The Keenan Blog

Timely and informative posts written by our experts.


Weathering the Storm: Tips to Protect Your Organization

January 30, 2024 by Keenan

The reported number of natural disasters that cost over a billion dollars in damages has increased over the last forty years in the U.S., rising from an average of 8.6 per year in the 1980s to 20.4 per year today. This stat suggests that the frequency and severity of natural disasters are increasing. Significantly, the average cost and death toll from a singular disaster is the highest it's ever been.

In our own Golden State, we are no stranger to natural disasters. Recently, landslides and floods wreaked havoc on many cities in late 2023, affecting nearly all of California and significant parts of Nevada. That period of flooding left millions in property damage and at least 22 fatalities.

To reduce the severity of any potential natural disaster, it's best to take preventative action. Here are some ideas in emergency response planning, business continuity planning, and ways to best insure your organization from flood damage.

Flooding: The Likelihood of An Extreme Weather Event

While flooding does not affect all of California, it certainly covers a lot of ground. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the top five most flood-prone cities in the state are:

  • Stockton
  • Sacramento
  • Watsonville
  • Crescent City
  • Newport Beach

Topping the list is the City of Stockton, home to nearly 800,000 people. Because of a lack of funding for flood control, it is difficult for the city to maintain many crucial safeguards to keep the neighboring San Joaquin River in check. If a breach were to occur, the potential consequences would be dire. A major flood could leave 90 percent of Stockton vulnerable to substantial devastation.

Flood Mitigation Strategies

When deciding how best to protect your facilities from floods, there are some things to check or improve on in your land’s infrastructure, like floodwalls/seawalls, floodgates, and levees.

Nonstructural measures reduce damage by removing people and property from risk areas. They include elevated structures, property buyouts, permanent relocation, zoning, subdivision, and building codes. Also, it’s best to develop an evacuation route. Many cities have developed an outline showing high-risk flood areas to avoid. (Check out the City of Stockton’s Flood Route Outline here)

The Importance of Business Continuity Planning

A well-thought-out Business Continuity Plan should outline how your organization will respond to emergencies such as flooding, and this plan can help mitigate losses after a disaster hits. Below are some topics that are typically covered in a Business Continuity Plan.

The damage your organization takes from a flood can stem from infrastructure failures or facility issues. Investigate your location's flood risk by consulting FEMA and local authorities and report their findings.

  • Elevate critical assets that water will damage, like data centers, computers, and other vital technology.
  • Establish evacuation plans, remote work alternatives for staff (and, in the case of schools, remote learning resources), and robust communication channels.
  • Translate flood strategies into a written document (like a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan), spanning preparation, management, and recovery phases.
  • Train employees, update contacts, and conduct regular tests to ensure a resilient response to flooding events.

Following these quick tips can be incredibly effective in mitigating the damage of a flood to your business. Check out Keenan’s educational loss control program IMReady, which is an interactive platform that raises preparedness and organizational resiliency through a suite of instructional emergency preparedness products and services.

In Conclusion…

Protecting your organization from risks is critical, but being prepared for worst-case scenarios is just as important. Engaging with the right resources before a disaster can significantly affect how your organization recovers. Your loss control consultant can help you engage with all relevant stakeholders in your organization and assist you with identifying risk mitigation strategies and developing incident response plans.

If you are interested in hearing more about the importance of planning appropriately for a natural disaster, like a flood, and how you can benefit from partnering with Keenan in creating an insurance plan that covers your unique needs, contact your Keenan representative or email to connect with us.