A year ago on 23 December, much of the south of England was deluged with rain.

There was more flooding brought about by more severe weather over the next few weeks. Many people suffered flooding, it’s hard to forget the TV coverage of the Somerset Levels, along with the Thames-side villages of Datchet, Wraysbury and other places.

Independent retailer David Heritage, who runs Barns Green Village Stores & Post Office had 8 inches of water in his shop. The Fire Brigade arrived and told him that they could do nothing to help as the water outside his shop was at the same level as the inside. The cause was blocked drains. David’s solution was to call in a disaster recovery company who brought in pumps to empty the water out of the store.

Christmas Eve trading was reduced to allowing his customers who had ordered 70 turkeys and many fruit & vegetables to collect their orders. All his chillers and freezers had stopped working so they had to be cleared of stock. Clearly he and his wife Pippa did not enjoy the Christmas they were planning. A call to his insurers, NFRN Mutual certainly helped. As David says, they could not have been more helpful.

The claims handler at NFRN Mutual told him what they needed him to do so that they could meet his claim as quickly as possible to allow him to get trading again. The first things they agreed was that they would cover the cost of the disaster recovery company that he had employed and told him to dispose of all the unsalable chilled and frozen goods. Then they asked him to provide invoice evidence of any damaged stock along with the loss of business he had suffered.

Although he had 8 inches of water in his shop only one of his fridges failed to recover. He was told to replace it and NFRN Mutual paid the cost of the new fridge. David posted the package of claim evidence on the first Tuesday in 2014 and by Thursday that week there was a cheque for half the claim in the post to him. The second half was settled two weeks later.

David said: “To be honest the NFRN Mutual’s claim process is very simple and their brilliant claims handler was always happy to talk to me when I had a query.”

David and Pippa Heritage did not have a great start to 2014. After being flooded on 23 December they had a second flood on 5 January. Fortunately for David and Pippa, their community came to the rescue. David called for help to clean the store on the shop’s Facebook page and they had a great response.

Have you got a disaster plan and have you reviewed it recently? Horsham District Council has an online guide for businesses like David Heritage.