With the winter months coming in thick and fast, one of the UK’s leading independent insurance brokers, Towergate Insurance Brokers, advises businesses how they can protect their assets during the winter months.
As employees take annual leave and offices and factories shut for the Christmas and New Year period, add to that the adverse weather conditions, there are several ways in which a business can help to safeguard their assets over the winter months.
Risk Management is increasingly becoming a key factor for any business, whether it is day-to-day activities or having a solid Disaster Recovery Plan in place should the worst-case scenario become reality. Weather-related scenarios are no exception and below are a number of steps that businesses can take to reduce the likelihood of a weather-related event disrupting them over the winter months:
Be prepared. Winter weather is much easier to endure if you’re ready for it. Having an emergency supply kit, as well as a backup power generator, is a good place to start but with icy and slippery roads and pavements, slips, trips and falls can become a regular event in the winter and the last thing a business needs is additional costs if the victim finds you liable. Keep an up-to-date inventory list and photos of your business, both interior and exterior, along with insurance policies and other important documents stored in a safe location.
Be pro-active not reactive. There are small steps you can take before the weather turns ugly. Having your gutters emptied and cleaned at the beginning of winter could prevent issues such as flooding, power outages or leaks into the building. Ensure all external windows and doors seal properly and are lockable. Wind and rain can sneak through the cracks of theses areas and whilst the premises are empty, you don’t want to offer people an easy opportunity to break-in and help themselves to your stock or IT equipment.
Ensure maintenance contracts are up to date. If you know that your business premises are going to be empty over the Christmas and New Year period, ensure that your fire extinguishers, alarms, and security systems are well-maintained and checked prior to closure. If you own commercial premises, It is recommended to have you electrics tested regularly or on a change of tenancy. You’d be surprised at how many fires are the result of electrical failure.
Have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place. All businesses should plan for the absolute worst-case scenario, for example an event or other emergency that prevents you from getting access to your place of work or premises. You must therefore plan to ensure that business can continue in the interim with minimal disruption, such as call diversions, working laptops with access to your business system and key documentation. When you have prepared for this, store your document in a safe, accessible location off site.