After Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard last October, many small businesses were decimated.
More than six months later, many of these businesses still haven't received aid, which could lead many to revisit their small business insurance needs to better be prepared for disaster situations.
According to the Washington Post, only one-in-four business owners who applied for assistance after Sandy was approved, and those who were approved have seen a slow disbursement process.
"After natural disasters, local economies are often decimated and it is vital that the small business sector be revitalized quickly," said New York Rep. Nydia Velazquez. "For a business struggling after a hurricane, getting an immediate infusion of emergency capital can make the difference between staying in business or going under."
Tips for small businesses preparing for a hurricane
Small businesses that are at risk of being damaged by a hurricane should take numerous steps to prepare, including:
1. Purchase business insurance: One of the first steps small business owners should take to prepare for hurricanes is to obtain business insurance. It is important that they meet with an agent who understands the needs of their business, so they are able to find the small business owner the best possible insurance policy. Additionally, owners will need to know exactly what is covered by their policies so their is no confusion when it comes time to collect money for damages.
2. Protect inventory, property and information: Another important step is to ensure that all inventory, property and information is protected. The best way to protect sensitive information is through off-site data backup, while inventory should be kept in a place that isn't likely to be affected by flood waters if a hurricane hits. Just in case, small business owners should take stock of all of their inventory so they know the monetary value of it should it be damaged in a storm.
3. Create a disaster recovery plan: While preparing for storms, small business owners will also need to develop a plan on how they will recover if ever hit by a powerful hurricane. This plan should include designating a group of employees that is able to react quickly in the event of a storm to be able to get critical business functions back up and running. It should also include a plan to use alternative office space if need be.