A questionnaire posed to small business owners who attended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Summit last week shows that the majority are at risk in the wake of a potential disaster.
Approximately 57 percent of small business owners surveyed feel only somewhat or not very confident that they have the appropriate insurance coverage to protect against insurable risks that can result in significant financial losses or cause them to go out of business.
Another 52 percent surveyed do not have a written business continuity plan or disaster recovery document that identifies and mitigates potential threats to a business, its employees and its customers in the event of a natural or man-made disaster or disruption.
“Given current economic conditions and increasingly unpredictable weather, small businesses have too much at stake to risk not having adequate coverage. While their larger counterparts may have the capital to self insure and cover gaps, a smaller enterprise without the same resources may be forced into bankruptcy. This has implications for not only small business owners, but also for their communities and our economy at large,” said Marc Schmittlein, President and CEO of Travelers Small Commercial Accounts. “The results demonstrate the need for small business owners to increase awareness of the risks facing their businesses. As one of the nation’s largest insurers of small businesses, along with our agents, we are committed to educating and arming entrepreneurs with tools and resources to manage risk, prevent business interruption and help them succeed.”At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Summit, Travelers hosted a breakout session, “Protecting Your Competitive Advantage and Employees,” to outline steps for building a business continuity plan. Small business owners can rely on the expertise of their insurance agents to help develop a plan and access risk control resources on Travelers’ website. Travelers recommends that small business owners take the following steps to prepare for storm season to help prevent damage when things go wrong:
- Create a Business Continuity Plan and Establish an "Emergency File" - Review existing plans and communicate emergency evacuation and business interruption instructions to employees.
- Develop a Hurricane Emergency Plan - Identify how you will prepare, respond and recover to the threat of a hurricane. Include long-term and short-term safety requirements as well as procedures during and after the hurricane.
- Back Up Your Business - Consider keeping a backup generator and plenty of batteries on hand. Back up critical data and computer records off-site so that operations can continue. Having backup accounting documents and a record of business contents can assist in quickly moving the claim process for business interruption coverage.
- Review Your Policies - Understand insurance policies and ensure the business is properly covered for potential hurricane losses like wind, flood and interruption issues.
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