Starting your business is no easy task. You work long hours day in and day out getting your business to where it is today and it’s turned into a dream come true. But are you doing everything you can to protect it from common business losses? Check out our top five common risks and disasters businesses encounter and how you, as the business owner, can mitigate those risks.
Natural Disaster Losses
Each year, many business owners experience extreme business losses due to natural disasters like floods, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, windstorms, blizzards and more. In 2014 alone, insured losses due to natural disasters totaled $15.3 billion in the United States. For each type of disaster, an economic loss and an insured loss is calculated, showing how important it is to have the proper coverage when the unexpected strikes such as a natural disaster.
Winter Storms, Damages, Cold Waves, Snow Storms
- 13 major winter storms took place in 2014
- Overall losses totaled $3.7 billion, of which $2.3 billion was insured
- Total of $1.4 billion in uninsured losses
- 62 severe thunderstorms took place in 2014
- Overall losses totaled $17 billion, of which $12.3 billion was insured
- Total of $4.7 billion in uninsured losses
Floods, Flash Floods, Storm Surges
- 20 major flood events took place in 201
- Overall losses totaled $1.8 billion, of which $500 million were insured
- Total of $1.3 billion in uninsured losses
Earthquake and Geophysical, Landslides
- 11 major earthquake/geophysical/landslide events took place in 2014
- Overall losses totaled $750 million, of which $150 million was insured
- Total of $600 million in uninsured losses
Wildfire, Heat and Drought
- 11 major wildfire/heat/drought events took place in 2014
- Overall losses totaled $1.7 billion
- Uninsured losses too minor to calculate
Protect Your Property From Natural Disasters
There are many things you can do as a business owner to protect your company from natural disasters. Simple ways to take action begin with building inspections to ensure the structure and utility systems are equipped for such disasters, as well as safely storing important documents, electronic files, etc. in secure places. Additionally, when you have business property insurance, you can feel reassured as a business owner knowing that you have financial protection for your business building, personal property and more in the wake of a disaster.
- Put an evacuation plan in place
- Routinely schedule drills for different scenarios to verify employees know and can follow the procedures safely
- Evaluate the history of land and disasters before purchasing new locations
Fire’s power to singlehandedly destroy a city could be credited for the birth of insurance when the great London fire of 1666 burned an area so large that it took over 10 years to reconstruct. It also led Charles Povey to try out the idea of insurance as a business; his first business attempt being coverage for fire losses like the one in London. In the United States, the three largest fires to date total more than $58 billion.
- World Trade Center fire in New York (2001)
- San Francisco Earthquake and Fire in California (1906)
- The Great Chicago Fire in Illinois (1871)
Since the 1700s the insurance industry has matured, adding over 20 major insurance coverages for commercial business operations, but fire losses are one of the biggest risks that smaller businesses face. There have been many advancements in constructing fire-resistant buildings over the years, and new fire-suppression techniques can also substantially reduce fire losses. As a business owner, you might not have the time to stay on top of these advancements, however, here are a few best practices we have seen through recent years:
- Pre-action sprinkler system
- Water flow detectors
- Laser smoke detection systems
- Waterless suppression systems
- Integrated pull alarms
Protect Your Property From Fire
As fire presents one of the biggest risks for the food service industries, consider taking these extra steps to protect your property from fire.
- Check fire alarms and batteries at least twice a year
- Keep one or two fire extinguishers in hazardous areas but in different locations in case one is blocked by flames
- Train employees how to use fire extinguishers
- Go through a list of the most flammable items and make sure employees are aware of basic fire knowledge. For example, never throw water on a grease fire.
Things you can do yourself may include removing vegetation, debris and other combustible materials that could be a problem around your business. Additionally, on-site risk evaluations could be beneficial in determining your business-specific needs regarding potential fire issues.
If your business requires a vehicle to provide services or make deliveries, it will be important to have added protection. Auto losses are one of the biggest business risks today in the United States. Throughout 2014 alone, there was an estimated $11.9 million in commercial auto losses. Auto insurance coverage varies so make sure you know which types of insurance are the best fitting for your business: liability, collision and/or comprehensive.
Protect Your Business From Auto Losses
Mistakes happen, and unfortunately business owners are typically the individuals paying the price. Taking preventative action against these potential problems can be the most helpful financially and otherwise with the help of business auto coverage.
- Give your drivers, ‘How’s My Driving’ stickers with a contact number to spot unsafe driving
- Implement annual or bi-annual driving assessments
- Install GPS monitoring for speed and safety
- Watch out for high-risk traffic areas and recommend alternative routes for drivers
Bodily Injury Losses
Bodily injury losses also rank high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014 there were nearly 2.8 million non-fatal occupational injuries, with 2.1 million of those injuries occurring in service-providing industries.
Protect Yourself, Employees, And Third Parties From Bodily Injury Mishaps
There are many steps you can take as a business owner to help keep your workplace safe. Easy ways to ensure your business is a protected and secure space is through routine inspections and monitoring the environment. And to make sure all staff are on the same page, Farm Bureau will hold on-site educational workshops, which can be crucial to keep individuals safe.
Today, even the biggest businesses fall victim to data breaches, and 2014 was one for the books. For small businesses and large corporations alike, safeguarding yourself, customers and data from thieves is crucial. Take a look at a few of the biggest data breaches that happened in 2014:
- Neiman Marcus: 1.1 million cardholders were potentially affected
- New York: 22.8 million private records of New Yorkers were exposed
- Dairy Queen: 600,000 debit and credit cards impacted
- Goodwill: 868,000 debit cards and credit cards compromised
- Home Depot: 56 million credit and debit cards affected
- JP Morgan Chase: 76 million households and 7 million small business impacted
- Michaels: 2.6 million cardholders exposed
Protect Your Business from Potential Data Breaches
Ensuring that your business, employees and customers are protected from thieves is important to the success of your business and everyone's livelihood. Social Security numbers, birthdates, drivers’ license numbers, credit card information and public health information is just some of valuable data customers entrust businesses with. Data breach insurance reimburses the costs of investigating the cause of a breach, helps you notify affected individuals and can help provide public relations services to help offset damage to your brand. The end result is peace of mind for you, your customers and your employees.
Secure What You Have Worked Hard For
As an entrepreneur, you work hard to get your business where it is today. Unfortunately, situations happen when you least expect them to. Prepare yourself and your business from life's uncertainties with the help of Farm Bureau Financial Services. As a client/member our agents will conduct a full walk-through of your business to do an on-site risk evaluation. You will have access to helpful information for human resources like employee handbooks, training handbooks and full access to our risk management library with all of the education materials specific to your industry.