by Sherelyn Yetter Schoch

Hey there, fellow business owners! Ever heard the saying, “We don’t plan to fail; we fail to plan”? Well, this morning, I got thinking about it during a chat with a fellow insurance agency owner. We were discussing what would happen to our businesses if we weren’t around to keep things running smoothly. And you know what came out of that? The importance of disaster planning for your business!

Now, I get it – talking about disasters isn’t the most uplifting conversation. But here’s the deal: my job is to help you think ahead and navigate through the tough stuff. Because, let’s face it, life can throw some curveballs our way. With a solid disaster plan in place, along with the right insurance coverage, we can weather any storm that comes our way. We spend so much of our time and energy planning and running our small business.  Let’s spend a little more time planning how to protect that business!  (Insurance is just a part of that planning.)

The Importance of Disaster Planning

Disasters come in many forms – from natural catastrophes like hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods to man-made crises such as fires, cyberattacks, and supply chain disruptions. Regardless of the cause, the consequences of a disaster can be devastating for businesses, leading to property damage, operational disruptions, financial losses, and even reputational harm.

Effective disaster planning involves identifying potential risks, assessing vulnerabilities, and developing proactive strategies to mitigate those risks and ensure business continuity. By taking proactive steps to prepare for disasters, you can minimize downtime, protect your assets, and increase the likelihood of a swift recovery in the event of an emergency.

Steps to Develop a Disaster Preparedness Plan

  1. Risk Assessment: Begin by comprehensively assessing potential risks and vulnerabilities facing your business. Consider both internal and external threats, such as natural disasters, cybersecurity breaches, equipment failures, loss of a key person (you?), and supply chain disruptions.
  2. Business Impact Analysis: Evaluate the potential impact of each identified risk on your business operations, finances, and reputation. Determine which areas of your business are most critical for ongoing operations and prioritize them accordingly.
  3. Emergency Response Plan: Develop a detailed emergency response plan outlining specific procedures to be followed in the event of a disaster. Assign roles and responsibilities to employees, establish communication protocols, and designate assembly points or evacuation routes as needed.
  4. Backup and Recovery Strategies: Implement robust data backup and recovery systems to protect critical business information and ensure operational continuity. Consider cloud-based storage solutions, offsite backups, and redundant systems to minimize the risk of data loss.
  5. Training and Testing: Provide regular training sessions for employees to familiarize them with emergency procedures and protocols. Conduct drills and simulations to test the effectiveness of your disaster preparedness plan and identify areas for improvement.
  6. Continuous Improvement: Regularly review and update your disaster preparedness plan to reflect changes in business operations, technology, and the external environment. Stay informed about emerging threats and adapt your strategies accordingly.  Technology changes so often and we need to keep up with that!

The Role of Insurance in Disaster Recovery

While proactive planning is crucial for mitigating risks, insurance serves as a critical safety net to protect your business financially in the aftermath of a disaster. A comprehensive insurance plan tailored to your specific needs can help cover the costs of property damage, business interruption, liability claims, and other expenses incurred as a result of a covered event.

Key insurance coverages to consider for your business may include:

  • Property Insurance: Protects your physical assets, such as buildings, equipment, and inventory, against damage or destruction caused by covered perils.
  • Business Interruption Insurance:  provides financial compensation for lost income and ongoing expenses if your business operations are disrupted due to a covered event, such as a fire or natural disaster. I thought about it after the disaster in Baltimore Harbor last week.
  • Liability Insurance: Protects your business against claims for bodily injury, property damage, or other losses arising from your operations, products, or services.
  • Cyber Insurance: Covers expenses related to data breaches, cyberattacks, and other cybersecurity incidents, including legal fees, notification costs, and credit monitoring services.
  • Flood Insurance: Offers protection against losses resulting from flooding, which is typically excluded from standard property insurance policies.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses, including medical expenses and lost wages.


Disasters are unpredictable and can strike without warning, posing significant threats to your business’s survival and success. By investing time and resources into developing a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan and securing appropriate insurance coverage, you can protect your business against potential risks and increase your resilience in the face of adversity. Remember, proactive planning today can make all the difference tomorrow.

Don’t wait until disaster strikes – start planning and preparing now to safeguard your business’s future. Your business, your employees, and your customers will thank you for it.