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Are Your Small Business Clients Prepared for Natural Disaster?

Posted By Sally Davisson, Friday, March 2, 2018

2017 was the costliest year on record for natural disasters in the U.S., with a price tag of at least $306 billion. 

Small business owners are at particular risk, as their operations are often concentrated in one location that is damaged or destroyed. Without a continuity plan, one in four businesses forced to shut down because of disaster never reopens.  

However, according to a 2015 study, 75% don’t have a disaster plan in place and 66% don’t have Business Interruption Insurance. 

This represents another opportunity for you, the independent agent, to provide leadership to help your business clients address this important area, and to develop their own disaster continuity plan. It can also be part of your content strategy, providing educational material via your website, blog and/or social media posts.

Fortunately, resources are available to help you and your clients.

For PIA Members (requires member log-in):

  • Agency Disaster Planning Guide: The first step is to prepare your own business for disaster. Working through this agency-specific guide will first give you the guidance to be able to survive a disaster that may affect your agency. And chances are high that if your agency is impacted, many of your commercial clients will be as well. If your shut down, you can’t be of any assistance. The process will also help you understand the general steps that all businesses should take in order to prepare their own continuity plan.
  • Hartford Flood Insurance: Since 2004, PIA and The Hartford have joined together to provide PIA member agents the opportunity to offer your customers flood insurance through The Hartford, a WYO company. PIA members earn great commissions on flood insurance sales with The Hartford and, if they want, a flood insurance processing center that does most of the heavy lifting for them.
  • has automated the process of obtaining a flood insurance quote through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and makes this technology available to participating PIA member agents through their very own agency-branded, flood insurance microsites. Agents direct their clients and prospective insureds to their microsite where they can learn what flood zone they are in and request a flood insurance quote.
  • Flood Insurance Marketing Support Center: Available to all PIA members, whether writing flood insurance with The Hartford or generating flood quotes with, the resources will help you improve your agency’s flood sales. Includes agent information, marketing support, monthly newsletters from The Hartford and and downloadable brochures to share with your clients.
For All Agents:

FEMA Resources

  • “Business Ready” planning tools and toolkits for earthquake, hurricane, inland flooding, power outage, severe wind/tornado, video library and more are free for you and your business clients. 
  •  Emergency Response Plan: A 10-page downloadable form for businesses to complete in order to have an appropriate response plan in place. 
  •  Every Business Should Have a Plan: A printable poster, with tips on preparing and planning a business emergency plan. Posters promotes family and individual preparedness. 
  •  Business Disaster Preparedness Library: Links to many valuable resources relevant to business disaster preparedness.

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) Resources

  • Business Continuity Planning: Overview of OFB-EZ® (Open for Business-EZ) resources offered by IBHS.
  • Why It’s Important: The ABCs of why continuity planning is critical for small businesses.
  • OFB-EZ® Mobile App: A free mobile app that users can download. Includes planning tools and checklists, and guides users through an easy process to create a recovery plan that will help even the smallest businesses quickly re-open and recover.
  • OFB-EZ® Business Continuity Toolkit: a free business continuity tool designed to help even the smallest businesses focus on planning for any type of business interruption, so they can quickly re-open and resume operations following a disaster
Poster is available for download and printing. Download PDF

Tags:  disaster  insurance  poster  preparedness  small business 

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