Preparing Your Business for Disasters

We all do it – we worry about things we cannot change. What if you didn’t have to worry as much? You can’t prevent disasters from happening, but you can be prepared for a disaster before it takes place by planning now. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing you have a plan?

Business Continuity and Disaster Planning

Business continuity or disaster planning can be time consuming, and you might even think it isn’t necessary. Maybe you have had a loss before and feel as though “it can’t happen again, right?” Maybe you are simply too busy running your business to even think about planning for property damages.

The problem with this way of thinking is when the loss does occur, you aren’t ready. Businesses can go years, sometimes even decades without a loss. Some are lucky and never experience any major losses. But, having a false sense of security that a building/property will be fine in an event has put some companies out of business altogether. Statistics show that 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster, and another 25% that do reopen fail within a year.

The importance of having a disaster plan for your business cannot be measured. Being proactive can save you time and money, and it could mean the difference between staying open for business or closing your doors for good.

To help get you started with business continuity or disaster planning, there are countless resources available for free online. Just do a quick search using your favorite search engine and you will find dozens of government and non-profit organizations who focus on helping businesses prepare for disasters. These programs are simple to use and are a great place to start.

We find that our clients who also engage a disaster recovery partner before the loss occurs recover faster. By joining our Back in Business Program, you’re getting just that – a partner. We will work with you to become familiar with your business, your operational requirements, critical assets, and communication preferences. Then, we will build a customized response plan just for you, which enables us to provide a more efficient response and a faster recovery.

Insurance Policy Review

As part of your pre-disaster planning, we recommend reviewing your insurance policy. Commercial insurance policies are more complex than most residential policies and can be difficult to understand. Commercial policies contain an abundance of inclusions, exclusions, and generally a lot of confusing verbiage.

Many businesses don’t understand what their policy covers, and too often they unknowingly purchase an insufficient policy which does not cover all the risks they are exposed to, or the limits are not enough to cover a major loss. Usually they discover this too late – after the loss has occurred and they make a claim which ends up being denied.

You don’t want to be interpreting policy terms and conditions while you have an active claim, so take the time to learn your policy now – before experiencing a loss – and review it again every year when it’s time for renewal. There could be important changes that impact your coverage, and it is best to discover those right away.

Take time to sit down with your insurance broker or agent, the claim specialists within your brokerage firm, your risk management team, business continuity planners, and your executive management team. Ask about real-life scenarios. If x happens, is it covered? Make sure your policy limits are sufficient to cover damages in the event of a loss. What if you experienced major damages? Review exclusions and endorsements. Know your deductibles. Clear up any ambiguities in writing before renewal coverage is bound. If you need to make changes, make them now.

Remember! Once a loss happens, the coverage you have in place is what you have to work with. Don’t be afraid to ask the right questions today.