A Travelers Insurance questionnaire posed to small-business owners who recently attended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Summit shows that most are at risk in the wake of a potential disaster.
According to the questionnaire, approximately 57 percent of SBOs 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 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," says Marc Schmittlein, president and CEO of Travelers Small Commercial Accounts.
"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. "
Preparing for the storm
At the summit, Travelers hosted a session that outlines steps for building a business-continuity plan. The company also recommends that SBOs take the following steps to prepare for storm season and 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- and short-term safety requirements, as well as procedures during and after the hurricane.
- Back up your business.
Consider keeping a back-up generator and plenty of batteries on hand. Back up critical data and computer records off site so that operations can continue. Having back-up accounting documents and a record of business contents can assist in quickly moving the claim process for business-interruption coverage.
- Review your policies.
Understand your insurance policies and ensure that your business is properly covered for potential hurricane losses like wind, flood and interruption issues.
The questionnaire was conducted on site at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual America’s Small Business Summit held in Washington, D.C., this May. It is intended to represent the sentiments of approximately 300 small-business owner attendees who participated in an in-person interview over three days.
For more information about the questionnaire, visit www.travelers.com.
By Ayo Mseka