© SOLARSEVEN / SHUTTERSTOCK
BY HART S. BROWN
IT’S SEPTEMBER, and
we are in the middle of
hurricane season. Brace
yourself for the perfect
storm. The National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
is predicting more
named storms in ;;;; than usual. All in all,
these elements have put business owners
and insurance carriers on high alert.
All it takes is one storm to wipe out
your business, causing you and your
employees great physical, financial and
emotional damage. Be prepared, and consider the following tips to ensure your business stays as safe as possible.
Review your business emergency plan.
First, review your insurance coverage,
revisit your crisis management plan and
calculate this year’s potential business
interruption costs. Review your partner-
ships with remediation firms, and prepare
to recover with a business continuity plan.
This will include services like electricity
and water supply, as well as turning off gas
and electricity on short notice.
Also, establish a backup location for
your business and employee meetings, and
coordinate with neighboring businesses.
Plan for transportation and supply
chain disruption. Before a storm hits,
review options to postpone unnecessary
incoming shipments and/or accelerate
outgoing shipments. Seek information on
road and bridge conditions before driving
long distances or routing shipments
through affected areas. Remember that
disasters can also have an impact on your
suppliers and other businesses not directly
affected by the storm, causing disruption
and a potential domino effect along the
Understand damage potential. Even
sturdy buildings can fall victim to roof and
wall failures during a major storm.
Prepare for locations to be uninhabitable
for weeks or months after a storm.
When it comes to water damage, floodwaters can carry bacteria, oil, heavy metals and pesticides, so a proper cleaning
and preparation plan for rebuilding are
critical to protect occupants.
Handle communications and data. Back
up data to the cloud and files to an off-site
location to ensure that your business can
continue seamlessly. Set up a call-forward-ing service at a backup location as well.
Restart business activity. Once it’s safe
to return to your business, document dam-
ages in photos and video clips. Send them
to your broker and insurance company,
and maintain a copy for your records.
When it comes to damage repair, establish
regular communication with local offi-
cials who can provide approval for build-
ing reconstruction. Also, contact funding
sources for restoration, including your
insurance broker and carrier.
If the facility requires repairs, consider allowing employees to telecommute,
or open with reduced hours or limited services. Notify customers of your availability,
as they may assume the worst, seeing
Don’t let hurricanes or storms
take your business down
images of the storm in media outlets. If
you know, tell them when you’ll reopen,
when you can again take orders over the
phone or via email and/or your website,
and when deliveries will resume.
Beware of scams. After the storm, be
wary of someone showing up unannounced
to discuss insurance or restoration issues,
without directly contacting you ahead of
time. Similarly, don’t let an unsolicited contractor inside. Finally, remain vigilant
when it comes to malicious cyber activity
seeking to capitalize on the storm as well. C
Hart S. Brown is vice president of organizational resilience for HUB International, a
global insurance brokerage.
SOUND THE ALARM
HOME FIRES kill as many as seven people
a day in the U.S. The American Red Cross
will Sound the Alarm this fall to reduce
these tragic numbers as part of its Home
From September 23 to October 15,
thousands of Red Cross volunteers and
partners will Sound the Alarm through a
series of home fire safety and free
smoke alarm installation events in more
than 100 high-risk communities across
the country. The goal: Install 100,000
What you can do
The Red Cross is asking every household to take these lifesaving steps.
• Place smoke alarms on every level
of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms. Test them monthly, and
change the batteries at least once a year,
if your model requires it.
• Create escape plans to include at
least two ways to escape from every
room. Select a meeting spot a safe distance from the home where family members can meet and regroup.
• Discuss the plan with everyone in
the household, and practice it at least
twice a year.
Sound the Alarm
Volunteer. The Red Cross needs
35,000 volunteers to install smoke alarms
this fall. Visit Sound TheAlarm.org to find
events in your community, and join neighbors in going from door to door to install
free smoke alarms, replace batteries and
help families create escape plans.
Donate. Your donation will go toward
educating families on fire safety, installing
free smoke alarms and providing food,
comfort and aid to those who have been
affected by a fire.—American Red Cross