SAFEGUARDS

Growing BusinessSAFEGUARDS

Weathering Severe Weather

QUICK SUMMARY

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, 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. No wonder one in five businesses has experienced a loss or interruption due to a storm or other catastrophic event, according to The Hartford’s 2013 Small Business Success Study.

You may have different priorities depending 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.

Which Weather Events Might Affect Your Business?

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:

  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Floods
  • Winter storms
  • Wildfires
  • Earthquakes
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How Can You Plan and Prepare for Extreme Weather?

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:

  • Protect your employees
  • Minimize potential damage to your physical property
  • Secure records and data
  • Operate from remote locations
  • Communicate with your workforce and customers
  • Apply for assistance from state and federal agencies
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What Kind of Insurance Protection Do You Need?

According to Symantec’s 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, the cost of downtime for small businesses affected by extreme weather events is $3,000 a day, on average. 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.

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