What Have You Done to Prepare for the Next Tornado, Fire or Earthquake?

By Dwayne Vanderhout, Mac Vanderhout Insurance Brokers Limited

April, 2006 – Our insurance brokerage successfully survived a fire which destroyed our building. Here are few tips that may help you in future.

Establish a team that will be in charge of restoring your business after a large scale disaster. Each team member should be responsible for a specific area. They should research all aspects of the recovery of their key area on a regular basis. They should know who to contact, what to buy, how to put everything back together in the fastest possible time.

93% of businesses that suffer a data loss of 10 days or more go bankrupt.

Information is the lifeblood of most businesses. Information concerning your suppliers, customers, documentation, outsourcing partners, employees, contracts & agreements, processes, workflows, quality assurance programs allows your business to stay in business. Develop a database that it is accessible from your home so that you have multiple ways of contacting your workforce from home during non business hours.

Takes steps now to safeguard corporate information. Is your server room in the most secure area of our building? Is access to it controlled? Are daily backups done? Are multiple sequential backups kept off site? Do you conduct regular full restores to ensure that the backups actually work? Do all PC workstations automatically back up to the server? Are computers protected by surge protectors and backup power supplies? Have you thought of using server at a professionally managed data centre? Use the services of an IT consultant and regularly review your recovery plan in this area.

Have you prepared for increased expenses in rebuilding your facility. You will not have time to shop around. If your premises are destroyed, your suppliers will know that you need everything yesterday. Expect to pay full price. If the destruction is widespread then prices can escalate significantly. For example, the price of wall board tripled in some parts of the U.S. after hurricane Katrina. Leasing alternate temporary premises could prove to be extremely expensive and leasehold improvements will add to that expense.

You may want to incur overtime and other expenses to get things done quicker. Your insurance policy may not cover those expenses, check with your broker to see if expediting expenses are covered in your policy.

Invest in training your staff in multiple job responsibilities. Cross training will give you more flexibility in assigning tasks while the business is being rebuilt.

Invest in maintaining relationships so that you have multiple sources of supply. Monitor countries for situations that can affect your supply chain. Political instability, port labour issues, energy costs, currency exchange, government legislation (quotas, duties, trade sanctions) can affect your ability to stay in business.

Ask your suppliers and logistics suppliers about their disaster plans. Their ability to keep themselves in business could be critical to your survival.

Review your insurance program now to ensure that you will have enough cash to survive various disaster scenarios. If you want to talk to a broker who has experienced a disaster, call me at 905-336-5001.

About Mac Vanderhout Insurance Brokers Limited

Mac Vanderhout Insurance Brokers Limited has served the insurance needs of individuals and businesses in Ontario since 1955. We’ve helped many protect their valued possessions, assets, and resources. From our Burlington headquarters, our experienced, professional staff serves Southern Ontario, and some national and international, customers. We are proud of our customers, insurance company partners, and our staff. For more information, visit http://www.macvanderhout.com/