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In deep water

21 March 2016

Flooding has wreaked terrible damage across the UK this winter with people forced to abandon their homes and businesses.

According to figures released by the Association of British Insurers for the month to 3 January 2016 insurers dealt with 20,000 flood claims which included over 5,000 property claims by business customers. During the same period £15m in emergency payments were made to businesses of all sizes.

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said: "The impact of flooding will be felt for many months to come in affected areas. Cleaning, drying out and repairing flood-damaged properties is a major undertaking. Insurers and their expert teams will be there for the long haul to help communities rebuild and repair."

If your commercial premises haven't been affected by flooding but you wish to take precautions against possible future damage, it's worth reading this article from Darwin Clayton. The insurance broker looks at the factors to consider when assessing how much insurance is needed so businesses can be confident that they're covered should the worst happen.

"Underinsurance can have significant consequences, from the inconvenience of unexpected bills affecting cash flow to the extreme of businesses having to close," James Shaw from Darwin Clayton warns. 

With flooding across the UK now becoming an almost annual occurrence, The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has issued an advice leaflet to remind employers that they have a legal duty to ensure that the health and safety of all their employees is protected. 

"It is not," the TUC says, "in anyone’s interests to ask workers to risk their lives or health either during the floods themselves or in the aftermath."

The leaflet can be viewed online at https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/HEALTH%20AND%20SAFETY%20ISSUES%20IN%20FLOODED%20AREAS%20pdf.pdf.

The guidance makes clear that, in extreme cases, the structure of the building will need to be checked before anyone is allowed in. If any staff are involved in the clean-up, there should be a risk assessment and they should be provided with proper personal protective equipment.