Severe weather events are on the rise across the United States. And it’s not just the frequency of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, and wildfires, but also the ramped up intensity of each disaster. Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of 2012 and the second costliest in U.S. history. It battered the east coast with “100-year” punishing winds and storm surges, and then dumped record snow in West Virginia. Wildfires across the western U.S. continue to break records for size, duration and destruction – both in acreage and infrastructure losses.
It’s critical that you plan for how your business will deal with severe weather events. Disasters can damage physical property, isolate your employees, displace your customers, cause long-term power outages, and otherwise make it difficult or impossible to continue business-as-usual.
You may have different priorities depending on the type of business you operate. Professional services firms may focus more on data protection, Internet connections and communications backup plans. Retail and manufacturing companies may be concerned with data protection, but also will need more robust plans to protect physical equipment and inventory and provide safety guidelines for their workforce. With proper planning and protection, you can help ensure that your business gets back in business as quickly as possible.
Different parts of the country are more prone to certain weather events. Understand which disasters are most common in your area. The primary extreme weather events that can wreak havoc on small businesses are:
Your business should have an emergency plan appropriate for the weather events you might experience. Depending on your business structure, you may need systems and procedures to:
According to the Harvard Business Review, business interruptions caused by weather is estimated to cost the U.S. $630 billion a year. Business income insurance can help replace lost revenues and cover continuing expenses so you can pay your bills and meet your payroll. In addition, you may need property insurance to cover buildings, equipment and inventory, plus specialized coverage for floods, fires and earthquakes. Pinpointing the right combination of insurance coverage is critical to help with the recovery process.