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Preparing for summer storms

By John Partington
Senior Risk Manager

As much as we might want it to, the dry weather won’t last forever, and in these hot and humid conditions there is a good chance that when the rain comes, it will be in short, sharp bursts with little or no warning.

Weather forecasting has improved significantly in the last few years, although there is still little warning of precisely when and where localised severe weather and cloudbursts occur.

In most UK property, roofs and drainage systems are designed to cope with extremes of weather but only if they are in good condition and can work as they are meant to. It isn’t always obvious that systems are becoming overtaxed until it’s too late. Emergency action and intervention at this stage usually has limited impact.

The consequences of water entering commercial property are, at best, inconvenient and in the worst cases, disastrous in terms of business interruption and damage to stock, equipment, fixtures and fittings and general contamination.

In some cases, the amount of rainfall exceeds the capabilities of the drainage systems and despite best efforts, water can get into the building. Planning in advance and taking a few sensible precautions could save disruption and money, should the worst occur.

  • Don’t store stock directly on the floor. Even raising it by 100mm can make all the difference.
  • If you can, avoid storing directly under valley gutters. If not, then try and store lower value, less vulnerable goods in these areas.
  • Electrical, electronic and other sensitive equipment may be directly under potential water entry points. In the short term, think how you can protect it, longer term ask yourself if this is the correct location for it.
  • Check that normal surface water drains and other flow routes are unobstructed.
  • Think about cellars, basements, trenches, pits, loading docks and other low-lying areas. After an extended dry period, water run off paths may be significantly different from the usual routes. If you have had any incidence of water ingress before then be prepared with sandbags or Floodsax

Free factsheet

Taking some time to carry out a few basic checks and maintenance can significantly reduce the chances of a damaging loss as a result of a sudden storm. To help businesses be more prepared, we’ve produced a free ‘Preparing for summer storms’ factsheet and checklist. You can download it here.

Risk management services for QBE customers

QBE helps businesses build resilience through risk management and insurance.

Depending upon the size and complexity of the business needs, QBE customers can access a wide range of risk management services, self-assessment questionnaires and risk management toolkits which are focused on the key causes of claims, and on generating action plans for improved outcomes - including protecting employees, reducing risk and making claims less likely. You can find out more about how QBE helps businesses to manage risk here.

Need to claim? Report it early

Finally, a reminder that if you have an incident and need to make an insurance claim, it’s important that you report it as soon as possible, ideally the same day. Reporting a claim early can save time and help you to receive any claim payments faster, as well as allowing us to help mitigate the cost of third-party claims.