Why Continuity Planning Matters: Only 60% of Businesses Recover From Disasters

This year, hurricane season is in full effect. Businesses in the paths of Harvey and Irma dealt with significant impacts. Most small business owners are occupied running their business. Plan for natural disasters is a distant thought. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 40% of local entrepreneurs close following a disaster. The lessons learned from this year’s hurricane season distill to one: a disaster plan is essential for commercial survival.

Recent findings from CNBC demonstrate owners are thinking about other things when it comes to disasters. A paltry 8% of respondents said the environment is a top concern when planning business matters. That number drops to 6% in the Southwest, and 5% in the hurricane-plagued south. Job creation, healthcare, immigration, and the “other” category all ranked higher for attention.

Plans can help businesses survive and recover faster. Here are 5 ways entrepreneurs can prepare for natural disasters:

1. Use Online Backup

There may be little notice before disaster strikes. thumb drives, Cloud services, and external hard drives can all store important records. Things such as:

  • Invoices and contracts
  • Agreements
  • Employee documents
  • Accounting and tax papers
  • Insurance paperwork

Rebuilding will be easier if these are protected and safe.

2. Create Plans for Employees, Vendors, and Customers

A business can prepare for a disaster, but customers, employees, and vendors are essential for survival. Insurance policies may cover business losses, but planning for customers and staff can help prepare. Businesses should share information with customers and staff early about possible supply or sales delays.

  • Customers: Helping customers by sharing information can aid preparations. Staying in touch with regular and important customers helps strengthen relationships. Open lines of communication with customers will let them know when the business is back open.
  • Employees: Help employees prepare by outlining clear instructions for pay and leave during a disaster. Keep and update employee contact information for updates during and after a storm or event.
  • Vendors: Vendors and distributors are a vital part of the commerce. Disaster-related delays may force them to shop elsewhere unless they’ve been informed.

Promptly address customers, employees, and vendors when disaster strikes. It may be a regional event or one specific to a single business. Sharing information with others can help a business survive a disaster.

3. Create a Continuity Plan

A continuity plan enables businesses to keep doing business following a disaster. Label key operations and assign employees to specific roles. Some staff may require cross-training for disaster relief purposes.

The government recommends the following components exist in a disaster plan:

  • Find the most-important company operations.
  • Develop techniques for filling emergency supply and staffing gaps
  • Test the plan for areas to improve on
  • Educate staff members

Continuing operations can generate much-needed revenue following a disaster. Businesses able to operate quickly following a disaster are more likely to survive.

4. Evaluate Risks

There are many risks to consider when crafting an emergency plan for a business. There are events common to all businesses, and some which may be specific to an industry or area. An insurance agent can help determine areas of risk specific for an individual business preparedness plan. An agent will ask questions to help determine possible areas to prepare for, such as:

  • Is the business in an area prone to extreme weather?
  • Is there a history of flooding in the area?
  • Is the company in a city at risk of terrorism?
  • Does the business produce volatile products?

Risks common to an industry or location can help determine adequate insurance coverage for protection.

5. Practice

Drills help staff learn disaster plans for better implementation if needed. Businesses that drill for disaster plans are more likely to have those drills work during a crisis.

Insurance agents are knowledgeable resources for information about potential disasters and preparing for them. The world can be dynamic but with the right insurance coverage a business can survive a disaster and come out successful. A disaster plan may never be necessary but if so, it can mean closing for a storm and closing forever.

Our agents are always looking for insurance related topics for better health and better savings. For any insurance-related questions please contact us for answers.


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Underinsurance in Small Business

Recent studies many small businesses have inadequate insurance coverage. Often, business owners don’t find out until they need to make a claim. The ins and out of business insurance can difficult to navigate for small business owners who simply don’t know enough about coverage. Knowing the types of coverage needed will help you ensure you have the right insurance protection for your small business.

There are 3 ways you can prepare before speaking to an insurance agent. This can help you ensure you get adequate coverage for your own unique operating situation. When shopping for insurance it can be helpful to:

1: Know your risks

Understanding the risks specific to your business will help you determine what level of insurance coverage you need. Your business may face any number of operating risks, such as:

  • Customer traffic
  • Public advertising
  • Transportation of goods or people
  • Property agreements
  • Food service and more

Approaching risk head-on with proactive business insurance coverage will help you avoid headaches and costs later on.

2: Determine your own concerns

No one knows the daily operation of your business better than you. If there’s something you think you may need coverage for, ask. Your insurance provider will tell you if coverage is necessary and what policies may be available.

3: Do the research

Try to find out what types of coverage are required for businesses like yours. Do you serve alcohol? Rent property? Certain businesses have additional coverage required by law. A web search can help you determine the levels of coverage required for your own business.

