Besides Insurance, How Can a Business Prepare for a Hurricane?

Besides Insurance, How Can a Business Prepare for a Hurricane?
By M Wyzanski

Any insurance professional will stress the importance of a good commercial policy that includes wind and hail as well as flood coverage in relation to protecting your business from the elements. Case in point is the fact that many stricken by current hurricanes do not even own flood insurance.

We won’t get into the implications of damages and losses recovery in regard to this unfortunate set of circumstances. Suffice it to say, in wake of the destruction, these home and business owners have to deal with the financial stress on their own, save for whatever government assistance they can get.

Besides having a proper insurance plan in place, businesses can prepare for the worst weather scenarios by doing the following.

Review your company’s impact study:
• Make a tally of what type of losses you may incur.
• Consider the amount of risk loss and severity probability that may impact your business.
• Look over your business process flow agenda: Should one portion of your company become unworkable, assign another unit to take over.
• Choose which operations are vital for continued survival and recovery.
• Ensure all records of sales and customer-base, as well as tax data and documents are stored in a secure off-site location.
• Assign others to take over executive management if those in place are not able to carry out duties.

Partner with Other Businesses
• Have vendors ready to outsource services in case of a hurricane disaster.
• Mark down important vendor and business partners and store this info in an off-site multiple employee-accessible location.

Make Alternate Plans for your Facility
• Contemplate the use of other locations in the event your main office is rendered inaccessible or inoperable.
• Plan for security of people and property.

Ensure Payroll Efficiency
• If it is pertinent, ensure the vendors you will deal with understand how to continue with payroll.
• Partner with your vendors to ensure employee info is stored securely in an off-site location.

Team up with Other Operations
• Group together with other corporations at your building site to prepare for continued business in a weather-induced crisis.
• Reach out to emergency personnel and power companies to show them how your operations are conducted.
• Devise a plan together with your suppliers, shippers and others you rely on so that you will know how to carry on in the event of an emergency.

Keep Up with Your Protection Plans
• Review your plans on how to deal with an emergency situation yearly. Revise them if you feel changes need to be made.
• Conduct consistent emergency drills.
Risk control is part of any major insurance company’s policyholder’s benefits. Contact an independent agency that does direct business with many of the leading providers for more information on how your company can protect itself from a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/M_Wyzanski/2158115

Not just Florida: Consider the world when planning retirement

Not just Florida: Consider the world when planning retirement

Living in North America offers access to an unprecedented standard of living, stable employment, safety, and entertainment.

But it comes at a high cost. What if you could retire in style at a fraction of the cost? Enter geo-arbitrage which means taking advantage of the cost of living in different locations.

To make retiring early feasible for the average individual, Business Insider points out that American dollars can buy a lot more in other countries than they can at home. As an example, most retirement calculators are based on about $40,000 per year in annual retirement income to compute their savings goals. This assumes that the person is using the standard 4 percent withdrawal rate from their retirement savings. To manage that number, a person would need $1 million in the bank to retire. This amount of money will require diligent saving and strong market performance to achieve.

Conversely, an individual might only need about $12,000 per year to live comfortably in a place like Guatemala. This means that they could retire with the same standard of living while only having $300,000. This could literally shave more than a decade off of a person’s working life. Sure, the standard might not be an exact apple-to-apple comparison, but many resources are available online that help to provide direction and information for would-be expatriates. Many from these groups are already living abroad and have helped pave the way for this trend to flourish.

Now, this type of lifestyle change might not be feasible for everyone, especially families with children still in school, but options exist outside of the traditional method of working until the age of 65. It would pay to take notes anytime someone is traveling abroad on how they might like to spend the rest of their lives in that location. For someone up for adventure and yearning for financial freedom, geo-arbitrage might just be their golden ticket.

Flood Insurance, Even in a Non-Flood Zone? You Bet

By M Wyzanski

Record breaking flood waters have emerged following one of the most devastating hurricanes the US has come to know. In fact, in the southeast areas of the lone star state, the majority of homeowners do not even own flood insurance. And who can blame them? There was never a precedent in the locality. Although hail and wind storms are a constant concern for property and business owners, no one imagined that rain waters would contribute to enormous damages as those suffered and broadcast throughout the country in recent days. Surely not the home mortgage companies, for they do not even require it from borrowers!

But now that the toll has risen among the dead and those forced out of their homes seeking shelter, one thing remains clear. When things eventually do settle down, home owners and people in the commercial sector will have to deal with the epic losses and damages on their own because of a lack of related coverage.

For homeowners without flood coverage the facts are uncomfortable, as they are painful: a standard home insurance policy does not protect from floods and the damages related to them. The insurance industry stresses in no uncertain terms that compensation is only provided to those who had the foresight to acquire flood insurance in the event of water damage emanating from atmospheric conditions like a hurricane, a tropical storm or other inclement weather.

A little history about Flood insurance:
The year was 1968 when the US Congress mapped out its flood program. Designed to help assist home and business property owners from the financial ravages of a damaging flood, its policies are offered in all communities that are involved in the rules of participation.

Flood coverage shields property owners or renters from building damage and contents damage.
This includes the following:
• The structure, as well as building foundation
• Electric and plumbing systems
• Central air conditioner, furnace, water heater
• Refrigerator, stoves, and any installed appliances, like a dishwasher
• Carpet that has been installed over bare flooring
• Personal clothing and electronics
• Drapery
• Transportable heaters and air conditioners
• Carpeting other than what is included in the property coverage
• Washers and dryers

Typically, flood recompense claims include:
• Replacement Cost Value: up to eighty percent of the amount needed to replace property damages in a single-family, primary residence
and
• Actual Cost Value – replacement costs at the time of loss reduced by physical depreciation

Note: The flood program always uses actual cost value to determine reimbursement of personal property.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/M_Wyzanski/2158115

Note from InsureUS: As a result of Hurricane Harvey and the horrific devastation caused by flooding in Harris and surrounding counties, floodplain maps will likely be revamped in the near future, which means rates for flood insurance could be on the rise. If you believe your home may be in a period that will be on the new floodplain map, NOW is the best time to act on it as the rates will go up after the new maps are created. Call InsureUS today at (281) 640-8888 for your quote.

