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Insurers continue to support businesses affected by flooding

The insurance industry continues to support businesses affected by the recent flooding across the North of England and parts of Scotland. Today, the ABI has re-issued advice and support to help businesses get back up and running as soon as possible.

James Dalton, ABI’s Director of General Insurance Policy, said:James Dalton

“Throughout this winter, including over the festive period, a small army of insurers have been on the ground in cities and rural communities right across the North of England and parts of Scotland helping large and small businesses that have been flooded. Many insurers are operating 24 hour emergency helplines to give customers immediate advice and support.

“Being flooded will be extremely stressful and potentially very expensive for any business which is why insurers are working flat out to help firms get back on their feet and resume trading as quickly as possible.”

Businesses should:

  • Stay safe. Although it can be tough to see your business under water, take care before going into the premises to try to salvage equipment or documents, and heed any warnings from the emergency services and Environment Agency. Make sure electricity and gas supplies are turned off and that you’re not exposing yourself to dangerous debris or contaminated water.
  • Contact your broker or insurer. A lot of business insurance is sold via an insurance broker so if you used one when arranging your insurance, you should contact them in the first instance. They’ll advise you on getting your claim underway as soon as possible. It is generally a good idea to take photos of any damaged property or stock. With business interruption cover, where a building has been particularly badly damaged, an insurer may be able to look into the possibility of providing alternative business premises for a time if you are unable to trade.
  • Assessing the damage. If the building or contents - including stock and equipment - have been badly damaged, your broker or insurer may appoint someone to help assess the damage, once it is safe to enter the building.
  • Emergency payments. Insurers will be able to make emergency payments to deal with any business-critical needs.
  • Cleaning and stripping out. Your appointed loss adjuster will organise the cleaning and stripping out of your business if needed. This can only be done when the flood waters have subsided.
  • Disinfecting and drying out. Your loss adjuster should also appoint a drying company to disinfect and fully dry out the building. This process can take time depending on the extent of water damage.
  • Getting you back up and trading. A builder will be appointed to undertake repair and reconstruction work, or you can talk to your insurer about using a company of your choice, once a certificate is issued by the drying out company. Antibacterial and antifungal treatments will be included. There will also be an opportunity to talk to your insurer about whether you want to upgrade any of your damaged equipment rather than simply having it replaced, and to consider resilient repairs to better prepare your business possible future flooding.
  • Moving back in. Your insurer or loss adjuster will discuss with you when it is safe for you to return. In some cases this may be many months later, particularly if major reconstruction work is required.

Businesses that have suffered flooding, and others which are not under water but are suffering disruption, may have cover to help with a range of issues beyond damage to property and stock, including:

  • Paying salaries: Making sure employees are paid while your business is out of action.
  • Loss of profit: If you are able to continue trading there may still be a shortfall in profit and the amount of any downturn may be recoverable.
  • Increased cost of working: To enable you to trade effectively you may have extra costs such as additional advertising to make it clear you are still open, or temporary facilities.
  • Denial of access: For example if you see a fall in trade because of road closures, or cannot get to your premises.
  • Supply chain problems: Where a crucial business which supplies you with goods or parts is taken out of action.

There are usually additional cover options, so check your policy to see what you’re covered for, or speak to the insurer or broker you bought your cover from.

Last updated 01/07/2016