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Did You Know?

One in four small businesses shut their doors after suffering a major catastrophe.

Disaster Planning

Do you have a disaster plan to protect your business and employees?
September 11, 2001, changed our world in many ways, but unfortunately it also made the seemingly distant threat of disaster very real to business owners of every size. Businesses have always needed to have a disaster plan in place, but the terrorist attacks have taken risk planning off the back burner and made it a priority. In addition, with commercial property insurance and workers compensation rates expected to be dramatically impacted by the new terrorist threat, businesses need to look at what preventative measures they can take to help reduce risks and potentially save money on insurance.

How can I help disaster-proof my business?
Businesses that recover quickly are those that plan in advance. This involves not only purchasing the right insurance, but also developing and maintaining an adequate recovery plan. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association offers these tips for reducing the risk of damage in advance of an emergency:

  • Train employees in fire safety, particularly those responsible for storage areas, housekeeping, maintenance and operations where open flames or flammable substances are used.

  • Modernize the electrical system since faulty wiring causes a large percentage of nonresidential fires.

  • Situate your business in a fire-resistant building - a structure made of non-combustible materials with fire walls that create barriers to the spread of fires - and in a building with a fire alarm system connected to the local fire department. It is also a good idea to have a sprinkler system to douse fires.

  • Limit storm-related damage by making sure the building conforms to damage-resistant building codes.

Develop a disaster recovery plan by:

  • Keeping up-to-date duplicate records of both computerized and written records. Under federal law, if companies fail to maintain and safeguard accurate business records, the company may still be held liable.

  • Identifying the critical business activities and the resources needed to support them in order to maintain customer service while your business is closed for repairs.

  • Planning for the worst possible scenario. Do research before a disaster strikes by finding alternative facilities, equipment and supplies, and locating qualified contractors to repair your facility.

  • Setting up an emergency response plan and training employees how to execute it.

  • Considering the resources you may need to activate during an emergency such as back-up sources of power and communications systems. Also, stockpiling the supplies you may need such as first-aid kits and flashlights.

  • Compiling a list of important phone numbers (including cell phone numbers) and addresses including, local and state emergency management agencies, major clients, contractors, suppliers, realtors, financial institutions, insurance agents and claims representatives. The list should also include employees.

Creating a Business Inventory

Know Your Stuff® – Business Inventory is the Insurance Information Institute's online inventory software specifically designed for businesses. An up-to-date Business Inventory is an important component of disaster planning. It can help you:

  • Purchase the right amount and type of insurance
  • Substantiate property losses to make filing an insurance claim faster and easier

Create your business inventory now!

Additional Information