Floods happen quickly and the conditions for flash flooding aren’t always obvious. In 2022, flood repair costs for businesses are expected to top $13.5 billion and cause more than 3 million days of lost business operation combined.

Exposure to water quickly causes damage, which is why it’s important for inventory businesses to know the risks and what you can do to minimize them.

Flood Risks for Inventory Businesses

There are a variety of flood risks for inventory businesses. Floods often occur suddenly, due to:

  • Excessive rainfall
  • River overflow
  • Dam and levee failure
  • Seasonal snowmelt

Flood risks are higher when the ground is saturated from recent storms and local drainage systems are unable to cope with excess moisture. Flooding risks for a particular area can change over time, due to environmental degradation, changing weather patterns and more.

Your business’s risk for flooding depends a lot on the physical location of your business property and inventory. Businesses in low-lying areas are at higher risk of flooding. Flooding here is worse and occurs more often.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is the organization responsible for monitoring flood risks for all areas of the country. FEMA flood maps are available that can allow you to research elevation and property information for your location, learn about local hazards, and check FEMA flood zone designation. Locations with a 100-year or one percent or greater flood risk will also have a FEMA base flood elevation (BFE) to which water can be expected to rise. Knowing these FEMA designations can help you better understand your business’s risk of a flood.

How to Minimize Flood Risks for Inventory Businesses

Floods are natural disasters that happen quickly and can be difficult to predict. But it is possible to minimize your risks by taking the proper steps.

Look for ways to reduce your risk

Take these steps to reduce your flooding risk:

  • Find out your FEMA flood zone designation and base flood elevation, if applicable.
  • Ensure there is a positive grading to direct water away from structures and inventory.
  • Use natural landscaping and native plantings to improve drainage and prevent soil erosion.
  • Construct permanent flood wall barriers to protect inventory that is still at risk.
  • Anchor fuel tanks to prevent property damage and contamination risks.
  • Install a property backflow valve to prevent wastewater backup during a flood.
  • Design a sump pump system to work through floods, power outages and mechanical failures.
  • Seal cracks and openings and apply waterproof coatings to prevent water intrusion.
  • Raise or floodproof utility systems for HVAC and electric above BFE levels.
  • Consider floodproofing buildings and property with watertight protective materials.

Plan ahead for business continuity

Develop a business continuity plan to help you survive the flood:

  • Take a risk assessment of the specific flood threats and risks your business faces.
  • Determine critical business functions and resources required to support them.
  • Develop a plan and strategy to protect business functions from flooding threats.
  • Develop a plan to respond to flooding incidents if and when they occur.
  • Follow through with testing, maintenance and improvements of the continuity plan.
  • Communicate the plan to stakeholders and train employees on how to carry it out.

Protect yourself with adequate insurance

The right insurance can help you better manage the flood risks for inventory business. Even businesses located outside of high-risk flood zones can benefit from coverage. Learn how you can protect what matters most to your business by contacting your insurance representative.

For more information about protecting your business from flood risk, contact Lockton Affinity.