Bad weather conditions are hitting the revenues of over two thirds (69%) of small to medium sized businesses in the UK according to new research from insurance broker Towergate. This is an increase of almost a quarter compared to last year when nearly half (46%) of businesses were affected.
The research found that SME finances are being hit by bad weather – with staff unable to travel to work (25%), reduced demand for goods or services (24%) and poor weather conditions preventing work (19%) topping the factors for lost earnings. This is compounded by the fact that over a third of SMEs (37%) don’t have a business continuity plan, and as a result lose two working days each year on average due to weather chaos.
The findings also reveal that over the past five years, more than a third (37%) of small businesses have experienced property damage from bad weather. Yet three in five aren’t insured against flooding, high winds, thunder and lightning, snow, ice or hail – risking footing the bill for £74,000 worth of property damage on average. With an estimated 5.4 million SMEs in the UK, the total bill from weather damage could be as high as £240 billion.
Adverse weather has consistently featured in the top ten of the Business Continuity Institute's Horizon Scan Report and in a global survey of business continuity professionals, more than half of respondents (52%) claimed they were concerned about the possibility of a weather related event disrupting their organization.
Commenting on the findings, Drew Wotherspoon from Towergate, said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy and are responsible for livelihoods up and down the country. But too many firms are not protecting themselves against the erratic nature of British weather, leaving themselves open to footing the bill for substantial damages and losing out on business earnings.
“It’s vital that small business owners take heed of weather warnings and take precautionary measures to allow them to weather the storm and get back to business as quickly as possible. There are few practical steps business owners can take to make sure they’re equipped - from putting a backup plan in place to taking out specific policies against the elements.”