06 Jul How to Prepare Your Business for Natural Disaster
Owning your own business can be stressful enough without pining over all of the “what if’s”. However, of all the businesses that close following a disaster, more than 25% never open their doors again. That’s pretty scary to think about. Although we can’t predict or lower the risks associated with a natural disaster from hurricanes, there are important steps that can be put into place to protect your company’s bottom line.
A great way to be proactive is to create a Disaster Recovery Plan. The first thing you’ll need to do is perform a business impact analysis. As a small business owner, you can evaluate and plan on your own by using these strategies provided by the Insurance Information Institute.
- Set up an emergency response plan and train employees on how to carry it out. Click here for an Emergency Response Plan Worksheet from Ready.gov.
- Write out each step of the plan and assign responsibilities to employees in clear and simple language. Hold regular, scheduled drills to practice these procedures.
- Consider the items you may initially need during the emergency. Do you need a back-up source of power? Do you have a back-up communications system?
- Decide on a communications strategy to prevent the loss of customers. It can be as simple as posting notices outside your premises, regularly posting updates on social media, and contacting clients by phone, email, or regular mail.
- Protect your employees and customers from injury on the premises. Consider the possible impact a disaster will have on your employees’ ability to return to work and how customers can return to your premises, or receive goods or services.
- Compile a list of important phone numbers and addresses. The list should include local and state emergency management agencies, major clients, contractors, suppliers, realtors, financial institutions, insurance agents and insurance company claim representatives.
- Keep duplicate records. Back-up computerized data files regularly and store them off-premises. Keep copies of important records and documents in a safe deposit box and make sure they’re up to date.
- Even if your business escapes a disaster, there’s still a risk that the business could suffer significant losses due to the inability of suppliers to deliver goods or services, or because of a reduction in customers. Businesses should communicate with their suppliers and markets (especially if they’re selling to a business as a supplier) about their disaster preparedness and recovery plans so that everyone is prepared.
- Protect your building. If you own the structure that houses your business, integrate disaster protection for the building as well as the contents into your plan. Consider the financial impact if your business shuts down as a result of a disaster. What would be the impact for a day, a week, or an entire revenue period?
- Identify critical business activities and the resources needed to support them. If you cannot afford to shut down your operations, even temporarily, determine what you require to run the business at another location.
- Find alternative facilities, equipment, and supplies, and locate qualified contractors. Consider a reciprocity agreement with another business. Try to get an advance commitment from at least one contractor to respond to your needs.
- Protect computer systems and data. Data storage firms offer offsite backups of computer data that can be updated regularly via high-speed modem or through the Internet.
Remember, any flooding damages that you could sustain would not be covered without a separate flood policy for your business! Imagine the cost you would incur if you had to pay out-of-pocket for damages to your business and its contents. It would be astronomical, and if you had to close your doors due to a natural disaster, you wouldn’t have your regular income to lean on. If you don’t have a Business Flood Policy your business is at risk.
Contact SAVA Insurance Group to learn more about disaster planning, Business Flood Policies, and to determine your best insurance coverage needs!
- Tornado Safety
- Hail Safety
- Flood & Hurricane Season: Are You Prepared?
- Locking Down Your Business
- Flood Insurance 101
- Preparing Your Business For a Storm
- Hurricanes: A Preparedness Plan For Businesses
- Drought Safety Tips for Your Home & Business