Bad weather insurance warning for SMEs

March 17, 2017 9:47 am

When storms Desmond and Eva hit in the winter of 2015/2016, we reported that businesses had been hit very hard, with around half of all insurance claims made by the commercial sector. This makes the findings of some recent research rather depressing news.

According to Towergate, over the last five years two thirds of small businesses have lost revenue due to bad weather and nearly a third have suffered weather-related damage to property. Yet almost half have no business continuity plan in place to make sure they can carry on trading, more than two thirds don’t have any insurance cover to protect them – and even more worryingly 82 per cent say they have no cover for the effects of bad weather.

What’s really interesting is that it’s not necessarily damage to the business itself that causes problems. The highest-rated issue at times of bad weather according to the research is that staff can’t get to work, while reduced demand for goods and services as well as disruption to the supply chain are also key reasons.

We wrote two years ago about advice from the Federation of Small Businesses to have specific plans in place to deal with extreme weather conditions and this highlighted the same points. We’ve also written about the importance of taking out the appropriate insurance to protect your business against interruption and loss. We would like to repeat this advice now.

We would also add that, if the worst does happen and you need to make a claim on your business insurance, we would strongly advise that you bring in a professional to help. Time and again our commercial clients have told us that they had no idea how difficult and stressful it would be to make a commercial insurance claim at the same time as keeping their business afloat. Many of them have said they firmly believe they would have gone out of business if they hadn’t turned to us. You can read about their experiences here. You can also find on our website some useful guidance for small businesses on insurance claims and on protecting yourself against adverse weather.