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How to safeguard your hospitality business against flooding

By Sandra Jones , 11-Jan-2016
Last updated on 12-Jan-2016 at 12:11 GMT2016-01-12T12:11:24Z

Photo; Thinkstock/Monkeybusinessimages
Photo; Thinkstock/Monkeybusinessimages

Sandra Jones, a partner at law firm Weightmans, advises owners of restaurants, hotels and pubs on how to protect their businesses from flooding and gives tips on what to do if you have been affected. 

It is not entirely unsurprising that restaurant, hotels and pubs have suffered a great deal from the recent flooding given their often scenic set-ups. 

It is now key that those affected put the correct measures in place in a timely fashion to avoid further damages, while those who have side-stepped the floods take note and learn how best to protect themselves in case of future weather hazards.   

Examine the risks

How can the sector best recover from existing damage while mitigating risk for any further destruction? Given the significant loss and disruption that has washed over the sector, businesses that have not been affected should find out as soon as possible where they lie in terms of likelihood of flooding in the future by seeking information from a reliable source such as The Environment Agency. 

Check your insurance policy

Flooding can be of added concern to this industry seeing as pub and hotel owners often reside in the same premises where they do business. As a result, when flooding damages actual buildings, fixtures and fittings, the loss can be particularly brutal. Furthermore when a business place is also a family home, insurance arrangements can become complicated as various insurers are often involved. 

While simple steps can be taken such as signing up for flood warning alerts, other practical measures that can be put in place are a little more complicated but certainly worth the effort. Ways to ensure mitigating damage from flooding include, first and foremost, familiarising oneself with the businesses’ insurance policy; what does the policy cover and does it need to be revised in light of recent leisure sector businesses that have found themselves under water? It is of utmost importance that the type of policy chosen reflects the very real issues facing this sector at the moment and covers business owners for this kind of loss and damage. 

Create a flood plan

Businesses can be extra prudent by creating flood plans, putting up flood protection barriers and drafting a written flood plan. Putting these measures in place can help cut down the risk from polluting materials, as well as protect stock, staff and belongings.  

Mitigate the damage

If your business has been flooded, being able to mitigate damage as soon as possible can be essential to a business, especially new ones, who might be struggling to stay afloat.

Visual proof illustrating the extent of the damage should be captured and used to help with discussions with insurers, while any other records should be gathered to evidence the value of damaged items. It is important that nothing is thrown away, as objects can assist in calculating any claim for loss of trade/profits. It is important that all relevant information is presented to the insurers as soon as possible, while keeping consistent contact with insurance representatives to lessen disruption to the business and therefore loss of trade.

Remember support is available  

Business owners should remember that they are not alone and use all sources they can make use of to help mitigate damage and loss of profit. There are support and grants available for those needing assistance with their recovery. HMRC, major banks, local authorities are sympathising with businesses who have fallen victim to the floods by applying discretion with regards to meeting liabilities.