Hurricane season is finally here. Across the Gulf Coast and up the Eastern Seaboard, business owners are getting ready for the onset of a number of severe storms over the coming months. While the emphasis is often on homeowners, companies that don't prepare for these weather events as well could be at risk of catastrophic property loss and other damages.
With that in mind, a sound risk management plan that addresses the hazards of hurricanes should be a priority for all business owners in states that could be affected by these storms, such as Florida. All industries can be susceptible to problems, including the construction, manufacturing and healthcare sectors.
First named storm hits US
Early July marked the first named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. Tropical Storm Arthur was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane right before the Fourth of July holiday, missing out on the Florida coast but creating potentially hazardous situations further up the East Coast.
According to ABC News, mandatory evacuations have been ordered in some states, including North Carolina. The storm was forecasted to bring in strong rains and winds, plus the added danger of rip currents. In addition, the hurricane disrupted a number of holiday fireworks displays up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
Storms like Hurricane Arthur have the potential to cause moderate damage to buildings, including flooding. However, this was only the first named storm of the 2014 season, and business owners are likely going to face several more before it is all said and done.
Hurricanes have impact on insurance
Severe weather events can take a serious toll on the insurance industry as well as on businesses. One segment that has been particularly affected in the past has been property and casualty insurance, with a rising number of claims and increasing costs.
According to the property and casualty information company Insurance Services Office, hurricanes can place a significant amount of stress on the marketplace. For instance, some storms have been so severe that is challenging to settle all claims effectively and in a timely manner. Communication breakdowns have been known to occur, and demand for materials, labor and services to rebuild have driven up costs and impacted other segments.
Given the many hazards associated with major storms, business owners would be wise to take every available measure to protect their companies in the event of a severe hurricane.
Take steps to control loss
Thankfully, there are many ways that enterprises can improve safety and reduce the likelihood for high costs following a hurricane. While not all storms present a serious threat, preparing just in case can be a smart thing to do.
According to The Washington Post, the first step business owners should take involves their property. Floods, rains and winds can all damage a company, so make sure the exterior is protected against rising waters. Any debris or materials outside should be brought in, and any fuel tanks must be secured. In addition, electrical systems can be raised above potential flood levels to further protect against damage.
Furthermore, windows and doors must be boarded up in advance of severe weather, the media outlet explained. Shifting around delivery schedules and other events to keep workers out of harm's way is also a smart move. Any personal or professional information stored in the office should be backed up to a separate location, in case the hurricane were to destroy inventory, billing, payroll or other relevant data.
Above all else, business owners must have the right property and casualty insurance in place. In some cases, people may not understand the details of their policies and make assumptions before a hurricane strikes. To avoid complications, it is best to review all the language of the plan and acquire added coverage if it is needed.