With windows rattling in the wind and temperatures at rock bottom, we’re all wondering whether we’ll get snowed in, cut off, flooded or lose windows in the windstorm.

Although winter storms rarely cause significant risk to life, the frequency of low-level damage and interruption to services is high, and businesses can be crippled for days or even weeks after a severe storm.

Gallery owners in particular may have cause for concern for several reasons;

  • Buildings: Art galleries are often based in old buildings which may also have large plate glass windows and skylights to best show off art. Such premises are more susceptible to the weather.
  • Old buildings frequently suffer from burst pipes, boiler or heating breakdown, leaks from above or basement flooding from below.
  • Stock: Many artworks are inherently fragile or sensitive even when they aren’t made of glass, because organic materials such as canvas, wood, paper, and even paint itself adjusts according to temperature and humidity.  When heating or other environmental control equipment goes down, it can wreak havoc.

In addition to physical damage to art or premises, winter weather brings increased risk to public safety for which your business may be liable, as well as the possibility that you may have to stop trading for a period of time.

  • Public Liability:  Signage, guttering, steps, courtyards and even pavement outside your door may become loose, damaged or slippery and increase the likelihood of a slip, trip of fall.
  • Employer’s Liability:  Any firm which employs others is responsible for the safety of their staff whilst at work, so all the risks the public face are also risks staff face, and you could be liable if a member of staff injures themselves whilst shovelling snow, for example.
  • Business Interruption:  Have you considered what after-effect a sustained power outage or significant damage to property could cause to your business? If you have to shut the gallery for several days, weeks or months you may well lose custom. A problem with your IT may cause delay in communications to your clients and potential loss of documents or payments.

Easy Risk Management:

There are many simple risk management measures you can take that cost little.

  • Check exposed pipes, insulate them properly or replace them if they are old and worn out.
  • If you have a roof, check the condition of the tiles or asphalt or ask your landlord if they have recently had it inspected.
  • Fix any leaky taps and unblock bathroom plumbing before the winter kicks in.
  • Obtain an annual boiler or heating inspection contract or check the date your equipment was last serviced
  • Ensure you have grit salt stock if you’re responsible for any communal outdoor areas such as pavements and courtyards.

The good news is, when it comes to protecting your business, it’s easy. Once you have done everything you can to guard against the effects of bad weather, ensuring your insurance policy is up to date and provides cover for all eventualities, is critical.

If you are not sure you have the right coverage or would like a health check of your insurance, La Playa offer a complimentary surgery. We are happy to take a quick look over your policy and make sure you have all the coverages you need to the right levels, at no cost. We will also quote against your current provider to ensure you are being charged appropriately. If you like what we do for you and decide to place your business with us, as an AWAD member you are entitled to a 10% discount off your premium.


Call us or drop us a line on: +1 646 665 7737 or [email protected] to discuss your needs.