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Flood recovery – helping your customers

At a glance

  • The UK is now experiencing the worst floods on record
  • The average cost of repairing a three bedroom property is £30,000
  • We offer helpful guidance on how to recover following a flood

This article counts towards accumulating your annual CII CPD structured learning hours for Weather.

By reading this article, and correctly answering the three questions underneath, you will have achieved the following learning outcome: Identify risk management strategies for dealing with extreme winter weather.

Visit the CPD Hub to log in and begin accumulating CPD hours.

The UK is now experiencing the worst floods on record.  In 2013, for example, storm and tidal surge flooding affected more than 6,000 properties and resulted in 60 severe flood warnings being issued.

With recent years demonstrating the growing significance of extreme weather events, we offer some helpful guidance to share with your customers on how best to recover following a flood.

Flood Risk Insight Paper

Tip 1: Ensure your customers know to notify you

Your customers should notify you as soon as possible following a flood and provide information that will assist you in dealing with a claim.

In particular, customers should note the time the property was flooded and how long the water was in the home. In addition to this, they should make a list and take pictures of anything that is damaged by the flood. They must not throw away any items that need to be claimed for, as these will be used to support their claim.

Tip 2: Make your customers aware of the clean-up process

Zurich flooding

The insurer will arrange a three step clean-up process for a flooded property:

  1. Remove water and mud – The Fire & Rescue Service will pump out standing water, in addition to the use of buckets and pump. The process should be followed by a wet/dry vacuum
  2. Clean and disinfect – Floodwater will be contaminated, so the property should be disinfected after cleaning, helping to avoid mould and mildew
  3. Dry – Fans, industrial heaters and dehumidifiers will be used to dry out the property. Drying out can take weeks or even months and if completed too quickly, it can cause damage to the property’s structure

Tip 3: Explain the repairs process to your customers

The insurer will send an approved supplier to the risk address to validate the claim. Providing a customer has adequate cover, and subject to limits in their policy, the approved supplier will assess the repairs needed to put your customer back in the position they were in prior to the damage.

They will discuss the options available to the customer, which are likely to be either appointment of an approved specialist supplier for both building works and contents replacement, or, if the customer prefers, the use of their own preferred supplier/s.

Helpful resources

Below are several organisations that can offer additional assistance and advice on flooding:

Environment Agency
See areas at risk of flooding and sign up for flood warnings

National Flood Forum
Wide-ranging support for those at risk of flooding, including guidance on obtaining insurance in high risk areas

British Damage Management Association
Download a free suite of documents to support flood victims

Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Sign up for live flood updates and find out if there are flood alerts or warnings in force in specific areas

Whichever they choose, your customer will receive information regarding the required works and next steps including anticipated timescales.

If they have to move out of their home and into alternative accommodation this will also be discussed.

Customers must be made aware that once works are underway they will need to seek agreement from the contractor to ensure it is safe to enter their property if they need to.

How can you ensure your customers have the correct cover?

The average cost of repairing a three-bedroom property is £30,000. It is therefore essential that customers have the correct cover in place prior to flooding and ensure all items are insured for their true value.

Underinsurance is a common problem, but easily avoided with the right care and attention. Customers should go from room to room and make a note of all their contents. They should check each room thoroughly and work out how much it would cost to replace everything with new items of similar quality at today’s prices. Customers should always get a professional valuation or obtain professional advice for items that are difficult to replace, such as antiques.

Following a flood, Zurich is on hand to help with the recovery process. If you wish to discuss anything raised in this article, or require further guidance on how to prepare for potential flooding, contact your Zurich Account Executive.

You can also find out more and access helpful guides and insight with our new Flood Risk Resource.

Image © Getty

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