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Preparing your greenhouse before a storm can help you recover quickly

Green plants inside a greenhouseSevere weather is one of the major causes of greenhouse damage. Making preparations to mitigate that damage ahead of time can help you reduce your losses and speed up your recovery time.

Greenhouse property loss mitigation is an important part of what we do for your business. We can help you by:

  • Providing information up front as you develop your disaster preparedness program, and sending regular reminders of this important information
  • Advising you when potential loss is imminent, such as heavy snow or high winds
  • Working with you after a loss to control or limit the extent of your direct and indirect losses, including assistance in finding temporary repairs, heat, and replacement product

Dealing with damage risks

Pre-loss and post-loss mitigation is your responsibility as a business owner. Here are some steps you can take now to reduce the risk of damage:

  • Build your greenhouse to meet local building codes.
  • Check your building connections and structural members, and remember to secure loose components.
  • Make sure glazing is properly installed. Keep additional inventory on hand for emergency covering.
  • Develop an emergency contact list (FEMA, insurance company, greenhouse supplier, and construction contractor) and keep numbers and emails current.
  • Make a disaster recovery plan for key electronic and hard copy documentation.
  • Determine capacity, phase, portability, and number of generators you’ll need.
  • Confirm access to items like first aid supplies, weather radios, plumbing supplies, portable lights, batteries, lumber, nails, tarps, and ropes.
  • Conduct an annual or semi-annual review of your insurance policy, and know the limits of your insurance coverage. Plan for areas not covered such as flood insurance, changes or improvements. That includes new structures, computers, automated equipment, etc., and interruption coverage.
  • Develop pre- and post-storm responsibilities (insurance communication/management, crop mitigation, greenhouse mitigation, and portable water) and identify who should take ownership of these responsibilities.

How loss mitigation works

If a loss happens, it’s also your responsibility to protect your property from any further damage. We offer services to help you do that.

Our property claims staff has extensive knowledge of greenhouse construction and ways to reduce risks. They’ll work closely with you and greenhouse contractors—including LL Klink, the largest greenhouse contractor in the country—to help reduce potential losses to structures, business personal property, and business income.

Here’s a real-life example of how we helped mitigate damage to a facility after a loss:

Strong winds caused the sidewalls on two acres of greenhouses to deflect by 18 inches. The structures were in serious jeopardy of going down if they experienced any additional wind. We had a greenhouse contractor there the next day. They repaired the sidewalls, preventing a collapse.

Our understanding of the greenhouse construction process allows us to help you in a specialized manner. Working with a greenhouse contractor, we’ll help you to develop a loss mitigation plan. We can:

  • Discuss cutting polyurethane (poly) coverings to save the structure in cases of heavy snow or storm damage. If we authorize cutting the poly, we pay for the plastic and the re-covering.
  • Coordinate efforts to provide temporary heat or move your material to undamaged areas of the facility.
  • Authorize and coordinate temporary repairs with wood and plastic to protect your plants and help you keep your business operating through a growing or busy season.
  • Save and strengthen structures that’ve been partially damaged. This can include pulling greenhouses that are wind-damaged or leaning them back into plumb with come-alongs.
  • Find replacement plants so you can fill customer orders. This could even mean repairing your structures first so you can begin your plant grows, before helping repair the structures of other customers whose jobs are to help finish your plants. We work to understand your industry and your place in it.

Proper precautions before a severe weather season—and quick, proper action after damage occurs—can help save your crop and greenhouse operations from severe storm damage. For more information about protecting your property from these risks, or how to get started on a greenhouse damage mitigation program, talk with your Hortica agent.

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For more information on protecting your business, check out the Hortica Resources section.

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