Hurricanes are the most destructive weather phenomena and can cause massive damage to property, businesses, and lives. It’s estimated that hurricanes can cost the economy over two trillion dollars in damage. While there is no way to completely protect your business from a hurricane, it’s essential to be aware of its potential costs. Knowing what you might be up against can help you prepare for the worst and ensure that your business can survive in the aftermath.
Damage to Property & Equipment
When a hurricane hits, it can cause significant damage to buildings, vehicles, equipment, and other property owned by your business. Even if your building is not destroyed, floodwaters can cause structural damage, such as mold growth or weakened foundations. This type of damage can be very costly to repair and replace.
Loss of Data & Documents
If a hurricane causes flooding or power outages, it could also result in losing any data or documents stored onsite or electronically, including customer information and financial records. This happened to many businesses when Hurricane Sandy hit the country. This could make recovering from the disaster difficult and require costly new investments in data storage solutions or document recovery services.
In the aftermath of a hurricane, there may be disruptions in transportation networks and supply chains which could affect your ability to move goods or conduct business operations as usual. Additionally, employees may have difficulty getting back to work due to infrastructure issues caused by the storm, such as power outages or flooded roads/bridges. All this adds up to decreased productivity for your business which could translate into lost profits over time.
Insurance Claims & Costs
Depending on your insurance policy coverage, you may need to file an insurance claim for any property damaged during a hurricane event for reimbursement for repairs or replacement costs incurred by your business. However, keep in mind that insurance policies often have caps on how much they will cover, so you should check with your provider beforehand to see what kind of protection is available for hurricanes, specifically if you live in an area where they are common occurrences.
Legal Liability Concerns
If a customer sustains an injury on your premises due to flooding caused by a hurricane, they may sue you for damages related to it depending on their location at the time of injury (e.g., inside vs. outside). Additionally, employees who suffer health issues due to unsafe working conditions after a hurricane (e..g., mold growth) might also file legal claims against you seeking compensation for any losses resulting from that place (e,.g., medical bills).
Protect Your Business From Hurricanes
Hurricanes can cause severe damage, but with proper preparation, business owners can minimize their potential losses and better ensure that their company survives despite these natural disasters. Here are some tips to help you protect your business properties from hurricanes.
Install Natural Barriers
Natural barriers are your first line of defense against hurricanes. You can plant shrubs, install hurricane shutters and strengthen your home’s roof to prevent high winds from damaging your property. However, one of the best natural barriers is robust rock boulders that the winds can’t lift. You can place these boulders strategically around your property to prevent floods and protect your building. They can even serve as windbreakers for strong winds when placed right.
Backup Important Documents
Any documents that could be destroyed in a hurricane should be backed up electronically or stored offsite in waterproof containers. This includes financial documents, insurance policies, employee records, customer data, and contracts. Keeping these documents safe will ensure your business is not set back after a hurricane passes through the area. Here are ways to do that:
- Have a physical copy: It’s always good business sense to have a physical copy of documents stored in your office when possible. This way, if the natural disaster does not affect your primary computer system, you will still be able to access essential data and continue conducting business as usual until repairs can be made.
- Set up a remote server: Many businesses today have their servers hosted offsite by an IT service provider. Having cloud storage available for all data means that even if your site gets flooded or winds blow everything away, critical information is safe and accessible elsewhere.
- Use secure online document storage: If you don’t have a backup server but need secure online storage options for documents, several services offer this capability which should be tested beforehand to ensure they work during a power outage.
Invest in Protection Measures
Another way to protect your business from hurricanes is by investing in weather-resistant buildings and equipment. This includes reinforcing the roof, installing impact-resistant windows, ensuring that all doors are securely locked, and using stabilization tracks for heavy items like air conditioning units. By taking these measures, you can better protect your assets from the devastating effects of a hurricane.
Hurricanes are powerful and destructive. However, by taking the necessary steps to protect your business from storms, you can minimize potential losses and ensure that your company can weather these natural disasters.