Courtesy of iii.org
With predictions of an above-average hurricane season issued by Colorado State University this week, businesses need to take measures to prepare and increase their chance of surviving, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
Forty percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and another 25 percent fail within one year, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). But by taking action now to prepare, businesses can increase their chance of getting back on their feet financially and keeping their doors open.
The I.I.I. and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recommend the following steps:
Develop a Business Continuity Plan
Having a business continuity plan is vital for companies to prepare for, survive and recover from a hurricane. Use IBHS free OFB-EZ® (Open for Business) business continuity planning tool to create a plan that focuses on recovering after the initial emergency response. Share your plan with employees, assign responsibilities and offer training so your workforce can collaborate in the recovery of your business. Conduct regular drills to assess and improve response.
Maintain Key Information Offsite
To get your business up and operating as quickly as possible after a disaster, youll need to be able to access critical business information. In addition to backing up computer data, keep other critical information offsite such as your insurance policies, banking information and phone numbers of employees, key customers, vendors and suppliers, your insurance professional and others. If you have a back-up site, make sure its sufficiently far away so as not to be affected by the same risks that threaten the primary location. Use IBHS free EZ-PREPTM severe weather emergency preparedness and response planning toolkit with checklists that can be customized for your company to be sure you have a well-organized plan and are ready to respond when disasters occur.
Create a Business Inventory
Include all business equipment, supplies and merchandiseand dont forget commercial vehicles.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
The time to review your insurance policy is before disaster strikes and you have to file a claim. It is important that your business have both the right amount and type of insurance for its needs and risk profile. There are two types of policies you can buy as a business owner:
A Business Owner Policy (BOP) is commonly used by small businesses. BOP policies combine property and liability coverage in one policy and are usually less comprehensive than a commercial policy.
A Commercial Multi-peril (CMP) policy combines several coveragessuch as commercial property, liability, inland marine and commercial autointo a single policy. It is typically less expensive to buy a CMP policy than to buy the coverages individually.
Opt for Replacement Cost Coverage
Most commercial property policies provide either replacement cost coverage, actual cash value coverage, or a combination of both. Replacement cost coverage will pay to rebuild or repair property, based on current construction costs. Actual cash value coverage will pay to rebuild or replace the property minus depreciation. Depreciation is a decrease in value due to wear and tear or age. If your business is destroyed and you only have actual cash value coverage, you may not be in a position to completely rebuild.
Consider Tenant Coverage
If you rent or lease a building, consider tenant coverage, which will insure your on-premises property, including machinery, furniture and merchandise. The building owners policy will not cover your contents.
Dont Forget About Flood Insurance
Flooding is not covered by standard commercial insurance policies, so consider buying a separate flood policy. If youre located in a high- to moderate-risk flood zone, you could be protecting your business from devastating financial loss. Commercial flood coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and provides up to $500,000 in building coverage and $500,000 for contents. You can also get coverage through private insurers.
Visit the Business Insurance section of the I.I.I. website for more information.
Facts and Statistics: Catastrophes
Courtesy of iii.org
Greased lightning, fast as lightning, lightning in a bottle, lightning-bolt ideas. So many positive images of lightning exist that we may forget that lightning is deadly. Especially in Florida. This time of year, almost every locale is subject to a summer thunderstorm. And, we may get so used to them that we forget that thunder is the sound lightning makes. If you hear thunder, go for cover.
A construction worker was killed by lightning this week at a job site in Pembroke Pines, a victim of a direct lightning strike. Another worker at the same job was injured. Earlier this month, lightning caused an apartment fire in Orlando, and eight people had to find a new place to live and deal with replacing their charred belongings. Not all of them had renters insurance.
This should be no surprise then: Florida has the highest number of lightning-related fatalities. Lightning fires in non-residential properties caused an average of $108 million in direct property damage each year from 2007 to 2011 in the U.S. There are many things you can do to protect your home and your business from lightning damage – and the go-to resource is the Lightning Protection Institute. And, there is one very important thing to do to protect yourself: If thunder roars, go indoors.
Another important point: Those so-called myths about staying off the phone and out of the shower when a thunderstorm is raging are NOT myths. Get the facts on lightning safety
Courtesy of iii.org
Every year, millions of Americans safely enjoy outdoor barbecues, but accidents do happen. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 5,700 grill fires take place on residential property every year, causing an annual average of $37 million in damage, 100 injuries and 10 deaths. The majority of grill fires are caused by malfunctioning gas grills. In addition, thousands of people visit emergency rooms every year because they have burned themselves while barbecuing.
In the rare instance of a grill fire spreading to your property, your homeowners insurance would provide financial protection as fire is a covered peril. A homeowners policy covers the following:
- Damage to the house itself.
- Damage to personal possessions such as lawn furniture.
- Damage to insured structures on your property, such as a shed or gazebo.
- Injuries to a guest, under the liability portion of the policy.
Keep in mind youll have to pay your deductible before your insurance kicks in, so if damage is minimal and your deductible is high, it may not make sense to file an insurance claim.
However, the best way to enjoy a summer of outdoor barbecues is to take steps to prevent accidents, including maintaining your grill and using it safely.
Grill Maintenance and Storage
Gas grills are generally safe if they are properly maintained and checked for leaks. In some instances, grills are unsafe due to faulty design or construction. (You can search the website of the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see if there has been a recall on your grill.) When setting up at the start of each grilling season, the following tips can help ensure everybodys safety:
- Check grill hoses for cracks, holes and brittleness. Look for blockages as well, especially in the Venturi tube that runs to the burners. Clear blockagescaused by food drippings, spiders or insectswith a wire or pipe cleaner.
- Run a soap solution (one part liquid soap, one part water) along hoses and at connections, then open the valve at your tank and check to make sure that gas isnt escaping, which will be indicated by bubbles at the leaking points.
- Adjust hoses as needed away from hot areas or where grease might drip on them.
- Store propane tanks outside, away from your house. Always check to make sure valves are firmly turned off.
Safe Barbecuing Practices
When barbecuing, use common sense and follow these guidelines:
- Operate your barbecue on a level surface, away from your house, garage and landscaping. Dont move the grill once it is lit.
- Keep children and pets away from ther grill.
- Protect yourselfor whoever is doing the grillingwith a heavy apron and oven mitts that reach high on the forearm.
- For charcoal grills, use only lighter fluid designed for grilling. Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids, and never add more lighter fluid once the fire has started.
- Never grill indoors or in enclosed areas. Charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide (CO) fumes, which can be fatal in unventilated areas.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
- When youre done with your cooking, remember that the grill will remain hot for a while. Dont cover or store your grill until it has cooled, and soak coals with water before throwing them away.
In Case of an Accident
If a grill accidentor any kind of accidentdoes occur, injuries should be addressed immediately. Run cool water over minor burns, but do not cover injured areas with bandages, butter or salve. In the case of more serious burns, victims should visit the emergency room or an urgent care facility. If needed or when in doubt, call 911.
Once you have dealt with any injuries, assess your property damage and, if the situation calls for it, contact your insurance professional to discuss filing a claim.