Will You Be Open for Business?

Natural disasters of epic proportion have been grabbing headlines across the United States. We’re all at risk from their destruction no matter our location. Some disasters—such as hurricanes or flooding—come with advanced warning and others—like tornadoes—strike in an instant with little time to get to safety.

What happens next?

The winds have died down. The storm has passed. The water has receded. Hopefully, no one has been seriously injured. Now your mind-set changes from survival to recovery. 

Businesses that are able to reopen soon after a disaster strikes help their communities recover more quickly. A community cannot survive a disaster unless businesses like yours survive—and a business will most likely not survive without a plan.

At least one-fourth of all businesses that close because of a disaster never reopen. Small businesses are especially vulnerable, because few have the resources or knowledge to assess disaster risks and develop comprehensive recovery plans.

Be prepared
Whether the event is a natural disaster or a fire, there are basic things every business needs to get operations back on track quickly. Consider the creation of a disaster recovery plan as CPR training for your business: a good plan can help pump life back into your business.

Our recommended insurance carrier, Federated Insurance®, has partnered with the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), a national nonprofit group that works to reduce commercial and residential property losses associated with extreme weather events and natural disasters. Through IBHS, Federated® is making available many valuable resources relating to disaster and recovery planning for you, your business, and your employees. These tools are being offered at no cost to AIADA members as another benefit of membership.

One of the exciting programs available through IBHS is called Open for Business®. It contains a variety of tools to help small business owners reduce their potential for loss should disaster strike, and to reopen quickly should they be forced to close. Open for Business is designed to walk a business owner through the steps to develop a continuity plan to keep a business profitable after a disaster. It is available online or in print.

IBHS also provides information on best practices, assessments, guides, and checklists to protect against these perils: earthquakes, freezing weather, high winds, tornados, floods, hail, hurricanes and wildfire.

The IBHS Web site includes a ZIP Code tool designed to concentrate the efforts of a business in preparing for specific perils. IBHS provides customized results for the disasters most likely to occur in the ZIP Code area. These guides are critical to your business and may be used for your home as well.

These are just a sample of the many valuable features available through IBHS. In addition, businesses can access tools to customize their own disaster planning and recovery program through Open for Business®. Information is saved securely online to be available whenever it may be needed. Plans can also be saved locally—e.g., on a hard drive, disk, CD, or on paper.

Open for Business focuses on three categories of protection to help businesses survive a natural disaster: Human Resources, Physical Resources, and Business Operations.

Businesses can identify which natural hazard events could affect them, and learn what they can do to reduce exposures. They can also develop a plan to resume essential business operations. They can create their plans in stages, save the current work on the IBHS Web site, and return later to finish.

At all times, the data entered and the final plans are protected and accessible only by user name and password. They have the option to save the completed plan online with IBHS, so it is available at any time from any location. This is especially important following a disaster when the primary location may not be accessible.

AIADA, Federated and IBHS believe that together we will make a difference in helping secure long-term financial success to dealerships throughout the country. To get started with this program, please visit Federated’s Web site atwww.federatedinsurance.com and click Open for Business or contact your local Federated Marketing Representative, or AIADA’s National Account Executive, Nate Oland, at 800-533-0472/ nsoland@fedins.com.