Businesses in flood-hit areas of the Calder Valley have suffered the double blow of not having been insured against flood damage.
After the 2012 floods hit areas such as Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge, many insurers were then unwilling to provide flood cover for businesses in previously affected areas.
Simon Waring from Ryburn Insurance in Hebden Bridge had the double blow of having the ground floor of his offices waterlogged while having to process claims from flood victims. Whats more, his company were unable to get insured themselves.
“We were underwater after Christmas,” he said. “Luckily we don’t keep books downstairs after the 2012 floods, so we have been able to operate from other floors.
“As soon as the flooding went down we had hundreds of people queuing up at the door and ringing us to make flood claims. We have been working pretty much 20 hours a day since boxing day.
“Ninety percent of the claims we have handled are from areas which haven’t even been flooded before.”
He was reflective over his company’s inability to get flood insurance after the 2012 floods.
“If you ran a shop and it got burgled 10 times, an insurer is perfectly within their rights to say ‘no’ to you if they think they will lose money,” he said.
“It is the government that really needs to help small businesses who can’t get flood cover.”
Calderdale Council has offered up to £2,500 for businesses that were hit to get them up and running again, and Simon praised the work that they have done.
“Obviously this won’t be enough for some businesses,” he said. “But it is a start – I think it’s good that the council is doing this and I am pleased they have acted so promptly.”
Calderdale Council is offering advice for making insurance claims and ensuring reputable contractors are hired for any building work needed.
Council cabinet member for regeneration and economic development coun Barry Collins said: “Knowing how to claim and who to approach for repairs can be difficult, so our building control team has produced advice to try and prevent mistakes being made or residents being ripped off.”
“If your property and/or contents have been damaged due to recent flooding and you’re unsure what to do regarding your insurance claim, we’d advise you to contact your insurer as soon as possible.”
The council added the insurance provider may also commission both a loss adjuster and a chartered structural engineer to investigate the matter. Take photos both of the building and any damaged items before removing from your property, to use in any future claim. You may find it useful to compile lists of damaged or lost items, to create a diary or log of activity and to record the contact details of every one involved in the repair of your premises.
If your property is not insured it may be useful for owners to consider employing a chartered structural engineer, chartered surveyor or chartered building engineer to survey the premises on their behalf, to determine the damage that has occurred and any potential means of repair. They can also provide advice regarding the continuing stability and safety of the premises.