Make sure your business is wrapped up for winter

Dark nights, cold temperatures and wintery weather can cause major problems for businesses that aren’t prepared for the impact. Just thinking ahead to those aspects that will need extra attention during the winter months can make all the difference to your operations, and C&M highlight some of these:

Heating 

Check thermostats are in good working order and keep heating on timed or low when the premises is closed during holiday to prevent pipes freezing and bursting.

It’s important to know where the stop valve is so that if there is a flood due to a burst pipe, the water can be quickly switched off. Turning of the central heating and emersion heaters can also help minimise any damage.

Portable heaters are a simple way to boost the temperature on chilly mornings, but can be a fire hazard. Make sure that they’re clear of an obstruction, including items left on top of the heater, and don’t plug it into an extension lead. If you are using a portable heater you will need to let your insurance provider know. If you don’t and the heater causes a fire, your insurance could be invalidated.

Flooding

Heavy snow and rainfall and drains blocked by leaves can make localised flooding more likely during the winter months. It’s difficult to prevent this affecting your business all together, but there are pre-emptive measures you can take to help minimise the damage.

Keep sandbags handy if flooding is looking likely, make sure drains are clear of any leaves or other obstructions to prevent blockages, and keep valuable equipment and stock on higher levels if you have them.

Gritting

Something as simple as ice can cause serious injuries if someone slips or prangs their car. Keep well trodden areas such as walkways, car parks and entrances gritted, paying attention also to lesser used but vital areas, such as the fire assembly point.

Business continuity 

If you had to close your business due to heavy snow or damaging storms, how would you communicate out of hours to your staff and suppliers? Have you discussed how best to allow employees to work from home with your IT department, or a plan of action to get members of staff stranded at work safely home? These are questions that need to be raised before a problem occurs with a Business Continuity Plan.

Insurance 

Winter can bring a lot of problems to businesses, most of which can be covered by insurance providing you have the right policy in place. If you know that you’re in an area that is prone to flooding, you need to make your insurance provider or broker aware of this. If you do not, you might find you are unable to claim when you need to.

Claims 

If you do encounter a problem, let your insurer or broker know straight away. The sooner they are aware of the issue, the sooner they can begin the process that is going to set your business straight as quickly as possible. Details of the claim such as photos can help this process along the way.

If you are unsure as to whether your business insurance is winter-ready, speak to the team at C&M who can check this for you, and put any additional covers in place where needed. Call 01708 764 000 or email us at mail@cm-insurance.co.uk.

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