Tourism chiefs rally behind storm-hit firms

Flood damage to Sheringham's west prom.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Flood damage to Sheringham's west prom. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Saturday, December 7, 2013
5:30 AM

Norfolk’s tourism chiefs have rallied behind businesses hit by the storms and stressed the need for a quick recovery to capture the winter trade.

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Storm insurance advice

Norwich-based insurance provider Aviva has offered advice to people and businesses which have become victims of the storms.

– What to do if you have been flooded:

· Contact your insurer as soon as possible

· Don’t touch any of your electrics - they could have been damaged by water and become live

·Start identifying items that have been damaged, make a list and take pictures if you can – this will make it easier to assess the damage and speed up your claim.

·If you can try and lift any items out of standing water – for example, if your carpets are saturated – try and raise any furniture off them on to wooden blocks this will prevent more water soaking into your belongings and help reduce further damage. · Listen in to local weather reports in case further rainfall is forecast.

–Your home insurance cover: Flooding is covered as standard in home insurance policies. This means that any damaged caused to your property and belongings, as a result of the heavy rainfall, will be covered and if you have to move out of your home the cost of alternative accommodation is also paid for. Arrangements can also be made for pets as well.

– What happens with a flood claim: Once you have reported your claim a loss adjuster or claims expert will visit you to assess the damage.

Where necessary, water-soaked fixtures and fittings will be stripped-out of your home.

De-humidifiers and drying equipment will be brought in to dry the property – this can take many weeks or months.

Once the property is dry contractors can be sent in to do the repairs and put it back to how it was before the floods

Where suitable, Aviva will be offering basic resilient repairs as standard in homes that are affected by flooding.

These include: Raising electrical sockets higher up the wall; replacing plaster with a water-resistant version; If replacing timber floors, where there is shallow void, offering to fill the void and replace with a concrete floor

Although it is unclear what the cost will be to the county’s economy, concerns are mounting that firms are facing a double-whammy blow of pricy storm repairs and lost business while the clean-up operation takes place.

It comes as firms and shops across the region have been plagued by the strong winds and surging water, which have flooded properties and washed away – or damaged– beach huts along the Norfolk and Suffolk coast.

And yesterday, Norwich-based insurance-giant Aviva said it had drafted in extra staff to deal with the high number of calls linked to the storms, which have centred around broken roofs and aerials, flood damage and smashed glass.

However, leading figures from Norfolk’s tourism promotional groups said it was important to state that the region is “open for business” – although people’s safety must take priority.

David Thompson, head of Visit North Norfolk, said: “Our tourism businesses are very resilient, and tend to work very well to address the issues relating to the bad weather.

“A lot of the businesses will have clean up work to do, but most of them will come out of, although some will struggle. I just hope that visitors will still want to come out to the coast.”

Pete Waters, brand manager for Visit Norfolk, said businesses needed to recover as quickly as possible because the Christmas market was a crucial.

“The point for us to stress at the moment is that, while we want visitors to stay safe at all times, we also want to remind people that Norfolk is open for business,” he said. “It is still an important time for people to be here for our winter wildlife safari.”

He added: “Some of the self-catering holiday cottage businesses rely on this time of year. The Christmas market is very important.”




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