Getting Ready for the New Year: Emergency Plans and an Annual Insurance Review

By: Allan Thompson | Chief Operating Officer

Jet Capital presents our Getting Ready for the New Year series to provide useful information to prepare your business for the year ahead, including risk mitigation with an up-to-date emergency plan and business insurance. See our articles with advice for planning your 2017 budget here and tax planning here.

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017 and all of the unknowns of the future. It is a perfect time to stop and take a look at how your business is prepared to handle emergencies. Risk mitigation requires a little planning, but advance preparation can save your business if something extraordinary does happen.

While it is never pleasant to consider disasters, having a plan and the proper insurance coverage can keep you, your business, and your employees safe. You might even find that you can save money on insurance with a detailed review of your coverage.

Here is a game plan to audit the risk mitigation plans and policies for your business.

Emergency Plans

Reviewing your emergency plans is a smart thing to do each year. Any changes in your business or the physical environment around your location should be taken into account. As you review your emergency plans, make notes about how this might affect your insurance coverage. These notes will come in handy when planning your insurance review.

One of the most important sections of your emergency plan is the contact information for employees, contractors, and nearby businesses who might coordinate with your business in the case of an emergency. A quick double-check and update will keep the plan ready for action with the most current information.

Also, take a few moments to check your emergency supplies, first-aid kit, and safety equipment. While reviewing the plan, make sure the items you might need in an emergency are ready to go, too. If it is time for a walk-through from the police and fire departments, schedule a time with the local authorities to get this done.

The Red Cross has a helpful emergency planning checklist HERE.

The Federal government has an excellent sample plan HERE. Even if you use a different format for your business emergency plan, this plan from Ready.Gov will guide your procedures to cover all the necessary aspects of emergency planning.

Once you have updated the plan, it is time for a little team training. Schedule a time to go over the plan with your employees and proceed with a drill. Having a plan is a great first step, but following through with a little training will make sure your team knows the plan, too.

Annual Insurance Review

Remember the notes you made when you reviewed your emergency plan? Any changes may also require some changes to your insurance coverage. A small business can evolve quickly, so insurance needs will change, too. Make an appointment now for an annual review and walk through your business coverage with your insurance professional.

Make detailed notes on the changes that have taken place over the past year, so you can discuss these changes specifically with your insurance agent. For example, if your team has grown you may need additional coverage. Perhaps you have a vehicle you use for business now and need to add it to your plan. Or perhaps you improved your property with a new roof or security system. There may be insurance discounts you are now eligible for through your agent.

Many small businesses will qualify for a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) which usually includes property, casualty, liability, and business interruption coverage. Buying this insurance coverage as a package is usually more affordable, but it may also need to be augmented to include business vehicles. Also, worker’s compensation and healthcare benefits will stand outside of your BOP. In recent years, many businesses opt to add additional data breach coverage.

Ask your agent the following questions during your annual review.

  • What is covered by my current policy?
  • Is my business covered for floods and other types of natural disasters?
  • What are my limits and how are they handled?
  • Does my business need additional coverage? Do you see gaps in my coverage that need to be addressed?
  • Are there areas where my business is over-insured? Could my business save money by streamlining coverage?
  • Does our insurance cover data breaches or other cybersecurity concerns?
  • What are the changes in health care coverage requirements for myself and my employees? Does my business need to make changes to stay current with the law?
  • Are there discounts available to my business? Does my business qualify for these discounts?

Many insurance companies offer a sizable discount for paying for coverage on a yearly basis. If pursuing these savings would challenge your cash flow, Jet Capital can help with flexible merchant advance funding.

Jet Capital is here for your small business with fast, flexible funding solutions. Our strategic alternatives to business loans are designed to work with your business, especially when cash flow is challenged. For example, if your business needs help managing insurance payments or upgrading safety equipment, a merchant cash advance might be the right choice for your business.

Contact us today for more information about how a merchant advance might be a better fit for your business than a small business loan.

Resources

Get Started: Emergency Preparedness Checklist for Small Businesses. https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy07/sh-16618-07/sm_business_emergency_checklist.pdf

Business Emergency Plan: Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness Plan. https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/sampleplan.pdf

What Is a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)? https://www.thehartford.com/business-owners-policy

Small Business Health Care Resources from the Small Business Administration https://www.sba.gov/managing-business/small-business-health-care

Insurance Resources from the Small Business Administration https://www.sba.gov/managing-business/running-business/insurance

 


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