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Weathering the Storm: How Businesses Can Prepare for Record-Breaking Insurance Claims

In the wake of the record-breaking weather-related insurance claims of 2023, businesses across the UK are left wondering how they can protect themselves from the financial impact of extreme weather events. With £573 million in weather-related damage claims last year alone, it's clear that businesses need to take proactive steps to safeguard their assets and minimise potential losses.


The Rising Cost of Weather-Related Damage


The Association of British Insurers (ABI) reports that the average claim paid to businesses and homeowners rose to £6,235 in 2023, an 11% increase compared to the previous year. This trend is largely attributed to the succession of storms, including Babet, Ciaran and Debi, which struck the UK last autumn. These storms not only caused significant flooding but also resulted in high winds and debris damage.


Preparing Your Business for Extreme Weather


As a business owner, it's crucial to have a comprehensive risk management plan in place to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events. This plan should include:


  1. Adequate Insurance Cover: Work with your insurance broker to ensure that your policy covers weather-related damage, including flooding, storm damage and burst pipes. Consider increasing your cover limits to account for the rising cost of claims.

  2. Property Maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain your business premises to identify and address potential vulnerabilities. This may include repairing damaged roofs, clearing gutters and downspouts and installing flood barriers.

  3. Emergency Response Plan: Develop a detailed emergency response plan that outlines the steps your business will take in the event of an extreme weather event. This plan should include procedures for evacuating employees, protecting valuable assets and minimising downtime.

  4. Business Continuity Planning: Create a business continuity plan that outlines how your business will continue to operate in the aftermath of a weather-related disaster. This may include identifying alternative work locations, implementing remote work policies and establishing contingency plans for supply chain disruptions.

The Importance of Government Action


While businesses can take steps to protect themselves from the impact of extreme weather events, it's clear that government action is also necessary. The ABI continues to press the government for further investment in flood defences and maintenance, as well as calling for changes to the planning system to discourage building in flood-prone areas.


Conclusion


As the UK continues to grapple with the effects of climate change, businesses must remain vigilant in their efforts to protect themselves from the financial impact of extreme weather events. By implementing comprehensive risk management strategies and working with insurers and government agencies, businesses can weather the storm and emerge stronger on the other side.



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