By Susan Thiel | Risk Management Property Expertise Specialist
As winter weather approaches, property owners face unique challenges that can impact the safety and integrity of their buildings. From frozen pipes, to fires from heating appliances, to potential roof damage, winter weather poses various risks that can lead to costly insurance claims. Proactive measures not only enhance safety and maintenance of the buildings but can also reduce the likelihood of claims.
All businesses should be prepared, even in areas where sustained below-freezing temperatures are considered unusual. The past century has seen an increase in severe winter weather, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. Winter Storm Elliot, for example, caused death and destruction in 20 U.S. States and damages from Canada well into Florida and the Gulf Coast States in 2022. The financial impact of this storm is estimated at $5.4 billion in insurance losses. In 2021, the Great Texas Freeze resulted in policyholder losses that exceeded $15 billion after homes and businesses were left without water and power for days.
The best way to combat unpredictable storms is to prepare now. Before cold weather hits, business owners should walk through the facility to conduct a thorough risk assessment for winter weather threats. This involves identifying potential hazards such as inadequate insulation, aging roofs, or faulty heating systems. Addressing these issues before winter arrives can significantly reduce the risk of damage.
WINTER PREPAREDNESS CHECKLIST
Winter preparedness for commercial properties is a shared responsibility and by emphasizing risk assessment, proactive maintenance, and effective emergency planning, the potential for winter-related claims can be significantly reduced.
A Winter Preparedness Checklist can help business owners troubleshoot winter weather hazards and be better prepared in the event of a storm. The list emphasizes preplanning and evaluation of the roofing, HVAC, and plumbing systems.
Learn more about preventing winter-related property risks by reaching out to your Amerisure risk management consultant or [email protected].