The Texas winter storm that plowed through the state in February 2021 — and left so many without power and water — was one for the record books. Whereas the American Property Casualty Insurance Association says winter storms typically average about $1.5 billion in property damage, this storm clocked in at an estimated $18 billion. In short, with broken pipes, long-lasting outages and similar obstacles, this weather phenomenon could very well have a lasting impact on business owners throughout the Lone Star State. What should you, the business owner, know? And how can you better protect your property and business against future catastrophic weather events? The BCH team is here to help.
Steps to Take Now, Following February’s Texas Winter Storm
Although the storm’s immediate dangers are, thankfully, behind many businesses, that doesn’t mean the work is over. If your business sustained damage — be it the result of busted pipes or a similar event — report it. Yes, report it even if you aren’t sure your policy will cover it or whether your damages will exceed your deductible. Getting that report into the system establishes a record of your loss and secures you a place in line so an adjuster can review your claim. Should you decide later on that you don’t want to pursue payment, you face no repercussions. Of course, if you are awaiting a visit from an adjuster regarding property or vehicle damage, you should take steps to minimize further damage if at all possible. Clean any lingering pooled water, for instance, or ensure damaged company vehicles are moved out of harm’s way.
Protecting Your Business Against Future Weather Events
Although we hope February’s Texas winter storm is a once-in-a-lifetime event, Mother Nature can be unpredictable. It’s best to be as prepared as possible moving forward. Make an effort to review your insurance coverage once a year or so to ensure everything you need to have covered is, in fact, covered. (And if you have questions, contact a trusted insurance advisor.) In addition, take stock of what would have helped your business better weather the February storm, and make sure you have those necessary elements and items in place for future events. Would it have helped if team members had had work-from-home setups in place? Did you find your communication strategy lacking? Could you have benefitted from having simple winter tools such as shovels and ice scrapers at the ready? From big considerations to the seemingly small, it’s worth thinking through every way you might avoid disruption down the line. Our Winter Weather Liabilities sheet offers great advice on ways you can help prepare your property ahead of time.
Protecting Your Employees Against Future Weather Events
Of course, a company’s employees are its biggest asset. If there are steps you can take to help them feel better prepared — and protected — in the event of shocking weather scenarios, do so. Have a policy in place regarding winter storms, and keep the entire team clued in. For instance, are folks expected to work from home in the event that they can’t make it in? Is time at home considered paid time off? It’s best to think through such policies before such scenarios actually make themselves known. Take things a step further by providing resources team members can use to keep their homes, families and property protected. Our Texas Storm News Brief offers great advice regarding frozen pipes, generator safety, keeping food from going bad and the like.
If you’d like to learn more about this recent Texas winter storm, you can download our Historic Storm Summary. Of course, if you have questions on any of the above, or if we can provide insight into any other risk management, business insurance or employee benefits issues, please feel free to contact BCH. We’re glad to help!