Of all businesses that close down following a disaster, more than 25 percent never open their doors again. While there’s no way to lower the risk of a natural disaster from hurricanes, there are critical measures that can be taken to protect your company’s bottom line from nature’s fury. A disaster plan and adequate insurance are keys to recovery.
Disaster Recovery Plan
No matter how small or large a business, a business impact analysis should be developed to identify what an operation must do to protect itself in the face of a natural disaster. Large corporation or small entity, you can do some analysis and planning on your own using these strategies:
- Set up an emergency response plan and train employees how to carry it out.
- Write out each step of the plan and assign responsibilities to employees in clear and simple language.
- Consider the things you may initially need during the emergency.
- Decide on a communications strategy to prevent loss of customers..
- Protect employees and customers from injury on the premises.
- Compile a list of important phone numbers and addresses.
- Keep duplicate records. Back-up computerized data files regularly and store them off-premises.
- Even if your business escapes a disaster, there is still a risk that the business could suffer significant losses due to the inability of suppliers to deliver goods or services, or because of a reduction in customers.
- Protect your building.
- Identify critical business activities and the resources needed to support them.
- Find alternative facilities, equipment and supplies, and locate qualified contractors.
- Protect computer systems and data.
Review Your Insurance Plan
Make sure you have sufficient coverage to pay for the indirect costs of the disaster—the disruption to your business—as well as the cost of repair or rebuilding. Most policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage and you may need to buy separate insurance for these perils. Be sure you understand your policy deductibles and limits. Most business owners are complacent about natural disasters until it happens to them. It’s only when the owner has gone through a disaster that a disaster plan, including purchasing the proper insurance, is usually considered.