Shopping for Business Insurance

There is no set of rules stating the order of operations when opening a business. This leaves many business owners wondering when to begin or change their insurance coverage. Listed below are the most common reasons to begin or change a business insurance policy:

  • Starting a company. Business insurance is part of starting a small business. Small businesses – even home-based ones – need equipment, tools, and/or retail product to thrive. These items can be costly to replace if stolen, damaged, or lost. Additionally, businesses interacting with the public either face-to-face or through advertising will want insurance coverage before opening their doors. For many business owners, a Business Owner’s Package plan (BOP) is a good place to start. These policies generally bundle property, service responsibility, and company disruption policies into single plans.
  • Renting Office, Storage, or Retail Space. When you lease any physical location or building you must generally provide evidence of business insurance coverage. You can avoid a lot of extra work by obtaining coverage before shopping locations. When looking at spaces ensure your policy coverage is appropriate for the location.
  • Hiring New Staff. If you have employees you’ll need additional unemployment, salary, and (for many businesses) disability insurance. You may also wish to consider including extra coverage (such as a medical insurance plan) for your employees.
  • Introducing New Products or Services. When developing a new product, check with your broker to ensure your policy sufficiently covers any risks. For small businesses providing services, insurance coverage can help protect against employee errors or omissions. Insurance coverage can help shield you from customers perceiving injury or loss due to your products or services.
  • Raising Capital. Growth is great, but an increase in size means an increase in risk. Companies raising capital through the sale of shares may want increased coverage. In fact, any company operating with a board should consider Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance. Directors and Officers insurance protects board members from business legal matters. Candidates may request this be in place before accepting the position.

Knowing your risks and the coverage you need can help you find the right insurance policy for your small business. Protect yourself from the start by finding the right plan to cover your risks. Small businesses are unique – your own business may require extra coverage built into your plan. Businesses in areas prone to natural disasters are highly encouraged to check their own policy for protection. After a disaster occurs, it’s too late.

Finding and managing business insurance doesn’t have to be difficult. Plan ahead, ask questions and compare plans before buying. Keeping your insurance documents accessible will ensure you have them if, and when, you need them.

We’re always on the lookout for great information about insurance topics that can impact your health and your wallet. If you have any insurance-related questions, please reach out to us for answers.


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Insurance for pollution Is That a Real Thing

It may be hard to believe but pollution insurance not only exists – it could also save you a lot of money. Most business owners have to pick and choose where to spend their money. Few companies operate with an unlimited overhead. If you aren’t dumping waste or pollutants into the ecosystem, you might you are exempt. The truth is, almost all business owners need pollution insurance. Even if you think you aren’t causing environmental pollution, you could be held liable for damages caused your home or business.

What Is Pollution Insurance?

Environmental Impairment Liability (EIL) came into existence in 1978. Known also as pollution insurance, EILs protect against costs resulting due to pollution. Before this, standard insurance packages did not cover pollution damage. This led to heavy costs and painful headaches for many businesses. In extreme cases, such as ecological disasters, damages may fall into the millions and up.

EIL covers the costs of a cleanup in the event of contamination. Some policies extend coverage to associated legal fees and costs. Companies that do not have pollution insurance may face crippling costs and legal battles following a disaster. Pollution insurance applies to more than large firms with an obvious environmental impact. Smaller businesses and homeowners can all enjoy peace of mind with pollution insurance inclusion

What Does EIL Cover?

At the basic level, Environmental Impairment Liability policies fall into two categories:

1: Premises Insurance. Firms and homeowners may be culpable for contamination that emanating from the property. Most pollution originates service areas, storage facilities and within apartment complexes. An EIL plan should cover the damages others suffer due to pollution caused by your property. It does not cover the damage to the property, damage which would fall under property insurance.

2: Contractor’s Insurance. Contractors and other professionals often risk damage while working on site. They may unintentionally pollute a commercial or residential space. Contamination may result:

  • Mold
  • Leaks
  • Spills
  • Air pollutants, and more

Contractors take very real risks but insurance protection is available.

Getting Pollution Insurance

Pollution damage can be costly but proper insurance protection can save your business and home. EIL plans are custom-built around your business and your needs. An experienced insurance agent will help you understand the options available so you have the protection you need. Contact us today to learn more about Environmental Impairment Liability insurance and for other ways to protect your home and business. Be sure to reach out to us with any insurance questions you have.

There are many insurance ideas that influence our finances, health, and general well-being. We welcome your topics!


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What You Should Know About Business Owners Policies

There are many uncertainties in business life resulting in unforeseen challenges. Disasters happen all the time caused by from nature, equipment failures, and accidents. Usually, 90% of the costs incurred by these disasters falls on the business owner. The proprietors foot the bills when they thought their insurance would.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Savvy business owners look for commercial insurance coverage called Business Owner Policy (BOP). BOP cushions firms and their owners against the high costs of damage to property, and injuries to people. BOP is a necessary protective measure for business owners who want personal protection.

1: What is BOP?

BOP is a commercial insurance plan tailored into a package best-suited for the individual business owner. Business Owner Policy accounts for the standard protection requirements of all small-medium size companies, then forms them into one complete package. BOP packages allow for extra coverage options as well, depending on your business needs. Stop wading through the sea of business insurance policy options. BOP is the inexpensive, convenient, and complete package.

