Last year we saw Harvey, Maria and Irma devastate the areas they tore through and those storms now rank in the top five costliest according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting an equally active 2018 season, so now is the time to make sure your small business is prepared.
It only takes one storm to compromise and overwhelm recovery and assessment systems. Insurers, claims adjusters, utility workers, governments etc. will put out an “all-hands-on-deck” call and move people into the storm wrecked area, but even additional manpower cannot compete with damaged infrastructure which can compromise assessment, clean-up and repairs. So how can you prepare now so you can get your business back up and running as quickly as possible? Let’s take a look at some recommendations from PropertyCasualty360º.
- Create and/or review your company continuity plan & supply chain network. This will involve looking at what critical needs you have to maintain your business operation or more quickly recover from a storm and get back to work. Do you store your important work data off-site and are able to access should you not be able to get to your office or shop? Do your product suppliers have a storm contingency plan? It’s also important to check with suppliers in other geographic areas from you should THEY suffer damage from a storm that comes nowhere near our area.
- Do you have a plan for your employees? It’s important that you communicate with your employees, whether you have one or 100, what the company storm plans/recovery process will be and the expectation from each employee. It’s also a great opportunity to discuss their own personal storm preparation. If you are in a position, you may also want to discuss any assistance that your business is prepared to provide should employees be out of work or suffer personal damages.
- Check your insurance coverages & learn about the claims process. If you have never had a claim, the process can be daunting and overwhelming. Now is the time to check in with your insurance agent and ask what storm/flood coverages you currently have and if there are additional insurance you should consider. Knowing how a claim is processed and what information would be needed to get a claim started will save you time and allow you to prepare as best as possible in advance. Again, some claims may need documentation that you would normally have in your office or shop; but if that structure is damaged, have an off-site copy will ease the claim process. You can also ask about “business interruption” coverage and see if your business is eligible or if you already have that in your policy.
- This is a great opportunity to talk personal insurance coverage with your employees. Mention that they should be checking with their agents on their home/renters, auto, flood and/or umbrella coverages.
- Review and update your records. When creating your storm contingency plans, make sure you review and updates and improvements you’ve made to your office/shop as well as new equipment, etc you have purchased. Make a copy of all receipts and store with your other off-site documentation and review any of these improvements or purchases with your insurance agent.
Now is the best time to create and implement your own business disaster plan and to check in with your insurance agent.