Orlando, Fla. — Believe it or not, some workers in Florida are still unable to report to work as normal, due to the amount of damage they received after the landfall of Hurricane Irma through our entire state.
As we have reported before, Florida’s economy is based in small businesses, many of which are home-based. To protect yourself from wage loss during this type of adversity, a commercial coverage to get business interruption benefits can save your wallet during this difficult time.
Business interruption coverage typically covers physical damage and may apply to shutdowns, revenue losses and to pay fixed costs like salaries and health care for employees who can't work in a natural disaster, according to Jim Whittle, chief claims counsel for the American Insurance Association.
Though there often isn't a deductible on pay, there may be a waiting period of up to 72 hours before coverage would kick in after disaster occurs, until the coverage takes effect.
It is important to remember that homeowner policies generally do not cover business-related damages. We haven’t stressed enough the importance of reviewing your current policies before storm/hurricane season. If you would like to stay informed you can check out our Facebook page where we provide additional updates and tips when storms approach our area.
In a presidentially declared disaster, Disaster Unemployment Assistance is also available to individuals whose work has been lost or interrupted.
Our hurricane season this year has yet not ended. An important part of your emergency plan should be determining whether closing the office means having to pay workers who stay home, being on the hook for unemployment compensation, and whether workers' compensation applies to weather-related injuries.
Communication is Key
Employers need to decide in advance how they will communicate with employees, whether or not they will allow employees to work from home, allowing flexible work schedules after the storm to accommodate employee’s whose homes may have been damaged, whether or not employees will be compensated for missing work, etc.
There are many considerations that come into play. The Ford Harrison Law Firm offers their opinions and a few topics to begin your thinking process.
Those of us who have lived in Florida for any length of time are well aware that hurricane season begins June 1 and doesn’t end until November 30. For some of us, that means making sure we’re ready for a disaster and have stocked up on flashlights, batteries and water. But for those of us who manage businesses, we have to think well beyond the “creature comforts” to make sure our disaster readiness plan is in place so that businesses remain operational or are closed for as short a period of time as possible when hurricane hits.
A great starting point is to obtain (you and/or key personnel) emergency management training from FEMA. To help you protect your small business from disasters they have a specific curriculum that is presented in a non-technical format and includes protective measures that can reduce the negative consequences of disasters on homes or small businesses. Reference provided here: IS-394.A: Protecting Your Home or Small Business From Disaster.
For us at Garzor Insurance, our commitment is to help you stay safe and protect your commercial assets. If you have questions regarding your current policy please do not hesitate to contact us anytime.
For personal insurance solutions check out our sister company Orlando Insurance Center