Tips to Protect Your Business Against Disaster

Firemen battle flames of a recent fire on Kingsway and Broadway.

With recent fires destroying buildings on Main and Broadway and Kingsway and Broadway, local small business owners are thinking twice about how to protect themselves.

It’s not only the loss of your hard work and dedication that is at risk, but also your money. Does insurance ever really pay out what you have lost? In all my conversations I’ve never heard positive stories (though no news is good news). Luckily, I haven’t had to make an insurance claim yet. But if I’m in this for the long haul I’d better assume that one day I’m going to be making that call. Will I be prepared?

My first phone call about that was to my knowledgeable friend Susan Heyes of Hazel & Co. Unfortunately, she has run the gamut of experiences. “One thing businesses neglect is interruption insurance, although total loss coverage is the bare minimum,” says Susan. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of either of those but I can imagine, as she insists, “be prepared for down time.” She then tells me I should get in touch with my insurance company to see what they have to say. They’re the next call on my list. 

Since Susan's words shook me up, I’m making an appointment to check my insurance policy. Mike McCormick of John Ross insurance gives some user friendly advice. His first recommendations are a little obvious but really worth the time: 

      1. Keep your fire extinguisher up to date

      2. Check the batteries in your smoke detecter regularly

      3. Keep safe, current copies of all your book keeping

      4. Alarm your business for break-ins 

Simple advice, but I don’t think I have looked at the first three points in a long time. The last one seems to get more than ample testing. Near the end of a chat with Mike about reading your policy and checking your coverage he made a great point, “your broker isn’t the insurance company. Their best interest is to find the best solution for you.”

But I thought insurance = scam, right? Apparently I’ve been watching too much American TV.  

This morning I saw a ‘for sale’ sign on East Van’s latest victims, even before the charred beams and products are taken to their final resting place. I’ll cross my fingers those business owners knew the little things no one ever told me before, past forgotten, their old stores are replaced with another Best Buy or a condo complete with kitty-corner Starbucks.

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