2017 may well go down as the “Year of Disasters.” Many hundreds of thousands of acres across the western United States have been ravaged by out-of-control wildfires. Hurricanes have recently devastated parts of Texas, Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean. Hundreds of small earthquakes have recently shaken up the Rocky Mountains, and 2 major earthquakes have recently destroyed regions of south-central Mexico. Add to this political instability in many countries and terrorist attacks throughout Europe, and we can certainly all agree we are living in perilous times!
The Boy Scouts of America’s motto is two simple words: “Be Prepared.” It doesn’t say, “be prepared for bad weather,” or “be prepared for famine,” or “be prepared for a power outage.” The motto simply states, “Be Prepared.”
So, are you prepared? Are you prepared for power outages, for food and supply shortages, for homelessness, for loss of income, for identity theft, for rioting in the streets? And even without considering disasters, are you prepared for retirement, for business succession, for providing for your family, for death or disability? Is your business prepared for those unexpected events that can shut you down? What should we consider when we are “becoming prepared?” Here are some thoughts:
1. Is your personal preparation adequate? Are your “very important documents” stored in a fireproof, floodproof location? Do you have a secure location where all your IDs and passwords are stored? Do you have an adequate supply of food, clothing and emergency supplies in a “grab and go” location in the event of fire or evacuation? A good option is to store duffle bags and totes in a convenient location, pre-packed with tents, bedding, food, clothes, a portable camp stove, utensils, fuel, power source, first aid supplies, extra batteries, etc.
2. Do you have an “evacuation plan?” If you and/or your loved ones are away from home and a disaster strikes, do you have a designated meeting area? If your family all has to evacuate your home quickly due to a middle-of-the-night fire, do you have a pre-determined gathering point?
3. How is your long-term disaster preparation? Do you have adequate long-term food storage, water supply, weapons, an off-road vehicle, survival equipment and supplies, etc?
4. Consider insurance: Most property coverages exclude flood, wind, and earthquake damage. Think about adding these coverages if you are in a region prone to these events. What about life or disability insurance? Are you and your loved ones adequately insured, or will your spouse have to set up a “fund-me campaign” to raise money to support your family if something happens to you?
5. Where are you with your other financial preparations? Do you have a retirement plan? An education plan for your children? A plan for your own education? A plan to get out of debt? Adequate funds and emergency cash set aside for disasters? Do you have a plan in place to get you to a financially secure situation?
6. And what about your business? Have you worked with an insurance professional to ensure your business risks are adequately insured? Do you have safety protocols and training in place to ensure your employees are properly trained and practicing safety standards?
7. Finally – are you aware that if you have risks in your business that cannot be adequately insured through commercial insurance markets, you can insure those risks through your own captive insurance company? Risks like earthquake and flooding, litigation, equipment breakdown, loss of a key customer, cyber-related losses, damage to reputation, accounts receivable losses, etc. can all be insured through a captive insurance company. This is something we can gladly help you with!
If you find your emergency preparedness lacking, make a plan to bring it up to your desired standard. It may take time – years even – but eventually you can be prepared for whatever life throws at you or your business. This world can be a scary place, but we are taught that if we are prepared, we need not fear.
If you need any help with finding the right experts and guidance, give the folks at Montera a call. We can help steer you in the right direction. Good luck with your preparations, and fear not!