Not long ago we marked the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake; shortly after the anniversary we had major shakes that triggered tsunami warnings.
Events like these impact not only on the community but could also affect your business.
But it can be something as simple as the flexi hose attached to a washing machine or dishwasher at your premises bursting that can have a devastating impact on your business operating. Some 1,500 litres of water per hour can flood your premises. Major companies can probably recover fairly quickly but small businesses may grind to a standstill.
It’s vital for you to have your business returned to its original condition and operating as soon as possible.
That insurance you pay and, if you have the services of a Steadfast insurance broker, they regularly advise you on, is suddenly a key to your business recovering.
What happens when you make a claim
So what happens when disaster strikes? What happens when you contact your insurer or broker to make a claim?
Obviously speed in assessing the damage and repairing it is vital. Here’s how insurers may handle such claims.
As soon as you or your broker contact them, the insurance claims team immediately swings into action. The insurance company triages your claim and decide how best to quickly help you get back onto your feet.
“It’s important you ensure you have the right cover for your business and you’re not underinsured.”
To help your premises are safe and secure, they may organise for temporary emergency make-safe repairs to be carried out before full repairs are started.
An assessor, either employed by the insurer or independent, working for you, will evaluate the cost of repairs and what needs to be done. If you have a broker, the assessor will work with them to get builders and restorers quickly appointed.
A broker would continually liaise with the insurer on your behalf to help the recovery process is as quick as possible. The broker can help with the paperwork and follow up on delays – so the business owner can get on with running their business. The brokers not only work with the insurer, they can also with any third-party valuers, repairers or specialists, to achieve a positive outcome for your claim.
N.B. Remember damaged buildings can be very dangerous, so it’s important to listen to the advice of emergency services authorities about access to your premises and the general area.
Business interruption insurance
But what about your business while the recovery is underway? For most business owners, there are ongoing expenses that you need to pay even if you’re not generating any revenue – like staff wages, supplier invoices, rent or loan repayments.
Many small businesses in New Zealand, who do not have the advice of a broker, are often unaware of how business interruption insurance can help their business to keep running after an unexpected event by covering the turnover that is lost so you can recover and rebuild.
It can get you through a temporary crisis by protecting your cash flow – so you can pay expenses and help ensure the future of your business.
Business interruption insurance may also cover:
- Ongoing operating expenses, such as electricity and rent
- Relocation costs for moving to, and operating from, a temporary location
- Training costs for operators of replacement machinery
- Closure of your business premises due to government-ordered street closures or curfews
- Damage to a supplier’s premises which has a negative flow-on effect for your business operations
The right cover for your business
It’s important you ensure you have the right cover for your business and you’re not underinsured.
Good small business insurance can cover such problems as property damage; business interruption; theft; public and products liability, and electronic equipment and machinery breakdown.
Insurance can be complicated and, as a small business owner, you probably won’t want to spend too much time checking you have the right insurer and cover. Engaging a broker will make the process much easier. They will take the time to understand your business and tailor the right cover for you.
Insurance cover for your business is like having a fire extinguisher – you hope you never need to use it but when disaster strikes, you are pleased to have it.
This information is to assist you in understanding some of the terms, implications and common considerations with insurance. It is not complete, so please request full details from your Steadfast insurance broker as to whether insurance is appropriate for you.
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