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Triple-I Blog | Small businesses share how they prepare for and succeed in recovering from disaster



Young starting coffee café owener open and welcome customer. New small business owner.

September is the national emergency month and this year's theme “Disasters do not wait. Make your plan today ”could not be more relevant as many parts of the country are experiencing record fires and storms.

On September 1

6, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) conducted a live webinar on preparing for severe weather, COVID- 19 disruptions and other forms of disasters that can have significant effects on small businesses.

A recording of the webinar can be found here.

The webinar presented two small business owners' stories of disaster preparedness and recovery. The webinar also covered what small business loans are available after a disaster, what tools are available to help companies prepare and what you need to know about insurance coverage.

Alex Contreras, Head of the Emergency Response, Communication and Coordination Office of the SBA Disaster Relief Office (ODA), was the first speaker. SBA offers disaster loans with low interest rates to companies of all sizes as well as to homeowners and tenants. These loans are the main source of federal aid to help private property owners pay for non-insured disaster losses. Borrowers are required to obtain and maintain appropriate insurance as a condition of most loans.

The SBA can also fund disaster reduction measures, such as installing fire-rated roofs, raising structures to protect against floods or moving out of flood zones. 19659003] Janice Jucker, co-owner of Three Brothers Bakery in Houston, TX, is the 2018 winner of Outstanding Small Business Disaster Recovery. After Hurricane Harvey, the bakery had five meters of water. Thanks to a recovery plan for the business, the business was fully operational after six weeks.

Part of an effective recovery plan is to build a recovery team that includes a restoration company (find one now, don't wait), an accountant, a contractor, an SBA loan officer, and an insurance agent. Another important recovery member is your local legislator – know who they are and make sure they know you, whether or not you agree with their policies. They can play an important role in making sure you get what you need to recover from a disaster.

Gail Moraton, Business Resilience Manager at IBHS, spoke about the free business continuity planning tool called OFB-EZ (Open for Business EZ) available from IBHS. The first step in planning is to know your risk – both the probability of each type of disaster for your location and how much damage it can cause your business. Another step is to have an updated list of all your employees, suppliers and other important contacts. A training exercise is also included in the planning tool.

Alison Bishop, Internal Operations Manager at Spry Health Inc., spoke about her company's use of OFB-EZ. "It takes an overwhelming concept and makes it accessible and achievable," she said.

Loretta Worters – Vice President, Triple-I Media Company, reviewed various business insurances available and pointed out that having the right coverage is an important part of disaster recovery, as well as an essential part of an overall business plan.

Like the other speakers, Worters said having a thorough inventory of all your business assets is paramount. She listed various types of business policies that are available, including: property, business income interruptions, extra costs, flooding and civil authority. Separate cover is also available for objects that are often damaged in a storm, such as fences and awnings.

Click here to listen to a recording of the webinar, which offers many more useful tips for seeing your business through a disaster. [19659015]
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