Disaster may be unpreventable, but protecting your business isn’t

  • In Association with NZI
  • December 12, 2017
Disaster may be unpreventable, but protecting your business isn’t

In both life and in business, the one thing you can expect is the unexpected. Your physical retail store or online presence is one of your most important assets, so it makes sense to insure it against a whole range of unexpected events - like fire, flood or theft.

Insurance Council of New Zealand statistics show that during 2017 Kiwis have made over $230 million worth of insurance claims for damage or loss as a result of natural disasters. Cyclones Cook and Debbie, as well as the Port Hills Fires are just some of the events that have contributed to that number.

But it’s not only natural disasters that can cost your business money. There are many circumstances that can interrupt your business such as theft, fire and power outage. While you can't necessarily prevent these events, you can protect against them by taking out the right commercial insurance.

What’s the level of risk – and the effects?
It’s impossible to predict when disaster could hit, but when asked many businesses say that:

  • they don’t have a cyber incident plan at all
  • Board members have never asked the state of their own organisation’s state of cyber-readiness
  • there’s no formal business continuity plan
  • there’s no plan to communicate with customers and key suppliers following a loss

What can businesses do to protect themselves?
Taking a few simple steps can go a long way towards protecting you, your business and your staff following an unexpected catastrophe.

1) Establish a risk management regime. Identify the core business needs you need to protect. What threats could impact your business? For example, the 2016 floods in Auckland’s New Lynn town centre saw many businesses caught unawares.

2) Better communication protocols. Your staff are your most important asset, so put plans in place to check they are okay if anything happens. This can be as simple as keeping contact details up to date, together with a list of their next of kin. Communicating with your customers is equally as essential, whether it’s a notice on your premises, a voice message on your phone or an alert on your website.

3) Installing companywide malware protection. Business interruption isn’t only caused by natural disasters; cyber criminals can also wreak havoc with your business. As well as installing malware protection in your IT system, cyber insurance can help you deal with the consequences. If an event does occur, cover can give you expert help to fix the issues arising and any resulting legal liability incurred.

4) Post-incident management planning. Too often plans identify emergency safety and security procedures only until the event is over, but what happens the next day, a week or a month later? This could include contact information for contractors who you may need to employ to make the property safe – from boarding up windows, to cleaning up a chemical spill.

5) Improving management of user privileges. Different people within your business may need different levels of access to information and systems. Ensure you’re providing people with the reasonable level of system access they need for their role. It’s often best to err on the minimal side of access.

Disruptions to your business can be without warning, stressful and come with big costs. By taking these basic steps, before an event happens, you can significantly reduce your exposure to risk.

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