Can you afford to ignore flood risk?

Small businesses are more at risk from flooding than fire - and the effects can be 30 times as costly as burglary - yet many businesses still do not have any measures in place to protect their property or staff from flooding, says , the Environment Agency.

The first step businesses should take is finding out if their premises are in an area at risk of river or coastal flooding by using the Environment Agency’s free online postcode checker.

Those who are at risk can register for the free Floodline Warnings Direct service that informs you by telephone, mobile, e-mail, fax or pager whenever a flood warning is issued in the area.

The Environment Agency also encourages all businesses to use its straightforward template to develop a flood plan, as those not at risk of river or coastal flooding can still be affected by surface water flooding in cases where drainage systems are unable to deal with intense rainfall.

The plan should include a list of important contacts, a map showing key equipment, protective materials and service shut-off points, and basic strategies to protect property, ensure staff safety and minimise business disruption if a flood occurs.

Questions businesses should ask yourself include:

  • Does my insurance policy cover all types of flooding?
  • Do we understand the different flood warning codes and what they mean in practice?
  • Are our staff familiar with flood safety procedures?
  • Do we all know how to shut off gas, electricity and water supplies?
  • Can we store valuable equipment and stock above flood level or take other protective action?
  • Are there any flood protection products we should be using?

Environment Agency chief executive Barbara Young says: “We know that small businesses have limited time and resources but, with climate change putting increasing numbers of businesses at risk of flooding, investing some time in preparation now could really pay dividends in the future.

‘By checking their flood risk and following our simple preparation guide, businesses can cut the cost of damage by as much as 90% and make sure they are protecting their staff and premises.”

For further information about how to prepare for flooding and to find out if your business is at risk please visit or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

Further Reading:

The steps to claim insurance business owners can take when flooding occurs – Practical guidance from the ABI

What is commercial combined insurance? – A typical policy will cover ‘Business interruption insurance’ which covers against financial losses from a fire, flood or other unexpected events

Adam Wayland

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

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