At this point the majority of the leaves have fallen, and an icy frost is appearing on the grass and pavement in the morning. For most this is a sign that winter is around the corner, but for your insurance broker this warns of the increased risk to your commercial business. Not to worry, you can protect your commercial business from unnecessary losses and costly insurance claims by following some of these simple steps.
Shut off and drain outside water lines: Similar to your home, water left in outside lines can easily freeze and rupture the plumbing causing substantial damage when the water flows back into the business.
Have a snow removal contract in place for snow and salt and request a certificate of insurance: Slip and falls are a leading cause of losses to commercial businesses. Help reduce outside slip and falls by hiring an experienced snow removal firm to ensure parking lots and walk ways are kept clear of ice and snow. Request a certificate of insurance to ensure this firm has the proper insurance for snow removal. If you remove your own snow, keep a log book to record the day and time of each snow removal and salt/sand.
Be prepared for slippery floors: Melting snow from shoes and boots will cause a slip hazard. Invest in high quality non-slip floor mats to place near entrances and other high traffic areas. Have mops ready as well as wet floor warning signs.
Check sump pumps and install battery back up if possible: Ensure melting snow and ice is directed away from the business, especially in the case of a power outage. Ensure your sump pumps are in proper working order to keep your basement dry. If possible, install a battery back up to ensure the sump pump continues to do its job in the event of a power outage.
Check fire and carbon monoxide alarm batteries (best to replace batteries on each daylight savings change): A properly functioning alarm can save lives.
Consider a generator for power outage: This may allow your business to continue to operate in the event of a power outage, as well as protect you from lost stock and contents in the event of a power failure.
Check roof: Now is the time to ensure your roof is ready to take on the winter elements. Check roof for signs of deterioration and ensure the roof is sealed and water tight. Hire a roofing contractor if you are unsure.
Inspect gutters and eaves to ensure water flow: Get ready for the snow melt now by ensuring the water has a clear path to escape, rather than backing up into your business.
Check heating system: It has been a few months since you’ve needed your furnace, consider having a contractor clean and inspect the furnace to ensure you will have stable heat during the winter months.
Clean out any chimneys, fireplaces and woodstoves: These devices can often collect a buildup of ash and soot which can lead to chimney fires. Be sure to have a WETT certified Chimney Sweep clean out all wood burning devices before use.
By taking time to complete these simple tasks, you can save your business from accidents and costly insurance claims this winter.