How A Business Owner With A Serious Health Condition Can Plan For Business Continuation In Case Of A Disaster
While planning for the “what ifs,” Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, 9/11 and electrical blackouts have brought home that we all need to plan for natural or other disasters.
The key is to get back in business as quickly as possible with no interruptions in your medical care.
Appropriate property and casualty insurance is important, but insurance doesn't address the confidence that people have in the business. The faster you can be up and running, the faster you can reassure people that you can deliver. You also keep competitors at bay – and perhaps grab some more business.
Consider the following steps:
Step 1. Create A “Just In Case” Business Plan. Include what to do about your health condition in the event of a disaster.
When thinking about what to include in a business plan:
- Plan for the worst possible scenario.
- In addition to considering what would happen if disaster strikes your business, make plans in case disaster strikes the business of a major supplier.
- Think about the kinds of natural and other disasters that can hit your business. Tornadoes? Earthquakes? Floods? If the sprinkler systems malfunction, do you have a supply of easily accessible plastic coverings? If employees are unable to access the building, is there a designated meeting place? Has your business considered the dangers of employee espionage or workplace terrorism?
- What critical business activities and resources are needed to support them to maintain your business and customer service while your business is closed?
- Back up your computers often and make copies of important written documents. Take all copies off premises, perhaps even out of the area
- Appoint a "disaster leader" or leaders to provide guidance and make decisions during a disaster.
- Include in the plans what to do about your health condition in the event of a disaster.
- How do you assure a safe, continuing supply of medications?
- What if something happens to your doctor, or the facility in which you receive treatments. How will you continue to receive needed treatment?
- Is there a copy of your medical records in a safe place? (For more information, see Medical Records).
In addition, according to the Insurance Information Institute:
- Find alternative facilities, equipment and supplies.
- Set up an emergency response plan and train employees to execute it.
- Consider back-up sources of power and communications systems.
- Stockpile supplies you may need such as first-aid kits and flashlights.
- Compile a list of important phone numbers and addresses, including local and state emergency management agencies, major clients, contractors, suppliers, financial institutions and insurance agents. The list should also include employees and company officials. Keep copies off the premises in case the disaster is widespread.
- Decide on a communications strategy to prevent loss of customers. Clients must know how to contact your company.
- Review your plan regularly and communicate changes to key employees.
Step 2. Before you put a “Just In Case” Plan in place, test it.
This is an important step not to be missed. There will always be surprises. A test helps minimize them and hone your plan.
Testing can be as simple as a check list to see that all supplies are in place, to talking through a plan (e.g. you describe a scenario and employees describe what they are supposed to do), to a full scale drill which can be overseen (or at least reviewed) by your expert advisors.
For more information on disaster planning, see www.fema.gov/plan/index.shtm
Step 3. Make sure you have appropriate insurance.
Consider adding Business-Continuation Insurance (also known as Business-Interruption Insurance) to your office policy or as a stand alone policy. A Business Continuation policy provides ongoing cash to cover ongoing rent obligations or to spend on whatever you feel is necessary to restart the business.
Look at policies which cover specific disastrous situations depending on the risks where you are located. For instance, you can purchase flood insurance, hurricane insurance, earthquake insurance, sewer backup and computer coverage (which covers data losses).
Step 4. Learn how to file claims now so you can move quickly if necessary.
The sooner you file a disaster claim, the better. Claims are usually settled in the order in which they are received. Take photos of the damage as soon as you can after it has occurred to show how much has been damaged.
For information about how to file a claim, click here.
To Learn More
More InformationBusiness Owners