You read about it every day. A business is wiped out by earthquake or flood, a company loses key employees due to a shooting spree by a former employee, or a corporate data center is destroyed by fire and brings down a national network. As a business owner, you probably sympathize but then assume that business insurance or government agencies like FEMA will be to help.
While business insurance benefits and government support offer financial assistance, will affected companies continue doing business in the wake of such disaster?
It should – if you have an up-to-date Business Continuity Plan that includes a tested Disaster Recovery Plan, provided all key people in your organization know how to use it.
On the shelf since 2001, you say? In that case, you might only consider yourself safe if supply vendors, computers, employees and business process are all exactly as they were back then. (Of course, that would likely mean that you have other business issues.) You might ask yourself the following questions:
When was your business continuity plan (BCP) last updated? In fact, have you designated someone to maintain it?
If so, how well is that working?
How do you know whether your BCP is “in shape“ and ready to see your business through a disaster, large or small?
Wondering where to start and how to create one? If you are a large corporate organization, this is a good time to seek out a reputable consultant who knows your industry. If you are a smaller business, the following guidelines might be all you need.
List your key employees and their alternates, and be sure to add their critical functions and all possible contact information for each. It might be worthwhile to determine who among them is able to telecommute if necessary.
Then list vendors, contractors and other resource contacts who are critical to your business operation, including those external professionals and services you would need to help you restore your processes.
Identify important in-office equipment as well as heavier, external equipment and vehicles, and note important details such as vendors, serial numbers, etc. Also consider how you might quickly replace these items if they are destroyed, and note the details.
List primary legal documents, insurance policies, bank records and details, etc., and note where each is kept. Consider attaching copies to your plan.
Research and decide upon an alternative location where you can resume business if your primary site is destroyed, and collect all necessary contact details so that you could make arrangements quickly if needed.
Organize all your material and document exactly what steps are needed to carry out the plan.
Compile all material and make copies for your key participants, and keep the master copy in a safe place.
Educate your internal and external contacts and then test your plan, making changes as needed.
Designate someone to handle Business Continuity Management in your organization so that this plan remains current and available.
Identify and document all technology/IT equipment such as servers, point of sale systems, desktop & laptops, software applications and versions, customer databases, billing systems, network and system components, firewalss, e-mail and Internet equipment. Ensure regular backups are performed and store off site in a safe place.
Your business insurance portfolio and your business continuity plan complement each other. How can you know how much and exactly which insurance coverage you need if you have not analyzed your processes and resources to develop your business continuity plan? How can you complete your BCP without considering your business insurance coverages? Together they provide your business with a strong safety net.
Is it time to evaluate your Business Insurance Portfolio? Here at the Howley Insurance Agency, we welcome the chance to review your policies with you, answer your insurance questions, and offer advice to make your business as prepared as possible to handle any disaster. So why not contact us today?
When you are driving, do you ever look after children seated behind you, snap photos or fiddle with your radio or navigation system? How about eating, drinking, daydreaming, engaging with passengers or rubbernecking while behind the wheel? These are all forms of distraction that steal your attention from the road. But by far the most deadly distraction for a driver is texting or making and receiving phone calls while behind the wheel. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) tells us that 42% of drivers admit to reading a text or an e-mail while driving. Moreover, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) attributed 3477 fatalities to distracted driving in 2015 alone.
ERIE Insurance surveyed 1915 U.S. drivers in 2015 to study their driving habits related to driver distraction. The study showed that many Americans are driving distracted—and they're doing some pretty crazy stuff behind the wheel. See for yourself in this Infographic , and learn more in the article, “You did WHAT behind the wheel?”
You might be wondering how you might better focus your attention on the road while driving. Actually, the Insurance Information Institute (III) offers a great checklist to remind you how to avoid the common driving distractions. Part of what you'll find there is how to be well prepared before you drive and how to manage what goes on in your moving vehicle.
A few of the many good tips to avoid distracted driving include:
Remember, you can do much to protect yourself and others by avoiding driving distractions; but accidents might still happen. So be sure that you are protected and that your auto insurance coverage is exactly right for your circumstances. If you have not consulted with your insurance agent recently for a policy review, you’d be wise to do so. By assuring that you are driving safely and well-protected by your insurance, you can be a much more confident driver.
Here at Daniel Howley Insurance Agency, we are a full service insurance agency, offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to Rockville MD, all of Maryland and Virginia. Our experienced insurance agents welcome the opportunity to discuss your coverage needs and questions at any time.
If you own a business, then you probably already know that states require that business owners take action if the nonpublic, personal information of their customers is lost or stolen. This is not something to be ignored, when you know that a recent study showed that 55% of small businesses surveyed stated they had experienced a business data breach. So have you taken steps to mitigate the damage in case your business is targeted?
ErieSense.com says: “The personal information of customers, employees and/or tenants entrusted to you is critical to the day-to-day functioning of your business… Whether it’s a misplaced computer, an improperly shredded document or a hacked database, business data can easily become exposed. If it does, a business data breach could occur.”
Commercial Insurance Tip
Being ready before you suffer a data breach is the important first step. So ask your insurance agent about Commercial Insurance coverage and services that might be available to help you if/when private personal information of others in your care has been lost, stolen or inadvertently released. You might also wish to inquire about coverage that will help cover your company’s legal expenses in the event of a lawsuit related to a data breach.
We have all heard of the “Nightmare Road Trip” – where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Chances are that much of the trouble could have been avoided through advance planning. If you’re planning to take to the road this summer, then make a list and check it more than twice to be sure you have a safe, checked-out vehicle, well-packed bags, safety items and all those travel comforts to keep your passengers stress free.
ErieSense.com says: “A week or two before the big day arrives, make a list of everything you need to do and pack (and be sure you leave enough room so you can see out of your rear-view mirror). Here are some ideas to help…”
Auto Insurance Tip
Just as important as a visit to your auto shop for a check-up of your car is a visit to your insurance agent for a check-up of your Auto Insurance to be sure you are properly covered for any problem before you hit the road. And, if you’ll be traveling in a rented vehicle, special insurance issues apply. So be sure to discuss your plans with your insurance agent to get the proper protection.
In addition to being a threat to your personal safety, lightning is responsible for devastating structure fires, deaths and hundreds of millions in damage expenses, as well. Do you know what time of day and month of the year most lightning occurs? It is worthwhile to know as much about this threat as you can so you are able to protect yourself and your family as well as your property.
ErieSense.com says: “From 2007 to 2011, local U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning. These fires caused an average of nine civilian deaths and $451 million in direct property damage per year. Home fires accounted for 19 percent of the lightning fires.”
Read the entire article with video and infographic to find out what you need to know about lightning and lightning protection systems to minimize the chance of property damage from lightning strikes.
Homeowners Insurance Tip
Home fires accounted for 19% of all lightning fires between 2007 and 2011. Related property damage, personal injury and death were also reported. Is your home insured for such damage? Because we never know when lightning will strike, it is wise to consider speaking with your insurance agent to find out if your Homeowners Insurance coverage is sufficient to protect your investment and cover your liability.