Gallagher releases flood survival guide for business owners

Gallagher releases flood survival guide for business owners

As flood-affected areas in Australia brace for more heavy rain, the insurance industry continues to provide tips on preparing their flood response.

In its latest blog, Gallagher advised business owners to take the following actions to protect their business from flood risks:

Ask your local council to provide information about previous flood levels;
Make an updated list of business assets, room by room;
Ask authorities about recommended evacuation routes and emergency centres; and
Educate staff about evacuation routes and the assembly point.

Gallagher further advised business owners to review their insurance and ensure they understand what exclusions apply and know if they can afford to stop revenue-earning operations during a crisis or a rebuild and if they are covered for total replacement if the premises are destroyed.

“Consider getting a quote from a reputable builder for rebuilding your business premises at today’s rates. You could also consider getting an insurance valuation report which estimates the total cost, including aspects that may be otherwise overlooked: demolition, professional fees, and escalation. Your sums insured and business interruption policies should cover a worst-case scenario,” Gallagher said.

Read more: Flood-affected towns brace for more heavy rain

When preparing their premises for flood evacuation, business owners must:

Keep an emergency kit with first-aid supplies, a torch, portable radio, spare batteries, and drinking water and ensure staff know where it is located;
Ensure vehicles are fuelled and ready to leave, with a car mobile phone charger inside. If you plan to leave by boat, have it secured where you can reach it;
Safeguard important business data by backing it up to a safe location (such as the Cloud), with key documents stored in a waterproof container;
Secure hazardous items, move portable equipment to a higher level, and protect it with waterproof covers before leaving the premises;
Sandbag toilets to prevent overflow;
Turn off water, gas, and power; disconnect fuses; remove lightbulbs and empty fridges; and lock the doors; and
Inform the police or emergency services that you are evacuating.

When returning to the premises after the flood, Gallagher said business owners must wait until the all-clear advice has been issued while monitoring information lines, media, or the internet for the updated status of their area. Additionally, the brokerage advised business owners to:

Ensure mobile phone is charged. They must also inform someone where they are going and be aware of hazards like downed power lines, which can create an electrical field in water;
Take a torch and protective clothing, including gloves and rubber-soled footwear;
Avoid entering property until the authorities give permission;
Check with electricity, gas, and water utilities to check if the supply has been reinstated. Do not switch the electricity back on until an electrician has checked it;
Proceed with caution, especially regarding floors, stairs, and sagging ceilings;
Do not smoke or use an open flame as pockets of gas may be present; and
Be aware that the drying out process can take months, so it is best to delay repairs and renovations until this is complete.