Jun 05

Prepare Your Business to Weather a Catastrophe

June is the right time to evaluate your company’s catastrophe plan as well as the business insurance that can help you to recover.

Every organization needs to have a protocol on how they will respond to catastrophic weather events. Who are the essential personnel that will be required to come to work, regardless of their personal circumstances? You need to choose those who will best contribute to recovery and the teamwork required. Do you have the personal contact numbers and related information for all employees, both in your business and home in updated electronic and print formats? You can plan your actions and recovery, but you cannot plan when a catastrophe might occur and what it will entail. Here is a checklist of materials you should have available in your business premises as we begin the 2017 hurricane season:

Flashlights in each department.

Batteries-all types required in your business and personal equipment.

Bottled Water-one gallon per person per day.

Non-perishable Foods

Generator of a sufficient size to power essential equipment and fans.

Deep Woods Off



Extension Cords

Band Aids

Basic First Aid Kit

Allergy Medications

Basic Tool Box

Hand Held Radios

Gas or Diesel fuel in quantities for generator to operate 5-7 days.

LTE or Satellite WiFi hot spot.

Emergency Service Providers Contact Information.



With these basic items, you can receive public updates, address emergency needs and begin to restore your own company’s temporary operating status. The ability to evaluate early will set your business ahead of the recover curve; which will benefit your bottom lines, your customer service, and your employees’ natural mindset of depending on you. You should also have a public relations plan with PR contacts so you can announce your recovery status to interested media, customers, at-home employees, stockholders, and the public.

When the weather is completely out of control, we do have influence over how to mitigate the weather’s impact on our businesses. Transferring risks the weather can have on our business over to insurance or derivative contracts can help eliminate the financial fallout from Mother Nature’s worst. Flooding, wild fires, drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, or excessively hot or cold weather, are all insurable risks that businesses should review every year. Most businesses have basic coverages, but often forget to consider loss of income reimbursement available through business interruption coverage or off premises dependent power supply. Flood insurance is probably the number one catastrophe not covered at the time of a loss. Many believe flooding will not occur where they are located, but the truth is flooding can occur anywhere and basically everyone is in a flood zone.

Businesses that are impacted by non-catastrophic weather issues can also consider weather derivative contracts. A good example would be a water park that loses sales when it rains, or an energy company that loses revenue when temperatures are moderate. These derivative contracts can pay businesses based on temperature, accumulated rainfall, rain fall duration, ice storms, etc. The coverage can be for a single day, several days, an entire season or annually.  This flexibility allows organization to mitigate potential revenue losses from specific weather considerations. This may sound complex so I would suggest talking with a qualified independent agent if your business is subject to volatility based on weather conditions.

Have a plan and review your plan with your staff so everyone knows the plan. Keep copies of the plan with keys and resources readily available should a weather event arise.


Richard “Gordy” Bunch is the 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year for the Gulf Coast for Products and Services. Submit suggested topics for future business columns to

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