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.
At Darwin Clayton, we are always looking for ways we can help our customers to be prepared for every eventuality. Our expert partners at Lorega, a loss adjuster specialist, have put together a few tips for SMEs to help you mitigate this kind of loss.
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 for reinstatement of the supply.
- If services are still on, do they present a threat? For example, if a property is flooded, should the power be turned off at the mains to prevent short-circuits and possible fire?
- Act as if you’re uninsured. Make urgent decisions on the basis of what is best for the business and critical for business survival, not on the basis of what insurers may perhaps want.
- 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.
- If possible, move undamaged stock and equipment higher up and out of reach of potential rising flood water. If in two storey premises, move whatever possible from the ground floor to the first floor.
- In any event, move undamaged goods/stock away from damaged goods/stock. This will help to prevent contamination.
- If perishable stock, especially foodstuff and similar, has been saturated, try to dispose of it before it becomes a health hazard. Ensure it is correctly recorded and photographed as it is disposed of.
- 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.
- Take whatever necessary ‘Mopping up’ measures possible. Do not wait for someone to give permission!
- Ensure there is plenty of ventilation to the premises. This can help to prevent possible mould growth.
- If necessary, contact a Damage Management specialist to attend ASAP. They are able to assist with pumping out of water and drying premises. Details can be obtained from the British Damage Management Association (BDMA) – 01858 414278.
- Do not dispose of anything that may be salvageable. Try to store this separately and obtain assistance from a specialist damage management company.
- If the premises will be left unattended, ensure they are properly secured to prevent further loss or damage.
- If you’re a tenant, contact your landlord as soon as possible, (via the managing agent if appropriate) Advise them the position and request that they take necessary immediate action. You cannot start to recover your business until the building you trade from has been dried and repaired.
- If the premises are are no longer habitable, try to locate a suitable local alternative, if possible. You will be able to temporarily continue trading from there.
- Try to reallocate internal resources from unaffected areas of the business. This may help you to maintain future sales.
- Contact customers to advise them of the position, especially where immediate supply of promised orders is affected and no longer possible. You should also seek to reassure them of the longer-term position.
- Prioritise those customers key to business, as initial recovery of business proceeds.
- 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 the insurance claim is being agreed. This is especially important for any additional expenditure incurred to maintain the business.
- Contact your insurance broker as soon as possible. They will be able to either provide advice or point you in the right direction for specialist advice.
At Darwin Clayton, we want to help you to not only make sure that your business is adequately insured, but also that your claims experience runs smoothly should the worst happen.
We offer a no-obligation review of your current cover. We aim to ensure that you’re only paying for the cover you need – and we can also explain how a Loss Adjuster such as Lorega can make a difference if you ever need to make a claim.
To find out more, just get in touch in 01892 511 144