How to Prepare Your Business for Hurricane SeasonPosted on Aug 24, 2018
While hurricanes can happen at any time of the year, hurricane season officially begins June 1 and ends on November 30. These are the months when hurricanes are most likely to occur in the Atlantic region.
Businesses operating along coastal (or inland from coastal regions) may suffer severe damage when hurricanes strike. Just like preparing your home for hurricane season, preparing your business is the most effective way to get back on track quickly in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Obtain Proper Insurance Coverage and Review Coverage Annually
Ideally, as a business owner, obtaining proper insurance coverage is something you do before hurricane season. But it’s never too late, so if you don’t have coverage, get in touch with us right away.
You especially want to make sure you have the right types and amounts of coverage to meet the current needs of your business, including business interruption coverage and flood insurance. Work closely with your insurance agent to review your policy so that all your needs are met now and as your business grows over time.
Depending on the extent and scale of damage from hurricanes, it may take weeks or even months for your business to complete repairs and reopen. Yet you continue to have business expenses. Business interruption coverage helps to fill in those gaps.
The commercial business insurance helps to restore wind damage to your building and inventory, but you’re going to need flood coverage to protect your business and assets from damage related to flooding and/or storm surge in most communities. Make sure you have adequate coverage to rebuild after the storm and keep your business active while rebuilding takes place.
Protect Company Data and Information
We live in a data-driven society. You most likely have many records, files, documents, etc. that must be protected and secured when storms occur. This is one instance where cloud services are extremely beneficial. You simply upload your data to the cloud where it can be stored indefinitely.
To make this work for events like hurricanes, which affect large swaths of land, you need to make sure your data is secured off site, preferably in a different region of the country. This means that if your building and computers are destroyed, you will continue to have remote access to your most important data, information, and files.
Secure Your Business Property
While there are weather events that occur that are beyond your control, like storm surge, you can minimize the damage wind, rain, and other issues have on your business by securing your property. With hurricanes, you can usually see them coming and have a few days to prepare your home and business properties before the storms lands.
- Board up windows and glass doors.
- Bring all lose items (signage, benches, tables, chairs, potted plants, etc.) inside or secure them so they won’t become projectiles in the wind.
- Use sandbags appropriately to protect against flooding.
- Get valuable items above counter height, when possible in case minimal flooding does occur.
You want to take all reasonable precautions to protect your property from damage during a hurricane.
Create a Communication Plan
When a wide area is devastated, and without power from a weather event like a hurricane, communication can be critical. Cell towers may be down, and power may be out in the initial days following a hurricane, further complicating communication.
Consider investing in two-way radios for key people within your organization and have a communication plan in place. Use text messages or email as a point of contact (or even Facebook check-ins) so that you know everyone is safe and they will be able to return to work once the storm passes.
You can also send text, Facebook, or email alerts to employees offering details about the state of your business (if you will be reopening immediately, closed indefinitely for repairs, or need all hands on deck for cleanup as soon as possible).
Communication is also critical for letting your customers know the state of the business after a storm.
Encourage customers to sign up for email and Facebook updates from your business and keep them informed of your status as repairs are made and when you will be open again.
With the right plan in place, your business can weather almost any storm Mother Nature throws your way. The key is to have a plan in place and the proper insurance coverage to help you make it happen.