Hope for the best and plan for the worst: reducing the impact of loss of property

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In the face of property loss or damage, a business can suffer hugely. Not only could it be out of business for a period of time but it can also suffer reputational damage.

Many businesses prepare for every day struggles and potential incidents, but it is sometimes the unexpected big events that have the worst impact on a business.

Continuity planning

A good continuity plan can of course help you with unexpected events and limit business interruption. However, unfortunately statistics published by Zurich show that 60% of brokers see underinsurance issues due to clients trying to drive down costs. Understandably there are many elements that make a business want to drive down costs, but this is a risky choice to make.

In order to create a comprehensive continuity plan there are a couple of things that are sometimes missed and the things that seems quite minimal can make the difference and help keep your business operating.

You have the right comprehensive continuity plan in place, but of course, if you can help it, you want to avoid using it, so what next?

Minimising risk

Crucial to minimise the risks are four factors:

  1. Location
  2. Recovery
  3. Preparation
  4. Time

Location

Where is your business? Is it in a high risk area, susceptible to flooding? The location of your business can help you identify the risks your business could face. In 2013-2014 a stretch of extreme weather hit the UK and caused businesses £149 million worth of damage, which has resulted in flooding being one of the larger risks properties face. Even if the property hasn’t been damaged by natural hazards previously, we would encourage a thorough check of the area and plan for the ‘just in case’.

Recovery

What happens if the worst does happen? Do you reinstate or re-build your business? Luckily that’s something your broker will be able to help with.
Long-term effects of a damaged property and how quick you can react could mean the life or death of a business. It’s worth thinking about any secondary sites you have and where you could base yourselves if your usual premises became out of action.

It’s also worth thinking about whether your insurance covers the recovery of your premises. Zurich reported that, since the recession, re-build costs have become significantly higher, especially on new builds because of the way that they are built. It’s worth conducting frequent reviews of your insurance policy with your broker to make sure you have the right cover in place.

Preparation

Communication is key. If something were to happen you would need to consider all of your stakeholders and how they would be kept informed. Preparation that is usually missed within continuity plans include:

  • Making sure employees can work from home or a backup location
  • Collecting a list of alternative suppliers as well as their contact details
  • Considering the time it would take to replace large machinery or software

Time

Evidently, to limit business interruption you will need to think about everything that could add on (or takeaway) valuable time if something was to happen to your premises. A major part of this is making sure you are adequately insured. If your insurance covers you fully and correctly, you could be back up and running within no time. For example our client, at Jelf Claims Consultancy, Winstanley & Co Ltd, was back up and running after just four days after a fire. You can read more about their story here.

We would always recommend you review your insurance regularly and make sure you have the right plans in place to protect your premises as best you can. Here at Jelf, we’re happy to provide you with a free insurance review, with no obligation.

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About the author

Passionate about all things marketing. Louise is a chartered marketer who believes in a customer-focused approach to business.