This Year’s Hurricane Season Isn’t Anything Like We’ve Seen Before. But There’s Still a Way Through the Storm

By: | August 5, 2020

Steve serves as Senior Vice President, Risk Control. In this role, he is responsible for strategic direction and leadership of Risk Control for CNA's $2.8 billion commercial property and casualty business, which is comprised of Business Insurance (smaller commercial accounts) and Commercial Insurance (middle market and risk management accounts). This includes developing Risk Control products and services that align with CNA's commercial underwriting strategies.

The 2020 hurricane season brings forth never before seen challenges and risks for businesses.

In addition to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predictions for an above-average hurricane season, businesses must also continue to navigate the implications of COVID-19 for their everyday operations.

Business resilience will be imperative for organizations this year in order to adapt to the constant changes in regulations, while also ensuring employee safety and protecting the bottom line.

Through proper preparation, businesses can work to effectively mitigate their 2020 hurricane season risks.

Preparation Is Key

A hurricane or tropical storm can affect a business in many ways. The preparation process is key to sustaining employee safety and ongoing business operations.

At CNA, when we help clients prepare for events such as natural catastrophes, we work with them to examine each area of impact within their organization.

Business leaders must have a deep understanding of the potential risk(s) their business may face. For example, three areas that will require extra care during this time are the workforce, facilities and equipment.

With more employees working remotely than ever before, clear communication throughout a storm will be vital.

Staff that are onsite at a facility should be familiar with evacuation plans and should have ample education on what measures need to be taken in order to secure the facility and safely shut down any running equipment.

Some facilities may already be idle or vacant due to COVID-19 regulations or business decisions. These facilities, as well as those that are operating as normally as possible, should have a checklist in place to help minimize physical damage to the property.

This includes taking actions, such as verifying the adequacy of emergency power generation fuel supply, inspecting roofs, and checking to see that all windows and other openings are resistant to wind-borne debris.

Additionally, it is of the utmost importance that onsite staff are trained on key equipment power-down procedures.

Plans should be in place so that employees know what equipment needs to be shut down and what the lead times are to replace critical equipment should it be damaged during the storm.

Utilize Emergency Resources

When an event does occur, tapping into local and federal emergency management resources will be imperative for staying abreast of which areas of a community are going to be impacted and when.

Ready, the national public service campaign under the Department of Homeland Security, provides a wealth of resources to help businesses recognize warning signs and help locate emergency supplies, such as medication and disinfectants.

Businesses should also be familiar with their local Emergency Management Agencies, as these agencies may be able to provide specific and timely insight on the area in which a facility operates.

Lastly, it is important for businesses to work with a trusted insurance agent or broker throughout the preparation and response phases to ensure all risks are considered and proper coverage is in place.

There is no doubt that this hurricane season will be uniquely challenging, but through thorough preparation and education, businesses can ensure they are better equipped, and minimize the impact and/or loss of an event.

The preparation and action that takes place now can help businesses become more efficient, effective and resilient to crises in the future. &

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]