. You can choose your Loss Assessor’s style of management; this can range from handing over complete control (other than major decisions) to them, through to working in close partnership together throughout the process.
Put simply, the Loss Assessor will manage the entire insurance claims process for you, allowing you to focus on what matters most – getting your business back on its feet.
A flood at your business may result in loss of assets, stock, or even the premises itself. Such an event will likely be followed by pressures from your bank, staff, customers and suppliers. Your entire focus at this point must be on safeguarding the survival of your business.
Under the terms of your insurance policy, you should be able to claim for business interruption. Business interruption will enable you to recover any loss of gross profit you incur as well as any necessary increased costs of working.
Business interruption comes with its own complications and stresses, and for this reason you need an expert Loss Assessor on your side.
An experienced Loss Assessor will evaluate your total loss, based on the anticipated performance of the business over the period of the claim. This is not necessarily based on the turnover your business has achieved previously, but based on forecasts of what you would have achieved in the future, should the flood never have happened.
A Loss Assessor can assist you at any stage of a claim, however the sooner you bring them on board the better. Drafting in a Loss Assessor will help ensure you remain in control and that you receive everything you are entitled to under the terms of your insurance policy.
Loss Assessors will liaise with your insurer and all other involved parties on your behalf, including brokers, surveyors, contractors, solicitors, Loss Adjusters etc. This means that every aspect of your claim will be managed by the Loss Assessor, from the moment you bring them on board, to the day you move back into your premises.
There is a lot of confusion about the difference between Loss Adjusters and Loss Assessors. Whilst the two may sound similar, their roles in the insurance claim process are very different.
Depending which Loss Assessing firm you use, there is usually a degree of flexibility with regard to how you decide to manage your claim. The most common scenarios are as follows:
1. The firm will assign you a Loss Assessor, business interruption specialist and stock and equipment assessor. They will introduce you to expert chartered surveyors and building contractors who you might need to work on your reinstatement works. There is typically no fee for this arrangement.
2. You may want to use your own builder, in which case the firm will work with them to guide them through the claim process. You’ll still be assigned a Loss Assessor, business interruption specialist, stock and equipment assessor. Your Assessor will also introduce you to the most experienced chartered surveyors. By using your own builder you’ll likely incur a small fee.
With an abundance of Loss Assessors out there it can seem difficult to know which one to choose. Here is a list of questions to consider carefully when hiring a loss assessing company:
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