Insurance · 19 January 2016

Small business at risk from lack of protection against the elements

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Underinsured small business owners risk losing £74,000 in property damages due to adverse weather

Adverse UK weather conditions damaged the revenues of three out of five small businesses in the last year, new research has shown, with over a third of owners admitting to not having a business continuity plan in place for such conditions.

Small firms lose two working days a year on average, according to the survey conducted by insurance broker Towergate, with staff being unable to get to work given as the most common reason for loss of trade.

Reduced demand for goods and services due to bad weather meant that 24 per cent of small businesses lost out, whilst 19 per cent reported that poor conditions actually prevented work from being carried out.

The research also found that three out of five small businesses remained uninsured against floods, strong winds, thunder and lightning, snow, ice or hail, despite 37 per cent having experienced property damage as a result of such conditions in the last five years. Owners risk £74,000 worth of damage to property a year on average, the findings suggested.

Commenting on the research, Towergate’s Drew Wotherspon said: “Too many firms are not protected against the erratic nature of British weather and risk bills for substantial damages whilst losing out on business earnings.

“It’s vital that small business owners take heed of weather warnings and take precautionary measures to allow them to get back to business as quickly as possible,” he added.

Small businesses in Wales and the North West of England reported the biggest losses to revenue outside of London. The research found these regions to be the worst hit by adverse weather whilst having the largest proportion of underinsured small firms. Nearly four out of five small businesses in Wales reported revenue losses due to poor weather, compared with the UK average of 69 per cent.

On 9 December last year, the government announced a £50m repair budget for homes and businesses affected by adverse weather conditions and flooding in the wake of storm Desmond.

Wales, Cumbria and Lancashire were found to be the most heavily affected by the storm, with professional services firm PwC predicting damages of up to £500m to the region’s businesses at the time.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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