What comes to mind when you think of the biggest threats to your company? Fire, theft, workers comp claims, auto accidents? You may feel pretty secure in your protection against those types of insurance claims and that’s a step in the right direction.
But what you might find interesting is that only 58% of natural disaster expenses were actually insured in 2021… That’s about $85 billion of the $145 billion in damages. In fact, overall natural disaster losses in last year alone were the fourth costliest ever recorded. There were hurricanes, earthquakes, freezes, floods and storms.
And even with $145 billion (yes, billion with a B) of damages in the U.S., a Beazley report found that only 12% of business owners ranked environmental risks as their most pressing concern. That report also found that only 38% of executives feel prepared to respond to environmental catastrophes.
So how can you reprioritize and feel confident in the event of damage that is beyond your control?
1. Create an Emergency Operations Plan
- What happens if something happens? Who is in charge? How will the effects on your business be communicated to staff and clients? Who will delegate on and off-site responsibilities? What if your physical work space is compromised? How will your team be contacted and kept informed if email isn’t an option? If something takes place during business hours, does everyone know how to evacuate and where to go? Or where to locate emergency kits?
2. Back up important data
- Hard copies of important data should be stored off-site and copies made as needed. Keep things like insurance, payroll and tax information stored somewhere that someone else knows how to access it if needed. Utilize the cloud for electronic storage as well.
3. Review and understand your existing insurance coverage
- Be sure you’re confident in the amount of coverage you have and that your Insurance Advisor has reviewed endorsements and any applicable additional coverages you may need.
4. Maintain good, open communication
- For your customers, use email and social media for updates if possible. Be sure they have contact information or know your protocol if your team is unreachable. And for your staff, stay in touch with them to ensure they are safe and healthy. It is also recommended to establish a disaster fund in case your company is unable to generate revenue, you can keep your team on payroll.
5. Regroup with your community
- It is likely that when you’re able to (literally) weather the storm, it’s hugely due to help from others… whether that be financial, cleanup efforts, rebuilding, emotional support, etc. Lend a helping hand to others in need after experiencing a natural disaster and your community will be stronger together.
There are some things we humans just can’t control and we have to relinquish that power to Mother Nature. For the most part, she treats us very well but for those catastrophic times that are thankfully few and far between, the best you can do as a business owner is BE PREPARED.