Disastrous and tragic events like Superstorm Sandy and the Boston Marathon bombing are reminders of our personal vulnerabilities and the fragility of our peace of mind. After natural or human-caused disasters, you can’t help wonder about your personal safety, property protection and even the long-term viability of your business.
To help your business be better prepared for catastrophes, use Open for Business®, the risk control and planning tool, created by the safety experts at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).
Open for Business will help you plan how to reduce potential losses and downtime should a disaster strike. The event can be a natural disaster, an intentional or unintentional human-caused incident, a technological failure, pandemic flu or high absenteeism, or something as simple as a burst water pipe or as disruptive as a power outage.
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable in disasters. Statistics show that, of the small businesses that close because of a disaster, at least one in four never reopens, according to IBHS. The statistics may be higher since most surveys cover the first two years after a disaster, but the businesses that do hang on may only last two to five years before they give up.
With the Open for Business tool, small to mid-size businesses can follow the same disaster planning and recovery process used by larger companies, but without the burden of big budget costs.
IBHS offers two options:
• Open for Business Basic – A toolkit that you can download to help you capture essential information about your business. The toolkit is also available in Spanish.
• Open for Business Online – This online program provides interactive forms and organizes data into a variety of reports that ultimately produces business protection plans. All the information is stored on IBHS’ secure data server and is accessible online 24/7.
With Open for Business Online, you will need to register, create a user name and password, and enter Erie Insurance’s access code ER7671.
Once you register, you will be asked to complete an online self-assessment, which will help you understand how prepared your business is today in comparison with where you want to be in the future. The online tool is divided into 13 key business functions. You can review the information at your own pace. IBHS also offers a trainer series that could help you plan and manage the workload without being overwhelmed.
For additional support, IBHS is also planning this summer to release the new streamlined version of Open for Business®, an eight-step process called OFB–EZ.
If you have questions, please contact us at 410-897-9890 or your assigned risk control consultant at ERIE.