In the past few months, we have seen many news reports predicting that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) will enter a cooling phase this year, changing from an El Niño to a La Niña season. These reports have been followed by more recent announcements that the drivers for this event have been fulfilled, meaning that the cooler La Niña phase is now active.
The result of a La Niña phase is that we can expect multiple extreme weather events across the Pacific and into the northern and eastern parts of Australia from now and well into 2021. Above average rains, flooding and more cyclones than normal, off the coast of Queensland, are forecast over the next few months.
Is your business ready for a La Niña event?
Remember the Brisbane floods in January 2011? That was a La Niña event that caused massive flooding of the Brisbane River catchment, as well as Toowoomba and the Lockyer Creek catchments, Bremer River catchment and Brisbane city. The 2010-2011 La Niña phase led to one of the wettest periods on record, which didn’t last long (only two years) but resulted in the deaths of 23 people who were lost and drowned in the floods. So how can you protect your business from a La Niña event?
Protecting your business from a La Niña event
With a La Niña now confirmed, it’s important that business owners work closely with their insurance advisers and ultimately, providers. Your focus should not only be to make sure you have the right type of cover, but also that the sums insured accurately reflect your replacement costs. Finding out that your policy only covers half the cost of replacing your warehouse (and doesn’t include demolishing it and removing the debris) might just be enough to push your business over the edge. The easy way to avoid this eventuality is to evaluate your policies with your insurance adviser now, before it becomes too late (keeping Business Continuity Insurance in mind as well).
Apart from evaluating your insurance cover, here are five more strategies that will help to protect your business in the event of wild weather.
- Check the roof: Make sure there are no loose tiles, cracked pointing, warped flashing or blocked gutters. It’s a good idea to have your roof checked annually, as this will prevent small repairs becoming large and expensive problems.
- Protect documents: Store all paper documents in water proof containers and backup everything to the cloud. This will allow you to get up and running very quickly after storm or flood damage.
- Lop or remove trees: If any trees are too close to the buildings, either remove them or lop off branches to reduce potential storm damage.
- Secure exterior signage: Regularly inspect and maintain your outdoor signage, ensuring that nothing is loose and all electrics are safe. Remove any loose signage prior to a storm event.
- Install a generator: Install a generator for your building as a backup if the power is cut during a storm. However, it’s important to test the generator regularly, as well as ensuring suitable ventilation and storing fuel safely and in accordance with Australian Standards.
With the right type of insurance cover and some proactive safety measures, your business will be better able to weather any La Niña storms that come your way. To review your business’ insurance cover and make sure that it’s sufficient for the La Niña season, talk to an insurance specialist today and find your local adviser.
General Advice Warning
The information provided is to be regarded as general advice. Whilst we may have collected risk information, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. We recommend that you consider the suitability of this general advice, in respect of your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. You should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase this financial product.