Resources courtesy of the
What To Do BEFORE A Loss Happens
U.S. Small Business Administration
Other Resources Include:
As a business owner you should plan for a loss BEFORE the loss occurs. It might be something as simple as maintaining accurate back-up inventory records to support a theft claim, a videotape stored off-site of your property and equipment to document things following a fire loss or on a grander scale a disaster preparedness plan to protect your business against natural disasters, liability claims and work place injuries or accidents. It's all just as important as developing your overall business plan. Having a procedure and plan in place before a loss occurs will make the claims settlement process go more smoothly and could be the difference between being shut down for a few days, or even losing your livelihood.
- Meet with an insurance agent who understands the needs of your business. Not all businesses are alike. Extra expenses often referred to as expediting expenses following a covered loss are often over looked but should be a consideration. Normal hazard insurance doesn't cover floods, so make sure you have the right kind of insurance. Make sure you understand upfront what your insurance does not cover.
- As the business owner, you should ask yourself the following questions: Am I prepared to relocate temporarily? What would happen if my suppliers shut down? Do my employees know what to do in case of an emergency?
- Employees should know where all the emergency exits are located. A safety coordinator could be appointed—someone who will take responsibility for making sure all the fire extinguishers work, planning safety drills, developing evacuation plans.
- Develop back to work (light duty) plans for workers and employees who are injured on the job but unable to immediately resume previous duties but are medically cleared to contribute in other work related capacities.
- Vital business financial and inventory records—information that is presently stored on paper, computer or video media should be duplicated and also saved to an offsite location at least 50 miles away from the main business site. Inventory records that show dates, purchase prices along with descriptive terms such as the make and model help establish an item in the adjustor's mind (most insurers will not pay for items that mysteriously disappear with no supporting documentation of their loss). This will speed up the claims handling process. Those records (no matter how well maintained) will never serve their intended purpose if they are destroyed in the same loss that impacts your business location. With decent quality video cameras so reasonable (any amateur) can in a matter of minutes produce a video recording for such insurance inventory purposes. With many of our clients already in the broadcast and media business access to quality video equipment should not be an issue.
- Your business should also have a “recovery communications” plan in place. Key employees can be assigned as spokespersons who will contact suppliers, creditors, other employees, customers, media and utility companies to get the word out that the business is still viable. Also, that spokesperson can keep the public informed of rebuilding efforts, if necessary.
- We can also assist, guide and steer you toward successful loss planning, loss prevention, disaster and pandemic planning or disaster recovery plans. Oftentimes, a basic plan will be enough provided you have solid insurance and risk management programs and loss prevention procedures already in place. But some operations require more help. We can work with you and help determine whether or not it makes sense for you to seek additional, specialized assistance? We can also refer you to firms who specialize in disaster recovery and business continuity resources such as:
- Regular data backup and recovery
- Fully furnished mobile offices
- Computer replacement
- Alternate site services
- Portable business communication networks
We also suggest you take a moment and investigate the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
and Small Business Administration
web sites so you can review your loss preparedness and prevention plans for your business. These are two sites well worth your time and investigation offering most business owners practical and cost effective suggestions, time tested procedures, disaster checklists and other guides that can help you protect your business and get you back up and running a unexpected loss or disaster.