As an island, with many coastal and riverside regions, the UK is naturally prone to flooding. Even surface water flooding has become a prevalent issue in localities away from water and in built-up areas. The increased frequency of extreme weather events, urban development, and pressure of climate change have made flooding happen more often and with worse consequences.

Throughout the years, the UK has seen innumerable water-related disasters, causing deaths, injury, and billions of pounds in property damage. Did you know that…

  • One in every six properties in the UK is at risk of flooding? (Environment Agency)
  • Statistically, your property is far more likely to be flooded than burgled?
  • In Britain, over 436,000 commercial properties in Britain have at least a low flood risk? That’s over a quarter (27%) compared to 14% of residential properties in the UK (FloodFlash Commercial Risk Report 2021)
  • As many as 40% of businesses in the UK do not reopen after suffering from a flood? (Source: Rainbow International Restoration)

Reaching unprecedented levels
Climate change has already had a major impact on British coastlines, moorlands, farms, towns and cities. While flooding has always been an issue for certain areas in the UK, recent years have seen waters rise to unprecedented levels. This has left many businesses and homeowners stranded in the meantime.

Following major flooding in areas including Yorkshire, the East Midlands and the West Midlands in late 2019 and early 2020, councils have started to invest more in flood defence to reduce the devastation and downtime the floods caused. Yet, despite an increase of flood defences in place, EA chairwoman, Emma Howard Boyd, believes that this will not be enough, warning that “we cannot win a war against water”.

We have seen that in severe incidents of flooding in South Yorkshire, the devastating effects these can still have on people and their businesses. They triggered multiple severe ‘threat to life’ warnings, and excessive rainfall leading to the wettest February since records began in 1766 meant that in England and Wales, there was an average of 169.6mm rainfall in February 2020.

On top of this, the most recent prolonged hot weather and droughts across the UK in Summer 2022 now means that the risk of widespread flooding through this coming winter is almost inevitable due to dried out, hard, impacted ground. Widespread flash flooding for this reason was seen most significantly in London and the southern counties during this period, leading to power cuts and travel delays which affected thousands of businesses and commuters. 

The severity of the weather has meant that properties previously not considered to be situated in flood-prone areas may now be at risk. Have you checked if your property, whether commercial or private, is situated in a flood risk area?

The very first step to protecting your home or business is to devise a plan which can be activated if and when flooding is imminent. Creating an in-depth, structured plan will allow you to respond to flooding in a timely manner and therefore minimise risk and damage to your property. 

Here are some tips on what your flood plan should include:

Contact list

Create a list of contact details of businesses or people whom you may need to get in touch with in the event of a flood. This should include insurance providers, service providers, local disaster relief agencies and if you own a business, contact details of your employees. The Environment Agency’s floodline number is 0345 988 1188.

Advice for staff

Your plan should include information for your staff on evacuation processes and meeting points in the event of flooding. Flood water can pose various health risks including a number of diseases and chemical hazards. Employees must be aware of these dangers and know how to protect themselves.

Action checklist

Your flood plan should include an action checklist; a list of tasks to carry out when there is a high risk of flooding. These tasks may include moving furniture and electrical items to safety, covering items in protective materials, or rolling-up rugs and carpets.

If you’re a business owner, you need to ensure that all members of staff are aware of the flood plan and know how to carry out prevention procedures. 

Service cut off points

Make a note of where the service cut off points for water, gas and electricity are located in your property. It might be helpful to label the locations on a printed map and include instructions on how to operate each system.

Important documents

Write down where important documents (insurance policies, customer files, evacuation plan) are located within the building.

Protective actions

Have you thought of ways you can protect your property and minimise risk? Steps could range from moving electrical sockets higher up the wall to installing shelving and making copies of important documents. 

Take out flood insurance

The aftermath of flooding can be devastating – taking simple preventative steps to protect your home or business will help to significantly minimise risk in the event of a flood. Make sure you check that your business and/or home insurance policies are up-to-date and provide you with sufficient coverage in the event of a flood.

This being said, we know that it isn’t always that straightforward. Flood insurance can be eye-wateringly expensive or sometimes you may be outright rejected for cover, especially if you live in an area prone to flooding or have endured a previous flooding event. If accepted, the excess costs incurred can be astronomical, but you may feel like you have no other choice.

That’s why we have teamed up with FloodFlash. FloodFlash will provide your business with a mobile-connected sensor, installed on the outside of your property. The sensor is equipped with a prior agreed trigger depth; once reached, you receive your pay out. It’s that simple. Their fastest pay out was just over 5 hours. That’s less than 6 hours between water reaching the pre-agreed trigger depth, and the payout being in the client’s bank account.

Why FloodFlash?

Whether you can’t get cover, have a large excess or just want a top-up to your existing policy – there are plenty of reasons to choose FloodFlash for your business or commercial property.

Some of the instant benefits of using FloodFlash:

  1. It’s fast. FloodFlash pay out the full value of the settlement within days (usually 48 hours) of confirming a flood. So your business can recover quicker.
  2. It’s easy! FloodFlash claims don’t come with long paperwork or lots of haggling. They just confirm the flood and pay out the agreed amount.
  3. It’s flexible. Control your trigger depths and payout values or even make your premium cheaper by raising stock or installing flood defences.

If you’ve had problems with flooding in the past and are now struggling to find affordable insurance—or a willing insurer— we can put you in touch with FloodFlash to see if installing their smart sensor is the best option for your business. Our experts can also help you to find you cover designed specifically for high-flood-risk areas which doesn’t cost the earth. Call us on 0121 270 5809 to find out more.