As we enter into a new Winter season, who can forget “THE BIG FREEZE OF 2021”? Most of the US was severely impacted by unprecedented cold temperatures. It wasn’t stressful enough to begin dealing with the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, then Mother Nature decides to drop a harsh reminder of who is actually in control…. As business owners, we are faced with many challenges, but no one could predict the impact this weather event had on our businesses, our economy and us as individuals. Not only was the physical contents and plumbing at risk, but many businesses were forced to shut down until repairs could be made.
Preparation in anticipation of a cold weather event can mean the difference between mild inconvenience to shutting down your business for weeks or months. Unsurprisingly, frozen pipes are the number one cause of claims during cold weather. Depending on the availability of heat and the level of insulation installed, it can only take a few hours for pipes to freeze and burst.
Do You Have Basic, Broad or Special Coverage On Your Business Property?
It is very important to understand the type of business insurance coverage you have. Most policies cover damage from frozen pipes, but not all. Discuss with your insurance agent if you have a “Basic”,” Special” or “Broad” Form of coverage. There are varying degrees of coverage levels in each type of Form. No matter what coverage protection you have, taking preventative steps is less expensive, less disruptive and less stressful for the business owner.
How Can You Prepare?
Let’s look some preventative steps you can take:
- Plan for a power outage… have some alternative source of generating heat for your property.
- Make sure your lowest heating temp is set at 60 degrees.
- Open doors to remote areas to allow adequate heat flow.
- In hard freezing conditions, check the water flow once in the morning and at the end of the day and flush toilets on a similar schedule.
Prevent Slip And Fall Incident’s Too
In addition to preventing frozen pipes, don’t forget those “slip & fall” exposures. While not at the top of the list, these can be troublesome and expensive claims. Review your property for areas of potential risk and implement the following:
- Shovel snow and ice away from entry points.
- Use chemical deicer to keep cleared (but exposed) pavement and sidewalks from new layers of ice or snow.
- As people access the interior of the building, make sure to use entry mats to keep ice and snow outside and not melting on your entry floors.
The most important action you can take is to be proactive! Show your employees and customers your care about their safety and the reliability of your business to continue operating is severe weather conditions. Building a culture of safety at your business is an essential activity for every business owner!!