By Carrie Millar, MBA, CAE, FDA Services Agency Manager
Life in sunny Florida can have many benefits; relatively warm weather year-round and access to beautiful beaches are just two upsides of living and practicing in this state. However, there also are some downsides, the worst being hurricanes. These destructive, swirling storms come barreling toward the peninsula almost every year and, although storms can vary in intensity, they always bring some sort of damage with them.
Is your practice prepared to handle the chaos that comes after a big storm? In a state where hurricanes are a normal part of life, it’s vital to have a hurricane/crisis plan ready for your practice in the event of an emergency. Not every plan is the same, but there are several hallmarks of an ideal strategy to keep in mind while crafting your readiness plan.
Decide when your practice will close and reopen.
Will your closing coincide with county schools and/or other government entities? Have a policy in place and be sure that both your employees and patients are aware of that policy.
Notify patients and staff if you need to close/reopen.
Keep updated emergency contact lists and create a notification system that can be used in any emergency scenario.
Make sure your practice can afford a couple days of closure.
Keep an emergency fund to help your practice survive in case you need to be closed for several days after a storm hits. Business income insurance and off-premises power failure coverage also will help with the costs, but they often have a 72-hour waiting period.
Protect your data!
Back up your practice’s data regularly and keep important documents in a weatherproof safe. Also, keep copies of important records, such as employee, vendor and client contact information, collected and backed up at a secure off-site location.
Update your inventory list.
Make sure you have an updated list of all the major assets in your practice, or even better, take a video of all the items. This is a great way to make sure you can account for all items in the event of a loss.
Make sure you’re covered!
Communicate annually with your insurance agent to review your coverage details. Ask about any additional coverage that may be right for your practice. Being prepared can make a difference.
Key Coverages to Have for Hurricane Season
1. Wind/Hail Coverage: Make sure that your policy has coverage for physical damage caused from wind; often there is a separate deductible for this coverage.
2. Business Income and Extra Expense: This coverage pays for your practice’s missed income when there is physical damage to your building. It also pays for temporary office space in the event of a larger damage amount.
3. Off-premises Power/Utility Services: In the event that you do not have any physical damage, you may still have to close your practice because of interruption of communication, power or water services. This coverage will help recoup some of that lost income.
4. Flood Insurance: We recommend that all business owners consider purchasing this coverage to have complete coverage for any water damage. While wind driven rain is covered by wind insurance, rising water is not.
Make sure to read the new hurricane insurance guide developed by FDA Services for the 2016 hurricane season, “Hurricane Proof: 2016 Practice Readiness Guide.”
This article was prepared by FDA Services. FDA Services’ experienced staff is ready to get to work for you. If you feel you need a review of your current insurance policies, call us at 800.877.7597 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.