Port Orchard Independent


Disaster Preparedness for Business Owners: Take critical measures to protect employees, business investment

April 25, 2013 · 9:42 AM

SEATTLE — Whether it's an earthquake, wildfire, flood or windstorm, natural disasters can devastate parts of the Pacific Northwest at any time and Northwest business owners need to get ready now to protect both employees and their business investment. The Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division (EMD) is highlighting its Safe@Work program to help small to mid-size businesses prepare for natural disasters.

“We have a wide variety of potential natural disasters in the Northwest,” said Karl Newman, Northwest Insurance Council president. “Fortunately, there are resources to help you get ready now before it’s too late.  From insurance to structural evaluations to evacuation plans and disaster kits, these tools will help you get ready and stay ready.”

While natural disasters are hard to predict, developing a disaster preparedness plan that includes insurance can increase your chances of saving your business from a catastrophic loss.  According to EMD, up to 40 percent of small businesses that close due to a disaster never re-open. Visiting Safe@Work and GetReadyNW.org will help you get started.

GetReadyNW.org is designed to provide families and businesses with tips on how to prepare for Northwest-specific disasters.  The site also includes tips on understanding your insurance policies, filing an insurance claim and claims phone numbers for NW Insurance Council member companies.

Having an organized plan for your business in the event of a disaster will result in fewer or less severe employee injuries and property damage, according to OSHA. Making insurance a part of that plan will help you understand what’s covered and what’s not and how much insurance coverage you need to protect your business.

The NW Insurance Council and Insurance Information Institute offer the following business insurance and disaster preparation tips to help you and your business survive the next disaster:

• Develop an effective disaster preparedness plan that includes setting up an emergency response plan that your employees are trained to carry out.  For more information, visit Safe@Work, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety’s (IBHS) disaster planning toolkit Open for Business and GetReadyNW.org.

• Review your insurance policies with your insurance company or agent to be sure you have the right coverage to meet your needs.  Find out what your insurance will cover and what is excluded or requires special coverage.

• A common insurance policy purchased by small- and mid-sized businesses is the Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) which includes Property Insurance, Liability Protection and Business Interruption Insurance.  Included Business Interruption coverage usually has a low limit, such as $5,000, and business owners should consider adding additional coverage if needed.

• Business Auto Insurance coverage requires a separate, stand-alone Commercial Auto policy.  Multi-policy discounts may be available if you insure your business property and vehicles with the same company.

For more information, contact NW Insurance Council at 800-664-4942 or e-mail us at info@nwinsurance.org.

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.


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