If disaster strikes, how will your business respond?

15 December 2020

With the world in the grip of “once in a generation” weather events and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is timely to consider how your business would cope if it was directly affected by a ‘disaster event’.

Many households are well versed in disaster management and have an emergency kit set aside and plans in place to contact friends and family in times of need. From a business perspective, similar plans should be in place to ensure you’re able to maintain business continuity as best as possible if disaster should strike.

Our recent experience of lockdown has highlighted the importance of access to systems and business records when access to physical premises may not be an option and this should be one of your primary considerations when preparing a disaster plan. The ability to manage payments and contact employees, customers and suppliers will mean at least some normality of business operations can be maintained.

To assist your business with meeting this goal, you should consider:

  • Storing your data and systems in the cloud rather than on local computers/servers.
  • Providing your employees with the necessary hardware and software they need to access your business systems from their home or alternative offices.
  • Ensuring other key members of the business also have the same or similar access.

Depending on the type of business you run, you will also need to consider the various events or risks your business is exposed to and develop a strategy for each to help you prepare, manage the risk and map the responses. This could include such things as:

  • Adequate fire protection / access to water.
  • Securing of furniture, etc. in the event of an earthquake.
  • How to access parts of the business or farm if access is blocked.
  • How to protect assets, stock and other values from potential floods and other weather events

As important as it is to have a disaster plan in place to prepare your business for a disaster event, it is equally important to have post event strategies in place to help you rebound. Insurance cover, both business and personal should be one of these strategies.

Material damage and replacement is important in these situations, but you should also consider other policy cover areas such as loss of profits, business expenditure cover, and personal covers in case of loss of income or the suffering of a personal injury. You should also check you have the right ACC covers in place. It is too late after the event.

Preparation and planning for events that are beyond your control will put your business in the best position to deal with the challenges that will come your way. Speak to your business adviser about the pre and post disaster event strategies you can put in place or contact the Findex Business Advisory team.

Findex NZ Limited, trading as Findex

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