After Irene, What Business Owners Need To Know About Insurance

Gotham Brokerage is the best NYC business insurance resource for owners

street scene, photo courtesy Eguchi Shintaro/Creative Comments

Irene turned out to be more of a nuisance than a disaster for New Yorkers. But as downtown business owners — who a decade ago had their livelihoods disrupted by 9/11 — can tell you, it’s important for businesspeople to prepare for disaster, whether it’s caused by a terrorist attack or a hurricane.

Some advice for business owners if disaster strikes:

  • Look closely, take pictures. As homeowners should, business owners ought to examine their property closely after a disaster and turn off utilities if need be. Business owners should take detailed photos and video documenting the damage.
  • Use “extra expense” coverage if you have it. Some commercial property policies have “extra expense” coverage that pays for a business to move its operations to a new location if necessary in a disaster. But most such policies won’t cover those expenses in the event of flood damage, even if the business owner has a flood policy.
  • Same for “business income” coverage. You may have “business income” coverage that pays your continuing expenses and enough income to compensate for the loss of business and property. This is a complicated matter, though, probably requiring consultation with an accountant.
  • Consider hiring a public adjuster if your inventory is big enough. Only you can decide if the reward is worth the expense — usually between 10 and 15 percent of the eventual claim settlement. But if the business is big enough, a public adjuster can help with things like preparing inventories, obtaining repair or reconstruction estimates and assisting with negotiations.

    Restaurant on East 5th Street and Avenue A in Manhattan's East Village boarding up for Hurricane Irene on Saturday. Photo courtesy of David Shankbone/Creative Commons

Irene could have been much, much worse. Downgraded to a tropical storm from a hurricane by the time it arrived here, Irene still packed winds that reached 65 miles per hour when it hit New York City. Irene was the largest storm to hit the city in more than 25 years, and the suburbs took the hardest hit.

With most businesses closed, and most workers at home, the economic costs will be high. Peter Morici, a business school professor at the University of Maryland, told The New York Times that lost sales and storm damage in NYC alone could total $6 billion.

We at Gotham Brokerage know what it is like to sort out business damage after such and event. Before the next storm is on the way, review your business insurance coverage at Gotham, a family-owned business with offices in lower Manhattan. We’re happy to advise business owners throughout the Tri-State area. Call or email us today for a quote on a commercial policy that will cover your needs.

After all, it’s never a matter of IF something will happen, it’s WHEN.

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