By Andrea Roundy, Leavitt Group
Though we cannot prevent some disasters from occurring and affecting our businesses, we can implement measures to increase our resilience to these disasters and improve our ability to recover from such events. Here are a few suggestions for preparing your business for disaster:
- Establish a recovery team that includes a primary and back-up crisis manager. Make sure all members of the team understand their role in the recovery process.
- Identify critical business functions along with the resources, personnel, and actions required to restore these functions during a disaster recovery.
- Locate an alternative location where you can operate your business should disaster make your current location temporarily uninhabitable. Identify a location as an emergency command center for recovery efforts.
- Outline a plan to communicate with your employees, vendors, suppliers, key customers, and the media.
- Make a copy of your disaster recovery plan (including employee, customer, and supplier contact information) and store it in an offsite location.
In addition to the above recommendations, contact your Leavitt Group insurance consultant to review your current insurance coverage to make sure it is adequate for various types of disasters. For more details on preparing your business for disaster, visit preparemybusiness.org.
Statistics show that 90 percent* of businesses fail within a year following a disaster unless they are able to resume operations within the first five days after the disaster occurs. While the majority of large businesses have disaster recovery plans in place, many small to medium companies do not.
There are numerous resources available to aid a business in preparing for such events. These include preparemybusiness.org, disastersafety.org, and fema.gov.
By Andrea Roundy, Leavitt Group
Businesses that are set up to recover quickly from disaster will benefit by getting back in business sooner, restoring their income, getting their employees back to work more quickly, and continuing to provide the goods and services their community has come to rely on and enjoy. Though we all hope to not have to deal with the stress a disaster can bring, here are a few tips for business recovery should the need arise:
Following a disaster, make it a priority to keep people and property safe from further loss. Report power and gas line damage as soon as possible. Before allowing employees and customers to re-enter the property, it is important to ensure the building is safe. Make arrangements for a contractor or structural engineer to inspect your building and identify the extent of the damages. If the building is deemed unsafe for occupancy, make arrangements to work from a different location until repairs can be made.
Report Your Losses.
It is important that you get in contact with your insurance agent as quickly as possible to report your losses. Be prepared to provide details regarding how, where, and when the loss or damage occurred. If possible, it is helpful to have your policy number available when you call.
Beyond the initial general description you provide to your insurance agent, it is important to make note of all damages as you conduct a more thorough investigation of your property. Keep track of all damages you find, including those to the building structure (roofing, siding, and windows), property, signage, equipment, product inventory, and raw materials. Taking photos or videos will be helpful in documenting specific details.
Prevent Further Damage with Temporary Repairs.
Taking time to make temporary repairs can be helpful in protecting your property from further damage. Prevent weather-related damage by covering holes in the roof and boarding up broken windows. Block off areas of the building that are completely unusable. If moving to a temporary location, notify your customers and suppliers of the change of address to prevent unnecessary traffic around damaged property.
Start Cleaning Up.
The clean-up efforts you employ will depend on the nature and extent of the damages that have occurred. Your insurance company may recommend you hire a professional cleaning service. However, regardless of who does the work, clean-up efforts should be handled in a way that prevents further damage or injury from occurring. If you and your employees are handling the job, use eye protection, gloves, hardhats, and dust masks/respirators. Sanitation systems and gas and power lines should be restored as quickly as possible – contact the appropriate companies for each of these items to be repaired.
The coverages discussed herein are for illustrative purposes only. The terms and conditions of your specific policy may differ from those described.
Please consult the provisions of your policy for the terms, conditions, and exclusions that apply to your coverage.