Can Natural Disasters hurt your small business?

Here are 5 Natural Disasters that can wreak havoc on your Small Business.

 

With the presence of hurricane season upon us and the two examples we have in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, now is a good time to have a conversation with your insurance agent about just what risks your small business faces when it comes to natural disasters. The risks are going to be different depending upon where your business operates, but now is as good of a time as ever to determine what risks you face and what coverages you may or may not need. Here are 5 types of disasters every business should prepare itself for.

Key West is one area that frequently gets hit by hurricanes. Small businesses in this area have a knack for dealing with natural disasters.

Hurricanes

Obviously, if you live in the Midwest, you may not need coverage to protect your business from a hurricane.  But the effects of a hurricane can travel very far inland, depending upon the strength of the storm. The states of Tennessee and Kentucky do not have a coast line, but they are feeling the effects of Hurricane Harvey at this very moment.  If you live in a coastal community, it is important to find out what exactly your hurricane policy does and does not cover. You may need an additional flood policy to deal with storm surge and flooding that comes after the tornado.  A short conversation with your agent should help you determine what all policies you need.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes are a type of natural disaster that can reach far and wide. They are not isolated just to the Midwest. Tornadoes can impact a small area of one small town or they can damage many areas through a state or region. Predicting them is difficult and the only true way to protect your business is to have the proper insurance coverage in place. Tornadoes are another type of disaster that also have a need for flood insurance.

Forest Fires are one type of Natural Disaster. Fires

Fires can come in the form of forest fires or local fires due to man-made causes. Certain areas in the Western United States are more prone to fires because of the dry nature of the climate in this part of the country. Forest fires can damage wet areas too as was seen last fall when many areas in Tennessee and North Carolina were ravaged by forest fires near Gatlinburg, TN and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are areas that are little more predictable to know if you need the coverage or not. Areas that are on or near a fault line are more likely to need this coverage. Some faults are more likely than others and carry more risks. Also, with the growing popularity of fracking technology to dig for oil in some areas of the country, earthquakes are now appearing much more frequently and in areas that are not near a fault line. If this type of technology is being used in your area, it is something you should speak with your insurance agent about in order to properly protect your business.

Fllods are another type of natural disaster that can have a negative impact on small businesses. Floods

Floods are another type of natural disaster that should be prepared for. In most communities, if you live in or near a flood zone you are required to carry coverage.  These are not the only businesses who would be wise to purchase this coverage. The damage from floods can be far-reaching and in many cases it can cause a business to close its doors permanently.

Technology to help Hurricane Harvey Victims

How technology is helping flood victims recover from Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey has dumped the most water on Texas of any Hurricane in modern US History. According to Matthew Cappuci, a current student at both Harvard and MIT, ‘If you took the Empire State Building, more than a hundred stories tall, you could fill that entire volume 33,000 times with the water that fell on Houston and the surrounding areas’.  This massive amount of water has and will take an enormous effort to recover from. Technology will play a tremendous role in the rebuilding efforts. Here are four ways technology is helping Hurricane Harvey Victims.

Communication Challenges for First-Responders.Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

During the first few days of relief efforts, in response to the Hurricane, First Responders were having to get creative in order to communicate with each other and victims needing help.  In the hours and days after the hurricane, many 911 call centers and radio centers were out of commission. The disrupted networks also left more than 250,000 people without phone, TV or internet access.  As a result of this disruption in telecommunications, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) set up more than two dozen mobile communication office vehicles throughout the damaged areas. These areas had satellite-connected trucks helping FEMA employees and first responders with voice, video and data networks.

Social media as a way for Hurricane Victims to communicate with police and first responders.

In the early stages of the relief efforts, many victims were finding it difficult to get through to 911.  Dajauh Zhane Henix was separated from her daughter during rescue efforts and posted a message to Facebook that was shared more than 32,000 times. With the help of search and rescue and the power of social media, Mrs. Henix was reunited with her daughter. This is just one of many examples of the power of social media to reach many people quickly in a moment of need. Unfortunately, this power can be used in negative ways when videos or pictures go viral with inaccurate information.

Facebook is even matching up to $1 Million in donations made through the site.

Text to Donate to Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts.First Responder coming to the rescue after Hurricane Harvey.

This is not such a new technology, but mobile devices now make it easier than ever to donate to relief efforts.

The Red Cross has usedtext messages asa way to donate inmany disaster relief efforts.  For Hurricane Harvey they are asking people to Text: “HARVEY” to “90999” to automatically donate $10.

If you would rather donate to a local charity, you can Text: HARVEY2017 to 91999 to support the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Drones are helping the insurance industry process claims.

Hurricane Harvey Weather MapWhen disaster strikes, the speed at which insurance companies process claims can be slowed dramatically. This process is important because the more quickly this process gets done, the more quickly the victims can get back to everyday life. Drones are helping insurance carriers process claims at a much faster rate than in the past. This is because an insurance carrier can now use a drone to view the damage of an area several times as big as in the past in a matter of hours. In the past the carrier would have had to have someone physically inspect the property.  They may have had to wait several days if not weeks for flood waters to recede enough to get in to the impacted areas. Now this can be done with a drone over an area inspecting ten or more covered properties at one time.  This can all be done either from a remote location or even at a location near the disaster area. Drones can allow the carrier to have a visual representation of the impacted area in a matter of a few hours instead of it taking days if not weeks only five or ten years ago.