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Severe Winter Weather Affecting the Bottom Line of Many U.S. Businesses, Says FM Global Study

LONDON, UK—This year’s severe winter weather conditions have stifled business operations for many companies across the United States, according to a new poll of America’s workforce, commissioned by FM Global, one of the world’s largest business property insurers. Likewise, the risk of more severe weather means a continued threat to U.S. businesses’ bottom lines.

The research finds nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of full-time employees in the United States say this winter is the worst they have experienced in the last five years. And, more than one in four say their company has been hit financially as a result of the winter weather and doesn’t have an emergency plan to keep business going during severe weather events.

Companies’ greatest concerns when facing such storms are property damage, business continuity and loss of profits/revenue, say a third of Americans polled.

However, the research suggests the risk of ongoing winter storms has caught management’s attention. One in three workers report their company has had to change the way it does business because of storm-related financial losses.

“These findings speak to the need for businesses to avoid complacency when it comes to winter weather and have business continuity plans to address the risk,” said Jon Hall, executive vice president, FM Global. “The research shows many companies are being blindsided by the winter weather. Such losses, both financially and to physical property, present a constant threat that can affect an organisation’s competitiveness and speak to the need for businesses to remain resilient, no matter what winter throws at them.”

FM Global recommends the following best practices for businesses to help prevent damage in freezing conditions:

  1. Plan as if freeze-ups are a certainty, even if your business operations are located in a warm climate where severe temperature drops are uncommon.
  2. Arrange for key facility staff to be available during expected cold spells to monitor weather conditions and patrol buildings in search of cold spots, structural damage, large leaks or sprinkler piping breaks.
  3. Have procedures for maintaining adequate heat, especially if a shutdown of operations becomes necessary.

For more information on preparing for freezing weather, visit http://www.fmglobal.co.uk/natural-hazards-toolkit.

About the Research

FM Global fielded the study in mid-February 2014 about the impact of severe winter weather on U.S. businesses, using the research services of Toluna. Full-time employees, age 18 and older, were screened from a nationally representative sample. The survey had a margin of error of plus/minus 4.3 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level, and was completed by 521 participants.

About FM Global

For nearly two centuries, many of the world's largest organisations have turned to FM Global (www.fmglobal.co.uk) to develop cost-effective property insurance and engineering solutions to protect their business operations from fire, natural disasters and other types of property risk. With clients in more than 130 countries, FM Global has been named "Best Property Insurer in the World" by Euromoney magazine, "Best Global Property Insurer" by Global Finance magazine and received the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise, as well as the 2013 CIR Risk Management Insurance Partnership of the Year Award. In the United Kingdom, FM Global is the communicative name for FM Insurance Company Limited, which celebrated its 50thanniversary of international operation in 2013.