Do you want to be your own risk manager?

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, once people have caught their breath, collected their thoughts and ensured their family and friends are ok, the work will begin to rebuild their lives and their businesses. Unfortunately, some will find their insurance will not cover the damages and loss.
A friend of mine, Liz, lives in the path that Hurricane Sandy directed its wrath, and come to think of it she lives in the path that Hurricane Irene decided to take as well. Each time, the Hurricanes hit land, Liz knew that she was protected. Beyond the warm home that protected her through the storm, she knew she had, well thought she had, insurance coverage that would protect her personal and small business should things take a turn for the worse. Lucky for her, she never had to test her insurance policy coverage.
Like so many individuals and small business owners, the first natural disaster was the worst. When the hurricane hit, Liz was unprepared. Although she thought she was protected, she was truly unprepared in knowing whether or not she was fully covered by her insurance. Would her personal belongings be covered if there was flood damage due to a storm? Would her small business be covered if her office sustained damage due to the storm? What if all of her computer equipment was destroyed, how would she get back up and running. Liz’s only source of income and now the potential of being out of business for days, weeks, and possibly months was enough of a wake up call.
After the first natural disaster, Hurricane Irene, the first thing Liz did was update her insurance policies for herself and her business. But did she cover everything?
So you are asking yourself, she lives on the East Coast, what does this have to do with me, I live in California? No matter where you live, insurance coverage is what protects you from being in business and having a roof over your head, to being out of business and with nowhere to live. Whether it is business or personal insurance, understanding your insurance policies, how each of the policies works, and how the policies work together is critical, and up to you.
When it comes to understanding your policy coverage, you need to become your own Risk Manager. While the job of your Insurance Agent is to provide you with all the options and coverage you require, it is up to you to be engaged in the process.
 Do I need:
  • Earthquake coverage?
  • Flood coverage?
  • Different policies for my personal property and business property?
  • What are my deductible options?
  • What happens if I have an uncovered loss?
  • What kind of assistance can I realistically expect from the government in the event of a loss?
  • What happens to my business if I have to close for a period of time?
    • Will I lose my customers?
    • Will they come back once I reopen?
    • Am I in a business that will not allow for an interruption of service/manufacturing?
  • Is there any property that can be exposed to loss that is uninsurable?
    • If yes, then what?
  • Can I set up an arrangement with a friendly competitor to keep my doors open if I need to:
    • Evacuate for a period of time
    • Restart the business after a loss
These are just some of the questions that you should be asking your Risk Manager/Insurance Broker/Insurance Agent. Fortunately for Liz, she never had to tap into her insurance policy, but some people in Hurricane Sandy were not as fortunate. The losses are going to occur, the questions are (A) are they going to happen to you (B) are you prepared for the aftermath of the storm?