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Extreme weather: Business continuity and damage limitation

At a glance

  • Environmental concerns dominated the Global Risks Report 2020 'most likely' risks
  • Extreme weather events remained the most likely risk for the fourth consecutive year
  • Brokers should ensure that their customers have the correct cover, and plans, in place to deal with extreme weather as best as possible.

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

By reading this article, and correctly answering the three questions underneath, you will have achieved the following learning outcome: Summarise the key components of a business continuity plan and/or the benefits of supply chain risk management.

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

With environmental concerns dominating the most likely risks we’ll see in the 2020 Global Risks Report, and extreme weather events voted the most likely to occur this year for the fourth time in a row, it is important that businesses and individuals are prepared should instances occur.

Extreme weather events, such as Storm Brendan this month, can cause disruption across the UK with businesses and individuals suffering. Late last year, flooding in Yorkshire and the Midlands was estimated to have cost £110 million in claims, of which £58 million was for business property and stock – an average cost of £70,000 for flooded business.

It is important that businesses, both large and small, and individuals are aware of extreme weather events and have plans in place to reduce the damage where possible.

Business continuity

Businesses should approach extreme weather events such as storms and the ensuing winds and floods that could occur in two ways, from a business continuity and safety perspective, and from an employee safety standpoint too.

Planning for business continuity is crucial for every business, no matter the size. For larger companies, whilst it is more likely that plans have been put in place previously such as backup generators for electricity, they will also need to ensure the safety of staff even if this means shutting offices.

Safety of staff can vary from organisation to organisation, and can differ depending on the type of storm – strong winds, for example, compared to flooding or snow. In companies where working from home is an option, this is often a good way to ensure staff safety especially where travelling could prove dangerous. For those where this is difficult, alternatives should be considered ahead of time and planned for accordingly – if, for example, a call centre cannot safely get staff in, phone lines should be updated with an appropriate message and customers notified.

Damage Limitation

For smaller businesses, for example high street shops, extreme weather can often be disastrous. Flooding is a common result of extreme weather, and flooding can damage shop floors, equipment and stock if allowed in. Whilst often used for homes, sandbags can be a good way to fight against flooding entering a shop or office on ground level.

Similarly to small businesses, individuals should also take appropriate care and plan to defend their home where possible. Whilst some damage is inevitable, significant damage such as flooding can, at times, be prevented or damage limited. Ensuring that any wires are removed and stored high up, sandbags or an equivalent are placed outside the home to combat flooding, and any items of high valuables are moved either to a higher floor or moved above ground as much as possible are all ways to try and reduce the damage flooding can bring.

With further extreme weather forecast it is important that plans are in place to reduce damage, and health and safety risk, wherever possible. Brokers should ensure that their customers have the correct cover in place to deal with extreme weather as best as possible.

For more information on the topics discussed in this article, please get in touch with your local Zurich contact.

To read the Global Risks Report 2020, download the full report or executive summary below:

The Global Risks Report 2020

The Global Risks Report 2020: Executive Summary

Image © Getty

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