Visa campaigns for cashless small businesses

Money talks to small business and one credit card company is speaking loudly.

Earlier this year Visa unveiled a campaign to encourage small business food service owners to stop taking cash as payment. The effort highlighted the continued move by merchants to make it easier for customers to pay with credit cards, and now even digital currency, like Bitcoin.

For Visa’s campaign, small business food service owners who committed to join its 100 percent Cashless Quest could be awarded up to $500,000.
According to Visa, 70 percent of the world’s people, or about five billion, will have a connected mobile device by 2020.

That is an “incredible opportunity to educate merchants and consumers alike on the effectiveness of going cashless,” Visa noted.

The card company’s campaign was a call-to-action for small business restaurants, cafes, and food truck owners to describe what cashless meant for them, their employees, and customers. It also highlighted the opportunities for small business merchants.

Visa found that if businesses in 100 cities switched from cash to digital, their cities stood to gain $312 billion of savings, largely in the form of labor costs.

Small food service businesses already have been making the move away from cash with the explosion of easy ways to accept with credit cards. Now that tide is even turning as people take advantage of digital currency, like Bitcoin, to make their purchases. The number of ways for merchants to accept digital currency is growing, as Bitcoin, and other types of cryptocurrencies, shed their negative reputations.

What is covered by a commercial insurance policy?

Owning a business requires you to plan and foresee any risks that may affect it. Failure to that, you may end up using all your savings and profits to recover from an unforeseen risk such as fire or theft among more. A commercial insurance policy allows you to continue with your business operations without the fear of risks.

We at InsureUS, provide you with various commercial coverage options to protect your business. We understand that your business is an investment which you have worked so hard to build and therefore, we have experienced employees who help you analyze your business and determine the best coverage options for your company. Our team is friendly and dedicated to serving you and so feel free to approach any of our employees or contact us via our website.

If you are in Cypress, TX, some of our coverage options include:

Commercial Liability Coverage

A liability policy protects you and your business against lawsuits set by your competitors, customers or just any visitor. It protects you from suffering a financial loss in case you are found liable for damaging someone’s property or business. Also, it protects you if you are sued for slander or negligence.

It is important that you understand this policy because as long as you are operating a business, you never know what to expect. For example, you may wake up one morning to find you are being sued for advertising misleading information and if you don’t have a cover, you may end up using your revenues.

Commercial Property Coverage

To get this coverage, we recommend that you evaluate your property to be sure of what you are insuring. With this cover, we protect your office property such as furniture and inventory. Also, we protect your building if an unexpected disaster such as a fire occurs.

 We at InsureUS are dedicated to serving the people of Cypress, TX, to the best of our ability. So, feel free to contact us for any inquiries either through our website or by visiting our offices.

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Harvey highlights small business risk

The devastation left by Hurricane Harvey is a good reminder to small business owners that preparing for disaster is essential. The devastation left by Hurricane Harvey is a good reminder to small business owners that preparing for disaster is essential. Catastrophic hurricanes claim close to 40 percent of small businesses, according to FEMA. It can take years for even the most prosperous businesses to recover. Most Mom-and-Pop operations running on the edge never reopen. According to a 2016 study by Harvard Business Review, small and young businesses, already taking big financial risks, are notably unprepared for a disaster such as a hurricane. The study focused on small and young business recovery one year after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Among its findings:

* Many firms were uninsured. Nearly one-third of companies affected by Sandy had no insurance of any kind. Of firms less than five years old, about 60 percent were uninsured. Those that were insured found that their insurance covered none of their losses.

* Businesses increased their debt load when they could. More businesses applied for credit after Sandy than received insurance payments. * Credit was often constrained. Firms unprepared for disaster found that their interest rates went up after Sandy. Smaller firms were unable to secure credit because they did not meet the requirements, according to an informal survey by the New York Daily News.

* Community banks reduced lending. After Sandy, so many households and businesses were affected at once that small banks found loan defaults depleted capital. They were unable to lend. The study concluded that risk analysis had to be made a strategic priority.

September is National Preparedness Month

A few easy steps can prepare for disaster
No part of the country is immune to natural or man-made disasters.

During September, the Department of Homeland Security joins with national, state, and local agencies to encourage Americans to prepare their homes for disasters of all kinds.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), engaging citizens in disaster preparedness is a critical first step in effective response and recovery efforts.

In other words, if you know what to do when a disaster is predicted, what to do when it occurs, and what to do afterward, you will be in a better position to save yourself and your home before help arrives.

While there are obvious differences in preparing for a hurricane and preparing for a forest fire, there are similarities in preparedness for all types of disasters. You should know where you will go to escape, what your mode of transportation will be, and when you should leave. (It’s never a good idea to let your car be almost out of gas.)

Assemble important documents to take with you including copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account numbers. Use a waterproof container and include some cash.

It may not be necessary to leave your home. Do what you can in advance of a storm or earthquake to make it safer. Remember the basics of survival: water, food, clean air, and warmth.

Consider the amount of water and non-perishable food your family will need to stay in place without power for at least three or four days. Always have extra batteries for portable radios. Also have a backup battery for cellphones.