A survey conducted by YouGov for Aviva for its ‘Building Future Communities’ report found that 57% of SMEs believe climate change will have an impact on their business in the next ten years, and a quarter (25%) believe it will affect their livelihood within the next year.
However, a sizeable minority (17%) aren’t concerned at all, believing it will have no impact at all in a decade.
Despite their worries, business owners seem unprepared or unaware of the risks their premises may face. Three quarters (75%) of SMEs don’t have a business continuity plan that considers climate change risks, and just 38% have flood insurance in place.
Surprisingly, less than a fifth (18%) of all businesses have implemented any flood resilience measures to protect their premises.
Yet according to Aviva’s flood map data, almost one in three (30%) commercial properties are at risk from some type of flooding.
Analysis of Aviva’s claims data reveals an even more worrying picture. In July 2021, the insurer recorded its highest number of commercial flood claims – more than double the previous high in January 2016.
Recent weather patterns suggest that flooding is no longer confined to the colder months. According to Aviva data, on average, July and August are the most prevalent months for commercial flood claims, suggesting that heavy summer downpours are putting businesses at risk from flash floods, which are harder to predict or prevent.
The research survey conducted for Aviva showed that a lack of information and financial incentives are acting as a barrier to business owners taking preventative action.
Of those without flood mitigation measures, over a quarter (27%) said they needed a greater understanding of the risk their property faces, while almost a fifth (18%) said they would like incentives to help install measures before an event happens.
To help small businesses, Aviva is partnering with Enterprise Nation, a UK-wide small business support network with a focus on smaller SMEs, which make up the majority of businesses.
As part of the partnership, Enterprise Nation and Aviva will launch a ‘Plan it with Purpose’ free educational hub, which provides free online events, advice and educational resources to SMEs on a range of sustainability issues, including an educational series on climate resilience.