Natural disasters are a part of life in the Caribbean and can cost small, fragile economies billions of dollars.
Businesses are in particular danger in the event of a hurricane. In fact, Jamaica Broilers Chairman Robert Levy recounted that his business incurred US$50 million in losses as a result of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, Jamaica’s last direct hit by a major hurricane.
The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1st and businesses should already have emergency preparedness plans in place in the event Jamaica is threatened by a hurricane.
The time to make hurricane preparedness plans for your business is NOW; not one or two days before the storm makes landfall.
Ensure you have business insurance
According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) report in 2012, losses associated with hurricanes, floods, and droughts has cost the country an annual average of two per cent of GDP every year since 2001 and could reach 56 per cent of GDP by 2025. Many small businesses shuttered due to a disaster never reopen their doors. Therefore, ensuring your business has adequate insurance against storm damage is a top priority.
If your business is not already insured, meet with an insurance representative and explain the needs of your business to ensure you have bought appropriate cover.
If you already have insurance, conduct a comprehensive review of your current policy. Review the items and assets insured and ask your insurance representative for an explanation of all technical terms in the policy. Take the opportunity now to dive into the small details, so you are not caught by surprise after a natural hazard has occurred.
Back-up your data and test the recovery process
Back-up and recovery of critical records is vital. Do not assume that your back-up systems and technology are working – test them regularly and ensure staff members are trained to access and recover important information.
Protect essential hard-copy records by storing in water-tight boxes in a secure location, which should ideally be off-site from the main office.
Make a complete inventory of your business
Check and document inventory and assets at the beginning of the hurricane season each year. Photographs and video footage are especially helpful in the event of a claim. Create a visual record of the building itself, inside and out, focusing attention on all doorways and windows, as well as ceilings and rooflines.
Visit www.genac.com to talk to a representative or get a quick quote.
For information and policy guidance, give us a call at (876) 929-8451; FLOW: 876-929-9643-8 or 876-929-8450/1 or 876-929-1720-1; or Digicel: 876-618-1586.
Messages via SMS or WhatsApp at 876-854-6467 will also be promptly answered and emails to firstname.lastname@example.org will be actioned.