According to Investopedia, a BOP is often the less-expensive option compared to creating the same plan from scratch. BOP packages meet the needs and address the concerns of individual business owners through customization. BOP packages are flexible because not all businesses share the same types and levels of risk. It’s common for commercial insurance brokers to meet with business owners first, determining their specific requirements, before crafting a package. Packages vary based on:

  • Professional services provided
  • Customer exposure
  • Regional hazards

A professional broker can help you create a complete insurance package for your business.

2: What’s Does BOP Include?

  • BOP packages apply to both residential and commercial property. Policy coverage can be standard or unique. Unique options offer extra advantages through increased and specific protection. At the basic level, BOP provides the following coverage:
  • BOP includes both liability and property insurance for all company-owned building and their contents. Property insurance is available in standard and special options, offering increased levels of coverage for those who need it.
  • BOP supplies interruption coverage, protecting owners against losses incurred due to disaster.
  • BOP liability protection protects the company for the actions of its employees and owners. Also covered are workplace liability incidents, defective products, faulty services and more.
  • BOP does not cover auto insurance costs, disability settlements, and workers compensation. Separate policies will be necessary to include coverage for those concerns.

3: How Much Does it Cost?

Insurance Noodle contends there is no one true figure for the cost of BOP. Cost for BOP is dependent on a variety of factors that differ from business to business. Client base, business size, annual revenue, customer traffic, risk… These all factor into your BOP needs and cost. Business owners should consider all their needs when shopping for a BOP. What BOPs have in common is helping keep costs low, and helping protect business owners.

Providers use different systems when crafting BOP plans for business owners. There are many pre-packaged options available, and customized packages are available to meet your specific needs. Add-ons like industrial car insurance, flood insurance coverage and earthquake insurance may be worth considering, depending on your circumstances. Always investigate your market before settling on your BOP

Have some information or ideas on insurance topics you think might be relevant to your health or finances? Feel free to share with us! Don’t hesitate to contact us for any of your insurance-related questions.


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Wages On The Rise Due to Competition

In the United States, studies have shown that the labor market continues to expand with more jobs available for the second half of the year. Additionally, a large percentage of companies expect to increase salaries this year.

In fact 60% of companies are going to hire new employees between July to December. (This is according to CareerBuilder’s 2017 Midyear Task Forecast.) This number represents a 50% increase over the previous year. Additionally, 46% of businesses plan to hire contract employees. This represents an increase from the previously reported 32% in July 2016.

Demonstrating strengthening economic confidence, CareerBuilder also found that 27% of employees intend to change jobs by the end of the year. (Need to retain employees? Now’s the time to re-evaluate your benefits plan…)

The CareerBuilder study resulted from surveying 2,369 hiring managers and human resource specialists. It also gathered input from 3,662 private, full-time employees.

The CEO of CareerBuilder released a statement that confirmed the findings of his report. He stated that most employers were confident in their expectation of economic growth and increased need for workers.

The growing competition for skilled workers is giving job seekers a greater chance of being choosy about where they work. (Allowing them to find positions that give them greater work/life balance.)

He also went on to say that job seekers benefitted from having greater career options. Companies are rapidly trying to fill open positions and are willing to pay more to their employees. (Companies are also showing a better understanding that employees need to have positive feelings about where they work…)

Another study completed by Manpower Group further backed up these findings. According to this “Workforce Employment Expectation Study”, there are strong indications of an increase in hiring. Manpower found that U.S. companies are anticipating the hiring rate to stay favorable in the remaining months of 2017.

A survey of 11,00 companies indicated that 24% of the companies had the goal to hire new employees between July and September.

In many job areas, employers indicate that they have fairly steady plans to hire new employees. Segments with the largest anticipated growth include durable goods manufacturing.

For the last six months of the year, there are certain industries that will outpace others in hiring. This is according to the CareerBuilder survey results.

  • IT companies are the ones that are most likely to hire new employees with 72% planning to increase their worker force.
  • Manufacturers at 66%,
  • Health care with 64%, and
  • Financial services with 62%.

Manpower Group’s survey indicates solid growth in the leisure and hospitality fields. This also anticipates solid growth in:

  • Transportation,
  • Wholesale,
  • Retail, and
  • Professional services.

The constant changes in technology are also changing the skills that are needed. Manufacturing, for example, requires workers who are more technologically sophicticated.

To remain competitive, employers are offering better benefits combined with on the job learning to support employee upward mobility.

Companies that are most likely to hire through the rest of the year are going to be in the following areas:

  • Skilled trade, 15%
  • Software specialists, 14%
  • Cybersecurity, 13%
  • Sales, 13%
  • Administrative, 13%

Both of the studies indicate that the employment outlook in the United States is favorable. The greatest growth is anticipated in the Western states.

Midsize companies have the highest percentage of employee growth. Smaller local businesses are also reporting their greatest yearly growth according to CareerBuilder.

Meanwhile, more than 70% of HR supervisors told CareerBuilder they feel pressured to increase salaries. This is because of an increasingly tight and competitive labor market.

In fact 53% of survey participants intend to increase the starting salaries for new employees over the following six months. 32% intend to raise the initial salaries within job offers by 5% or even greater.

What this means for your business is that you will fight harder to attract and retain great quality workers. If you need to chat about benefits we’ll be happy to help point you in the right direction.


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