Emergency Preparedness, Grounds Management, Human Resources, Maintenance and Operations, Plumbing, Safety, Sustainability/Business Continuity

Preparing Your Business for Unpredictable Weather and Vulnerabilities

During spring, businesses often find themselves confronted with the unpredictable nature of changing weather patterns. Recent forecasts have indicated a “Polar Coaster Spring,” marked by fluctuating temperatures and potential severe weather events. As the seasons transition, here are a few steps to help better prepare and protect your business, mitigating risks and ensuring continuity in operations.

Diversify Supplier Relationships

In today’s global economy, businesses rely on a network of suppliers to maintain seamless operations. The impact of unpredictable weather events, however, can disrupt supply chains and lead to costly delays or shortages. To mitigate these disruptions, businesses should proactively establish relationships with alternate suppliers. Diversifying the supplier base enables businesses to reduce their dependence on a single source and minimize the risk of supply chain bottlenecks or shortages. Beyond risk mitigation, leveraging alternate suppliers also fosters competition among suppliers, driving efficiency and innovation within the supply chain. Negotiating better terms, pricing, and delivery schedules ultimately enhances overall operational resilience and competitiveness in the market.

Inspect Property, Company Vehicles, and Equipment

Ensuring company vehicles are in good working order is important, so check brakes, tires, and fluid levels. It’s also important to make sure any backup generators, sump pumps, and fire safety and alarm systems are working properly.

Neglecting to examine critical infrastructure components like plumbing can have disastrous consequences, ranging from water leaks to burst pipes, leading to extensive property damage and operational downtime. Conducting thorough assessments of plumbing and pipes enables companies to identify and address potential issues proactively, preventing them from escalating into emergencies.

Businesses can prioritize plumbing by leveraging technology-driven solutions to enhance maintenance efforts. Implementing sensor-based monitoring systems allows for real-time detection of leaks or anomalies, facilitating proactive intervention before issues escalate. Additionally, investing in water leak detection devices and automatic shut-off valves provides an added layer of protection against potential water damage.  

Keep a Clean and Well-Maintained Property

A well-maintained property creates a positive impression on customers and visitors. More importantly, keeping a clean and landscaped property can significantly mitigate the risk of structural damage and power supply disruptions during severe weather events. Proactive measures such as pruning trees should be a priority, especially for businesses operating in areas that are susceptible to hurricanes.

Additionally, landscaping plays an important role in managing water runoff and drainage, particularly in flood-prone areas. Proper grading and drainage systems help prevent water from pooling around buildings, reducing the risk of water infiltration and structural damage. Implementing erosion control measures, such as retaining walls and permeable surfaces, further enhances the resilience of properties against the impacts of heavy rainfall and flooding.

Meet with Your Insurer Regularly

Taking preventive actions to protect your business is critical; however, some losses are unpredictable. That’s why it’s important that businesses meet with their insurers regularly to ensure they have the right coverage for their specific needs.

In the event of property damage, having thorough documentation is critical for executing insurance claims and restoration efforts. Utilizing photos and video will accurately capture the extent of damage and facilitate a smoother resolution process. This visual documentation will provide valuable context for insurance adjusters and restoration professionals. Businesses should also provide written descriptions of the damage, inventory lists of affected assets, and incident reports. Be sure to collect and secure damaged parts or components for review by claims professionals and consideration for subrogation.

By maintaining accurate records of damage, businesses can ensure clarity and consistency in their communication with insurance providers and other stakeholders while minimizing the risk of disputes or delays in claim processing.

Develop a Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan outlines strategies and procedures to maintain essential operations. It will help a business recover more quickly from disruptions, adverse weather events, or other emergencies. The key actions of a business continuity plan include identifying potential hazards and vulnerabilities; developing strategies to mitigate identified risks; educating employees on their roles and responsibilities during emergencies; establishing clear communication channels for all stakeholders; outlining steps to recover operations and restore normal business functions following a disruption; and regularly testing and updating your business continuity plan through drills and simulations.

Whether it’s establishing relationships with alternate suppliers to maintain supply chain stability or conducting preemptive inspections of plumbing and infrastructure to prevent costly damage, having a business continuity plan in place and taking steps to mitigate risks and exposures this spring can help minimize loss and ensure a quicker recovery if something does go wrong.

Ted Cabaniss is AVP of risk solutions and Monique McQueen is VP of property claims at insurance company QBE North America. The information and recommendations presented in this article are for general informational purposes only.

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