We wrote previously about business losses in the wake of Hurricane Ida, focusing principally on insurance claims for loss of income for businesses (read it here).
Overall, Hurricane Ida was for New Orleanians, effectively a week-long event at minimum, making landfall on Sunday, August 29. It was September 6 before power was restored to 70% of Entergy customers in the major metropolitan area.
For business owners, the most significant damages are likely to be:
With today’s technology, a professional services team can work anywhere they have to evacuate to, so long as they have internet access and the firm’s servers are running (this can be an issue when power is out). However, dealing with the logistics of evacuation, their insurance coverage, and prospective claims, and the reality of children’s immediate daily needs can take a toll on the best team members and their available working time, practically speaking. This, needless to say, can impact your business’s productivity in the near term.
Check your coverage – do you have Business Interruption insurance as part of your General Liability coverage? If you don’t, please consider including such coverage going forward. If you do (as I suspect it is true for most of us), check it carefully and thoroughly. What are your coverage limits? What is your deductible? Know the answers before filing a claim to ensure that it is worth your while to do so.
For property damage, your coverage should provide reimbursement for repairs to windows, roofs, an offline warehouse, etc. However, different areas face differing issues. Some Louisiana parishes flooded, which damage would be covered under a separate Flood Insurance policy. Other parishes, such as Orleans, suffered damages mostly from felled trees and high winds since our levees mercifully held.
Document, with photos and/or video, all physical damage prior to making any repairs. Do this together with your contractor to ensure that damages undetectable to the eye are not missed.
Get estimates for all necessary repairs. Again, review your coverage limits and deductibles carefully. If damage is minimal, it may not be worth the time and effort to file an insurance claim. Remember that the time you will spend backing and forthing with your insurance carrier is time you won’t spend generating revenue for your business.
This is an individual decision, to be made based on your own business damages and losses. As I’ve said before, one size does not fit all. Do what is best for your business, which may not be what’s best for the company around the corner.
Once more, I recommend strongly that you consult with us before making any tax or financial decisions in Ida’s wake. My direct line is 504-586-3051.
Getting the right decisions implemented effectively is far better than getting something done immediately, which may in hindsight prove to have been less than an optimal decision.
Please click here to let me know how I can help you.
Until next time –