For manufacturers hit hard by last night’s storm, named St Jude, Sandra Jones, partner in the commercial insurance team at national law firm Weightmans has some words of advice to make it better.
Many businesses will be counting the cost following recent days’ severe weather. Such events can in particular have a huge negative impact on the manufacturing industry with storm and flood damage causing significant damage to property, equipment, stock and also to the distribution and transport network.
Manufacturing businesses need to act quickly to minimise the impact of such events on their businesses.
Ideally businesses should have disaster recovery or contingency plans in place to ensure that they can continue to trade or resume trading as quickly as possible following such events.
Most insurance policies will provide cover for storm and flood damage but not all will provide such cover as standard and so it is important that businesses are familiar with the extent of their insurance cover. Insurers will usually offer additional cover for stock and for losses caused as a result of the interruption to the business but usually at additional cost.
Businesses should be familiar with their insurance arrangements to ensure that they have adequate cover for the losses that they are likely to face from such events.
Most businesses will usually have arranged their insurance cover through a broker who can assist them in the unfortunate event of a claim and they should liaise immediately with their brokers and insurers to notify them of any claim and work with them to enable the business to repair the damage and allow the business to continue or to resume trading as quickly as possible.
It may be necessary for the business to relocate temporarily to enable it to continue trading should their premises be unusable due to weather damage. Again such cost may be covered under the terms of the policy but it is far better for the business to know in advance whether such costs may be covered rather than face an unwelcome surprise in the event of a claim.
As it appears severe weather events are occurring with increasing frequency, businesses should ensure that they have a plan in place for such events and ensure that their insurance arrangements are adequate for their needs or they may find themselves facing hefty losses as a result of weather related damage for which they are not covered by insurance.
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of such gaps in insurance cover.
Businesses should not forget to communicate with their customers if they are facing difficulties as they may be able to reschedule commitments without penalty.
It is critical that businesses act quickly in conjunction with their insurers to enable them to repair any damage and to continue to trade as efficiently as possible to minimise the impact of such events on their business.