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Severe winter weather affecting the bottom line of many U.S. businesses, says FM Global study

JOHNSTON, R.I., USA—This year’s severe winter weather conditions have hamstrung business operations for many companies across the country, 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 organization’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

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

Established in 1835, FM Global is a US $5.5 billion mutual insurance company whose capital, scientific research capability and engineering expertise are solely dedicated to property risk management. Its client-owners, who share the belief that the majority of property loss is preventable, represent many of the world’s largest organizations, including one of every three FORTUNE 1000 companies. They work with FM Global to better understand the hazards that can impact their business continuity in order to make cost-effective risk management decisions combining property loss prevention with insurance protection. FM Global is rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best and AA (Very Strong) by Fitch.