June 1st marks the start of the Atlantic Hurricane season, and this year scientists are predicting an above average year. If you’re a business owner, the time is now to make sure your business is protected from a natural disaster.
Last year, Hurricane Matthew barely missed South Florida and affected a number of businesses in St. Augustine and farther north. Some of those businesses could not open after high waters from storm surge flooded in, still others suffered property damage from the storm’s winds. If the storm would have wobbled west a little, it could have been much worse for many more business owners.
So as we approach another hurricane season, you may want to think about making sure your business is prepared. Here’s how you can get started:
- CHECK YOUR INSURANCE – Do you have enough insurance? Now is the time to check that your property has enough casualty insurance to cover any natural disaster. Have your insurance agent review your policy. If you want to get a second opinion, I highly recommend talking to Evan Greenfield of Keyes Coverage. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He helps business owners with more than 100 employees purchase the coverage they need.
- MAKE REPAIRS NOW – If you have any damage from prior storms or from regular wear and tear, now’s the time to make repairs. Change the broken awning over your entry, clean your gutters or install new hurricane shutters. A casualty loss from a storm will not include normal wear and tear or deterioration, so get those loose or broken items fixed now, so they’re not likely to cause more damage to your business during a natural disaster.
- INVENTORY YOUR VALUABLES – Your business is your livelihood, so now is the time to make sure anything you value is secure and documented. Summertime activity slows for some business owners, so take advantage of the extra time to inventory your valuables. If you have a lot of electronics (like computers, hard drives and tablets), take pictures and record the serial numbers in case they get damaged or even stolen.
- GATHER YOUR PAPERWORK – Once you’ve counted up the most important items in your business, make sure you secure the information, along with important papers, in a safe place. Consider placing documents, such as insurance policies and warranties, in a safety deposit box. Store your digital information in the cloud or on a flash drive somewhere other than your office. If your business is affected by a natural disaster, you’ll have the paperwork in a safe place.
No one can predict when a natural disaster will strike, but authorities suggest we be prepared for it. As a CPA, who happens to be a bookkeeper, one of the most important things I do is keep my clients books in a safe place. Talk to your bookkeeper about where your company’s books are being kept and if they can’t answer the question, then give me a call or send me an email. I can help you secure your most valuable financial information from a potential disaster. Here’s hoping we have a safe and quiet hurricane season.