Following prolonged drought conditions, the UK is facing a heightened risk of flooding due to a combination of drought-impacted soil and the heavy rainfall events typically seen during the winter months. On 2 November 2022, the London Fire Brigade reported that it was called to about 45 flooding-related incidents overnight as floodwater engulfed parts of the capital,i and this is likely to be the first of many such events this winter.
Why is flood risk increasing?
According to the Environment Agency, as many as one in six properties in England are at risk of flooding,ii either from rivers or the ocean, and six of the 10 wettest years on record have occurred since 1998, with the effects of climate change becoming clearer.
This winter, the UK is predicted to experience global weather patterns, particularly La Niña, which will have an impact on the likelihood of flooding. According to meteorologists, this risk will increase through January and into February 2023. In some areas, the soil remains less able than usual to absorb heavy rain due to the unprecedented dry spell the UK experienced in the latter half of 2022. These conditions are coming together to create the ideal conditions for extreme flooding events.
How can you protect your business?
Preparation is everything when it comes to protecting your business from the risk of flooding. This doesn’t simply mean preventative measures—although this is important—but also considerations of how you would limit business interruption in the event that your premises were severely affected by a flood. This could be because your building (and, possibly, contents) are directly damaged by floodwater, or it may be because your property becomes inaccessible for a period of time due to surrounding floodwater.
Is obtaining flood insurance more difficult now?
The extreme weather events of recent years have seen some insurers unwilling to offer cover for businesses that have previously flooded or that are in high flood risk areas. However, we can support businesses of all sizes by arranging adequate levels of flood cover—even if you have had difficulties securing this kind of cover in the past. We will base your cover on your actual exposure to flood and calculate an estimated maximum loss, and we can also offer flood excess insurance to cover the flood excess amount.
In addition to providing flood insurance cover, Gallagher provides a risk management service which includes flood inspection, reporting and surveys. We can act as your risk management partner to help you build a flood contingency plan to reduce your exposure and also speed up recovery should your premises suffer flood damage.
As mentioned above, it can also be vital to review your business interruption cover, bearing in mind the increased risk of extreme weather events and flooding. Would your current limits and indemnity periods be sufficient if you suffered property damage that resulted in the building being unusable for an extended period of time? This is a particularly important consideration, bearing in mind the increased costs and lead times of building repairs in the current climate.
Talk to a specialist
To find out more about how Gallagher can help your organisation prepare for the risks that winter weather can bring, or if you would like to talk to us about your insurance requirements, please get in touch with our team below.