COLUMBUS - Ohio Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor is sharing insurance advice with small business owners across Ohio to assist them in understanding their insurance coverage provisions as they recover from the recent severe weather that blanketed the state.
“The first step for business owners who suffered an interruption in service and damaged products and property is to get in touch with their insurance agent,” Taylor said. “They will be able to assist in sorting out the particulars of the policy and help you get back on your feet.”
Taylor added that if business owners incurred damage they should collect copies of receipts for equipment, furniture and other valuable items and photos of the property to share with their agent.
Taylor offered the following insurance information for small business owners impacted by recent severe weather:
- Property insurance typically covers for damage or theft of the physical property and equipment of the small business.
- If you own the physical structure of your business address, your property insurance should cover both the structure and its other assets.
- If you lease the space you occupy, you are likely responsible for insuring your personal property/contents. As a leaseholder, you should have a contingency plan in case your landlord or your landlord’s insurer is not able to promptly repair the building where your business is located.
- Business interruption insurance covers lost earnings due to circumstances stated in the policy – such as weather or fire – that shut down a business for an extended period.
- Certain events will trigger this insurance that generally covers expenses associated with running your business, such as payroll and utility bills, based on your company’s financial records.
- Benefits under this kind of coverage may not be payable for a certain number of days after the business interruption has occurred. Make sure you have sufficient funds to tide you over for that time.
- The insurance may also help pay for the extra expenses to keep your business in operation until you recover.
Taylor also shared this information to assist business owners in preparing for potential future severe weather or natural disasters:
- Is your business ready for disaster?
- Do you have an emergency response plan for employees and customers?
- Do you have copies of important papers and information stored off site?
- Does the information include: receipts, photos, insurance policies, contact details for your agent or company, employee roster, etc.? These documents will assist you when you file a claim later.
Minimize your insurance risks by:
- Installing fire and security alarms.
- Planning and training employees for emergencies on the premises, such as fires and evacuations.
- Having employees keep wallets and other personal items in a secure place. Keeping the business’ cash and other valuables in a safe.
- Keeping office space in good physical condition.
Review your insurance needs and your current policies:
- Are your policies up-to-date with your insurance coverage needs and are the limits for each coverage at a level that protects your investment?
The Office of the Ohio Treasurer recently announced businesses that suffered damage can apply to obtain up to a three percent interest rate reduction on new or existing loans for construction or to improve cash flow through the Ohio Treasury's Renew Ohio & Rebuild Ohio emergency financing programs.
Business owners and consumers with insurance questions can call the Department’s consumer hotline at 1-800-686-1526. You can visit www.insurance.ohio.gov for more information and follow the Department on twitter @OHInsurance and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OhioDepartmentofInsurance.