If your store is destroyed, will your insurance policy cover your losses?
The horrific terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 cost thousands of lives, and countless others were injured, traumatized and forever changed. Even those who escaped without physical injury face emotional and financial scars.
No plan can adequately protect against such attacks, but a disaster recovery plan can make a huge difference in which companies rebuild and which are lost.
Most federal, state and city agencies are able to respond quickly when a disaster occurs. New York City, for example, practiced for disasters and developed skilled teams and procedures that allow for a coordinated and efficient response. Unfortunately, many businesses dont realize they should do the same.
Any jeweler can be put out of business by a fire, flood, robbery, building collapse or other disaster natural or criminal. Which businesses survive depends on preparation. Those with adequate insurance can expect to receive money to rebuild, provided they can document their loss. Accordingly, you should maintain adequate insurance and keep duplicate inventory records in your store and another location, such as a safe deposit box. This allows access to duplicates to substantiate your claim if your store is destroyed.
While a claim is processed, who pays the bills? If you have business interruption insurance, you can expect to be compensated while your business rebuilds.
If someone is injured or killed, you may be sued. Liability insurance will defend you and pay claims up to a certain limit. A $1 million liability policy is a good place to start.
Review your policy with your agent to be sure you have the coverage you need. Also be sure you have documentation that will convince even the most skeptical adjuster that you do, in fact, own the amount of inventory, equipment and fixtures you are claiming. Photos, videos, receipts and invoices will all help paint a clear picture for your insurer.
What Else You Can Do
Have your agent visit your store regularly so he or she sees and understands your operation; an agents input is invaluable when claims are filed.
Also understand the importance of practicing evacuating the store and securing the premises. Learn CPR and first aid from a local Red Cross chapter or hospital. The more prepared you are, the more likely you will recover quickly.
If your store had been destroyed in the terrorist attacks, would your current insurance policy have covered your losses and expenses? If not, call your insurance agent and start to work on a plan.
Elie Ribacoff is president of Worldwide Security Network, New York City, a security company specializing in high-value-asset businesses such as jewelers. Contact him at (718) 380-0209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.