Continuity risks in the food industry: fire damage (1/4)

Today, companies are facing a number of risks that may have a serious impact on the continuity of their business. This is also the case for food companies. A business continuity plan (BCP) is a good management tool to help you identify these risks and proactively look for solutions. But what are the most likely risks for food companies nowadays?

Each week this month, we will highlight one risk which could have a major impact on your business operations. We will start with the best-known risk: fire.

Continuity risks in the food industry: fire damage (1/4)

What incidents can occur?

Companies in the food industry typically start out small and then continue to grow, which in turn requires that they expand their infrastructure. However, such infrastructure expansions are not always well thought out, with some construction plans containing hardly any solutions for responding to potential fire risks. For example, extremely flammable PIR or PUR insulation materials may be used, and fire prevention may not have been taken into consideration. This creates a considerable risk of fire and/or smoke damage.

Many companies also do not have a business interruption insurance for damage due to a fire. According to our figures, 90% of companies that were once victims of a serious fire and did not have this policy did not get over this incident.

What fire prevention measures can your company take?

Here are some guidelines or tips on the preventive steps your company can take to reduce the fire risk:

  • Pay sufficient attention to the building materials. Use fireproof materials for your company buildings.
  • In order to minimise the economic losses in the event of an incident, it is advisable to identify and document all the internal and external fire risk factors in advance and to develop several fall-back scenarios for your business activities.
  • We also recommend drawing up an emergency communication plan in advance to ensure that all stakeholders are informed in a timely and appropriate manner in the event of a disaster.

Which (insurance) solution is appropriate?

Any company may face a fire sooner or later. It is therefore important to reduce this fire risk to a minimum and to take a close look at the residual risk. First, you can cover the residual risk with a fire insurance policy that is tailored to your company. Second, we recommend that you draw up a business continuity plan (BCP) for your company that you can use as a guide for any major damage, including fire damage. We explain both of these must-haves in more detail below.

In order to ensure the best possible protection for your business, we always advise our clients to take out good fire insurance. Fire insurance will protect against material damage and loss of profits. Business interruption cover ensures that you receive financial compensation for your ongoing fixed costs and all income that is lost. All-risk insurance covers all material damage caused by fire, except for specifically excluded items. Good fire insurance is the foundation of your insurance package.

In addition to the insurance component, it is crucial for your company to have a business continuity plan (BCP) in the event of an incident. A BCP allows you to guarantee your company’s continuity in the event of a disaster as well as proactively examine your company’s critical processes and develop some well-considered alternatives. This investment will give you a good overview and will support you in the event of a fire at your company.

Are you interested in the other articles in this series about continuity risks in the food industry? Be sure to read about the impact of cyber, climate change and contamination on food companies.

Ronny Kamermans

We are there for you.

Would you like more information? Are you interested in an insurance solution that is tailored to your company? Perhaps you would like to receive our free BCP white paper to get started with our roadmap for developing a BCP for your company? If so, contact us on +32 3 292 00 36 or at propertyservices@vanbreda.be.

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