For six months each year—June 1 to November 30—the watch is on for hurricanes in the Atlantic. That’s when 97 percent of tropical activity occurs. That’s why we at Hortica want to help you prepare your greenhouse if a storm hits. Here are some tips to help you get ready:
- Survey your property: Check all greenhouse bracing to make sure it’s secure. Clear drainage systems so water can flow away quickly. Pick up loose items around your business that could become airborne in the high winds.
- Protect your investments: Fill trucks and trailers with valuable plants and park them next to sturdy buildings.
- Be ready with backups: Gather your business files and records—including an updated inventory of all the plants you have in stock. They should be backed up on a regular basis with copies kept in a safe area off site. Having these records will speed your claim.
- Prepare the building: Determine the areas where power should be shut off and in what order. Also, rent or purchase a generator to help deal with an extended power outage.
- Plan ahead: Create a response plan to protect employees and your property. It should include emergency instructions, evacuation guidelines, and a chain of command.
- Practice your plan: Review your hurricane response plan quarterly and look for areas that might need revising. If there’s time before a storm hits, walk through the procedures to make sure everything is ready.
It’s not just those of you with a business near a coast that need to worry about hurricanes. Often, the tropical storms trigger heavy rains, storm surge and inland flooding. But flooding can come from more sources than rain—a dam or levee failure, mud flows, snow melt, spring thaw, and even new development. In fact, flooding can be more damaging than a hurricane. From 2010-2014 the average commercial flood claim came to $89,000 and at least 25 percent of businesses that close after an event like a flood never reopen again.
That’s where insurance comes in. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Check with your agent to see if you’re eligible. If your business is in a moderate to low risk flood area, a preferred risk policy gives you up to $500,000 of coverage for your buildings and up to $500,000 on the contents inside at low preferred rates. If you’re in a high risk zone, a standard rated policy provides similar coverage—but at higher rates. But be aware—flood insurance rules require a 30-day waiting period before any policy kicks in.
No matter what your business is or where it is, it’s important that you review your insurance policy to make sure you have all of your buildings, vehicles, equipment, personal property, and crops covered adequately. Here are some other options to consider:
- Water endorsements
- Sewer and drain back-up
- Mobile equipment
- Data processing
- Power outage
- Damage to property
- Loss of business income
- Communication interruption (no phones or internet)
- Loss of heating or cooling (plant spoilage)
- Equipment breakdown
- Surge damage when power is restored
- Other mechanical breakdown
- Profit protection
- Business income coverage
- Crop income coverage
After a hurricane, flooding or other natural disaster, contact your agent immediately. A delay on your part could mean a delay in getting your claim processed. Be sure to include photos or video of the damage, as well as a detailed list of damaged items. If possible, include their value and supply receipts.
If you have any questions about how to protect your employees, inventory, and buildings from storms and floods, your Hortica insurance specialist is ready to provide some answers.