Lightning strikes are thankfully rare but as AIM Member Wide Horizons’ experienced, they can happen, and they are only one possible cause of damage – fire, storm and flood damage are more common and of course all of these can cause a building to be unavailable for use, with practical and financial implications for an activity provider. Ensuring you have Business Interruption cover as part of your policy is important.
AIM member Wide Horizons is an adventure learning charity in the UK who provide adventure experiences to approximately 45,000 children and young people a year throughout 8 centres around the UK.
The Townsend site in Swanage needed assistance from the AIM team in October 2014, when, during a violent storm of heavy rain and very strong winds, lightning struck the gable end of one of the dormitory blocks on site. This strike damaged the fire alarm at the building which stopped it from functioning. The storm rumbled on and by 4am a local milkman, on his rounds, discovered the building was on fire and alerted the emergency services. Unfortunately by this time, the building had suffered significant damage including a collapsed front roof and damaged undercroft plus smoke damage throughout and all services (water/electric) were destroyed.
Simon Hicks, Head of Operations at Wide Horizons, told us that thankfully there were no guests in the building at the time and ironically, that was the first night that the building had been empty for approximately 3 months, showing the popularity of the site and the frequency of bookings for the dormitory.
“The effect on future bookings could have been disastrous, a group was booked in for the following week so alternative accommodation had to be found and the local youth hostel kindly provided this for us. One group who were booked in were relocated within the Wide Horizons family and changed their location to Wales. We were relieved and pleased that they loved it there and have continued to use that centre. We were unlucky to lose one booking who had to stay at a similar activity centre in Swanage but thankfully the school has remained with us since then.
The need to have the correct plans in place to deal with an incident of this nature is paramount. The centre already had a critical incident plan which was adhered to at the time and since then we have continued to update this plan, and other processes on an annual basis.
As part of its AIM membership, Wide Horizons has Business Interruption cover, which has been so important for our survival, as we were covered for loss of earnings while the new dormitory was being built and this covered an entire term’s worth of business, any one in business but especially working for or involved with a charity can appreciate the impact of losing this level of income.
Despite the fire, the outcome has been very positive for Wide Horizons. The building’s footprint hasn’t changed, but it has allowed us to modernise some of the structure of the building, which was originally built in 1928. We had new fixtures/fittings/furniture throughout, and as a charity that in itself had a significant impact as some of the furniture was in need of updating!
Being a member of AIM has provided peace of mind. In the event of a claim we found that this was handled both professionally and with compassion, AIM did a wonderful job”.
Are You Covered?
AIM offers Business Interruption cover to all members who take Property Damage cover.
Business Interruption covers loss of income (including rent where appropriate) and increased costs arising from damage to a member’s premises. Surveys indicate that most SME’s buy cover for their buildings and contents, whether with AIM or a conventional commercial insurer, but fewer opt for the protection of Business Interruption cover as well.
If you are interested in learning more about Business Interruption, and receiving a quotation, please contact our team and we will be happy to provide a quotation.