Keeping your business afloat - how Lockton can help?
A Guidance Note
from Lockton Companies LLP
As we enter the winter months insurers and their loss
modelling teams turn their attention to the expected weather related claims
which inevitably impact on their Combined Operating Ratios. A Risk which has dominated both headlines and
insurer loss statistics in recent years has been storms and subsequent
flooding. Last winter particularly
flooding caused major interruptions for many businesses in the UK, particularly
in the South West.
It’s not only businesses whose premises have been flooded
or damaged by the recent storms that are affected but interruptions caused to
supply chains, transport infrastructure and homes. The loss of all rail connections between the
South West and the rest of the UK cause a huge loss to local economies leading
to a number of business failures, redundancies and even the first privately
funded Toll Road in over 100 years to avoid lost time and additional expenses
The damaging effect of flooding on your clients’
businesses may well have a knock-on impact on your own business.
Similarly, if your staff are
unable to get into work, or a key supplier
as your internet service provider)
is unable to provide a service, even if
your office is superficially unaffected by the storms or floods, it could have
a crippling impact on the ability of your busniess to survive.
To assist we’ve provided action
points if your business premises are flooded, and we also look at practical
measures you can take to address the impact of these less direct threats to
Finally, if you don’t already
have a robust and up-to-date business continuity plan - now is the time to make
one, if you require advice and/or assistance, please speak to your insurance
Flooding First Steps:
your Business Continuity Plan, if you have one, and it is accessible. If that
is not available, the following guidance may help:
your staff - ensure that they are ok, and are kept informed of what is
happening. If you do not have contact numbers available for all staff, make a
list of as many staff as you can remember - and contact those you do have
details for. Use directory enquiries or social media sites if necessary. Set
out in advance what you will say to them - and ensure it is a calm and factual
. (a great start would be to
have a record stored off-site of everybody’s mobile numbers!)
responsibilities amongst management and key members of staff. Put in place a
‘call tree’ if necessary to make sure that key messages are communicated
efficiently to all staff, including support staff. Provide at least one
telephone number that staff can use to contact the office regarding emergency
any staff that are themselves affected by flooding or storms, and will not be
available to work - and factor that into subsequent arrangements.
Plan provisional working arrangements: Decide where you are going
to operate from, and
(if not your usual
arrange for all incoming calls from your office to be diverted to
there. Ensure that there is someone on hand to take calls - and provide them
with a clear script so that they can keep staff and clients calm and sufficiently
If you do not have a premises in another non-flooded location
(e.g. a branch office), consider whether you can share space with another firm
(including potentially a client’s business premises)
Work out how many people can work from the alternative
accommodation, and allocate people as required.
If you have any remote-working facilities (mobile devices linked to office email, web-based access to work email
and/or other IT functions via computer ‘desktop’, off-site server back-up)
check that these are working. If they are, check which members of staff are
able to access these systems. If it is not possible to locate all staff in
alternative premises, those staff that are able to work effectively using
remote access tools should be asked to do so
Contact Clients: Arrange for all clients to be contacted by the
relevant person, to inform them of the situation, how it is being managed, how
they can contact the firm, and how their work is being managed. Clients with
urgent live matters should be contacted first.
As with contacting staff, a template script should be provided to
ensure that the correct information is being communicated.
Public Relations: Reputation management is an
essential part of disaster recovery. A firm that is victim of natural disaster
will get sympathetic treatment from the media and the public - at least at
first. A firm that can demonstrate that it is overcoming the adverse
circumstances, and managing to put the needs of clients first, will be likely
to enhance its reputation. Have one point of contact for the press - and
instruct all staff to refer press questions to that person. Provide a
press-statement, and consider using a PR agency to assist in the process.
Contact your Insurer/Broker: Phone your broker to notify them that
you will need to make a claim on your insurance programme. If you do not have
access to your policy documents, your broker will have a copy, and be able to
guide you through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible. There
should be a 24 hour helpline for emergencies such as this.
Business Interruption: Check exactly what coverage you have under
(what provision there is for
relocation costs, for example)
- and check whether you have any loss of
gross income/profit business interruption cover - which could be a lifeline if
it is not possible to become operational again immediately.
Professional Indemnity: If you
have any concerns regarding potential missed critical dates, or other errors
and omissions resulting from lost documents or the inability to access
documents/systems - inform your Professional Indemnity insurer as soon as
possible. There is also a potential information security risk if abandoned
buildings are looted. Precautionary intimations do not prejudice your position,
and will not, themselves, impact on future availability or cost of cover.
your property: The first priority after any flood is the safety of yourself,
your employees, contractors and members of the public who may enter your
premises. Never re-enter premises until you are certain they are safe. Flood
waters are liable to have been contaminated with sewage, and may also have
damaged electrics in the building
not switch on any lights before an independent assessment of safety has been
. In extreme cases, the structural integrity of the building could
also be compromised.
mindful of your responsibilities under the Health & Safety at Work Act
1974. If your staffs are involved in assisting with any clean-up, ensure that
they are provided with, and wear, appropriate protective clothing and that you
have a record that they have received this and understand that this must be
used correctly. Sandbags and any debris
affected by flood water must be treated as contaminated, and should not be
handled directly. Be aware that there may be sharp objects floating below the
surface of any remaining water.
you access your property, if you haven’t already done so, turn off the gas and
electricity at the mains.
not use electrical equipment near any water.
you smell gas, call Transco on 0800 111 999.
you have concerns regarding your water supply, contact the helpline on 0845 746
to your local fire brigade regarding assistance in pumping out water from your
premises, though there may be a charge for this.
is also advisable to contact a pest control company, in case of vermin
at all possible, speak to your insurer before arranging emergency repairs or
throwing damaged goods away - as it’s likely that they may instruct a loss
adjustor to assess the damage. It is a good idea to take photographs of the
damage, for evidential purposes, and keep any receipts for repairs and
purchases for claim purposes.
How Lockton can help
Your Insurance is intended to
protect you and your business for crisis incidents such as these, where you
need it most. We understand that, as a business affected by storms or flooding,
that processing insurance forms is the last thing on your mind.
We can make the process as swift
and painless as possible - and, in conjunction with your insurer, will provide
as much assistance as possible to ensure that you get back on your feet as soon