When your business has experienced a flood or storm, it’s often difficult to know what you need to do, and equally what you shouldn’t do, in order to mitigate the loss and reduce the risk to your business.
Angus Tucker, Chartered Loss Adjuster and Managing Director of Lorega Solutions has written up this helpful list, with easy tips and advice to follow in the event of a flood or storm.
1. Are services, such as electricity, gas and water, still operating?
If not, check the reason for this with the utility company, and obtain an estimate of reinstatement of supply.
2. If services are still on, is there a threat from these?
For example, if a property is flooded, should the power be turned off at the mains to prevent short circuits and a possible fire?
3. Act as if you're uninsured
Make urgent decisions on basis of what is best for the business and what is critical for business survival, not on the basis of what insurers may perhaps want.
4. Take photographs of the damage – the more the better.
This will assist in identifying the extent of damage for an insurance claim down the line, as memories can fade and become blurred.
5. If possible, move undamaged stock and equipment higher up out of reach of potential rising flood water
If in two storey premises, move whatever possible from the ground floor to the first floor.
6. In any event, move undamaged goods/stock away from damaged goods/stock
This will help to prevent contamination.
7. If perishable stock, especially foodstuff and similar, has been saturated, try to dispose of before it becomes health hazard.
Ensure it is correctly recorded and photographed as it is disposed of.
8. If you're uncertain regarding your position on the possible health risks of damaged stock/goods, and whether it is salvageable or not, seek immediate advice from the local Environmental Health officer.
They will inspect and issue certificates for condemned goods. Find your local Environmental Health Officer here.
9. Take what necessary immediate measures are possible for mopping up.
Do not wait for someone to give permission!
10. Ensure there is plenty of ventilation to the premises
This can help to prevent possible mould growth.
11. If necessary, contact specialist damage management drying and cleaning companies to attend asap and assist with pumping out of water and drying premises.
Details can be obtained from the British Damage Management Association (BDMA) – 07000 843 236.
12. Do not dispose of anything that may be salvageable.
Try to store this separately, and do obtain assistance from a specialist damage management company.
13. If the premises are now uninhabitable and will be left unattended, secure them.
This will prevent further loss or damage.
14. If you are a tenant, contact your landlord, via the managing agents if appropriate, as soon as possible to advise of the position and request they take necessary immediate action.
You cannot start to recover your business until the building you trade from has been dried and repaired.
15. If the premises are uninhabitable, try to locate suitable local alternative premises, if possible.
You will be able to continue temporary trading from these.
16. Try to reallocate internal resources from unaffected areas of the business.
This may help you to maintain future sales.
17. Contact customers to advise them of the position, especially where immediate supply of promised orders is affected and now no longer possible.
You should seek to reassure them of a longer term position.
17. Prioritise those customers key to business, as initial recovery of business proceeds.
19. Create a separate cost code in the accounts specific to the flood/storm damage and allocate all related expenditure to this code.
This will make it easier to track costs later when insurance claim if being agreed. This is especially important for any additional expenditure incurred to maintain the business.
20. Contact your insurance broker (or insurer if there is no broker) as soon as possible.
They will be able to either provide advice or point you in the right direction for specialist advice.
If you have a loss recovery insurance policy, you’ll have a chartered loss adjuster on hand the manage the insurance claim and advise on how to mitigate losses from the start. To find out more about this, click here.
Watch the webinar
Angus talked brokers through some winter weather advice on this webinar. Watch now.