When disaster strikes, speed is of the essence

Posted By on December 27th, 2018

Figures suggest that up to a staggering 80% of businesses fail to fully recover after a disaster, such as a flood or fire. Research has revealed that it is not necessarily the level of physical damage caused by a disaster that determines whether a business recovers or not. There are other factors that are more important, speed of response being a key one.

The long term survival of a business depends on its ability to keep hold of its customer base. If you have to cease trading for a period of time your customers will look elsewhere for the goods or services you supplied. If they establish a new relationship with a competitor, it may prove difficult to win them back once you’re up and running again.

If you suffer a physical disaster, such as a fire, those first few hours are critical. Obviously the safety of your employees is the main priority and this will be your focus in the first few minutes. After that your attention will probably then turn to salvaging assets, such as equipment and furniture.

Once you’re satisfied you’ve done everything you can, it’s crucial that you contact your customers and reassure them that you will still be fulfilling orders. At First Recovery we know of many cases where competitors, spotting an opportunity, were calling customers of their beleaguered rivals within just a few hours of a disaster hitting. Even leaving it a few days before you get in touch with your customers can have a disastrous long term impact on the chances of your business getting back on its feet and fully recovering.

Those first 24 hours are a critical time after a disaster, which is why the service provided by First Recovery can be an important step in ensuring your longer term recovery. Within a day, we’ll set you up in alternative premises and get your communications and online capability back up and running so that you can talk to your customers and reassure them that it’s “business as usual”.

As well as employing the services of First Recovery, it’s important to have Business Interruption insurance in place. But make sure you have enough and that it covers you for a sufficient period of time. Many businesses under-estimate how long it will take to get fully back up and running. Advice from the British Insurance Brokers Association recommends a minimum of 24 months’ cover.

When calculating how long you need business interruption insurance to cover you for you should take the following into consideration:

  • Damage to your offices – Does it need rebuilding and how long will this take? Are there any special considerations to take in to account? How long will it take to clear the site initially?
  • Are there any Health and safety considerations?
  • Can you relocate to a different building?
  • How quickly can you replace lost or damaged stock?
  • Business equipment and machinery – do you use specialist machinery? How long will it take to replace? If you’ve had a partial loss is new machinery compatible with your old?
  • Will you need to retrain your team to use new machinery or processes?
  • Your customers – will they go elsewhere? Can you win them back or replace them with a new customer base? How long will it take to fully recover?
  • Do you run a seasonal business? If the disaster strikes in the middle of high season, what impact will this have in terms of loss of business and your ability to get back up and running fast?

The whole process of dealing with the claim can be long and time-consuming so don’t under-estimate how long you’ll need cover to last. Where your business is concerned, there can be no short cuts.