The commercial sector is faced with uncertainty as many non-essential businesses across the province have closed down in an attempt to flatten the COVID-19 curve. These closures have no set expiry date, with the word “indefinite” causing concern for the lifeblood of our economy. While news has been positive, showing that BC has been successful thus far in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, it has done little to calm the nerves of business owners who await the call to reopen their doors.
What are you to do? Should you take a “wait and see” stance or be more proactive in preparing for your return to operations? We suggest the latter. Here’s how.
How Commercial Businesses Can Prepare for a Return to Operations Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis
Ensure Current Coverage Does Not Become Invalid
There’s a very good reason for encouraging businesses not to just step back and wait out this storm. You see, many commercial property policies have a 30-day vacancy or idle exclusion. What this means, is that losses or damage to property are excluded from coverage if the property is vacant or idle for over a month. You may not be able to simply shutter your doors and wait for the province to tell you it’s OK to reopen your business. Instead, you may need to be proactive during a time that the risk of property damage is high. When closed for extended periods, there is an increased risk of water damage from idle plumbing and sprinkler systems in addition to harm from burglary, vandalism, and more.
Below are some simple things you can do to ensure your property is not “idle” by policy coverage definition. Visit the premises at least once per week to conduct the following:
- Inspect sprinkler systems and check that fire alarms are functioning.
- Run the faucets and flush toilets.
- Check locks and security systems at all possible points of entry.
- Test the lighting systems.
- Clean public-facing windows.
- Ensure trash is not piling up outside of the property.
- Remove combustibles from the property and place them in secure off-site storage.
- Update public-facing signage with positive marketing messaging, including prompts to follow your business on social media for updates on online services and reopening dates, as applicable.
Contact your broker today to find out if there is anything else you can do to abide by the “small print” of your existing commercial policy.
discuss your Commercial insurance options with your broker
We are following social distancing best practices, but we are available online and by phone to assist you with all of your commercial insurance needs. Our commercial department is available Monday – Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm. View current hours and contact information by office location here.
We want you to be better prepared for when the time comes to reopen for business so that you will be better covered for all insurable perils. You’ll be working harder then ever upon return, so you need a partner at your side to protect you against the unknown. If 2020 thus far has taught us anything, is that anything can happen. Comprehensive commercial insurance will ensure that you’re better prepared for it. Here is a look at the policies we can offer with a simple phone call and/or online discussion:
check out our other Helpful Tips for Getting Through the Crisis
Our aim is to stay up to date on the questions and concerns being faced by the public and business sector alike during these unprecedented times and to provide insurance guidance on how to better protect yourselves. We recently published an article on how businesses can protect themselves while staff is working from home, and another on the new and emerging threats business needs to watch for in 2020. Please subscribe to our weekly blog and we’ll do our best to keep you informed.
Contact Park Insurance today at 1.800.663.3739 with any of your insurance questions or concerns. We’re here to help.