HSB BI&I - How Small Businesses Can Prepare For Disasters

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13 October 2013 | In the News

Being prepared is the key when disaster strikes

An interview with David Pivato, VP Underwriting
Article featured in Toronto Star, October 10, 2013

Download Article (PDF, 245 KB)


A solid emergency plan is essential for small business in the time of need

Emergency situations — floods, fires, power outages, equipment breakdowns — can temporarily cripple any company. But for small businesses, the effect can be fatal. “Small businesses have fewer ways to mitigate risk,” says David Pivato, vicepresident, responsible for underwriting, and risk manager at The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada (HSB BI&I).

“If you’re small, you’ve got less of an infrastructure to fall back on in the event of an emergency.”

Small business can mitigate the risk of a disaster wiping them out by having an emergency plan

HSB BI&I has been operating in Canada for more than 140 years, primarily providing equipment breakdown insurance to companies.

Pivato says to avoid having to close their doors after disaster strikes, small businesses need to be prepared.

“When the sun is shining and the sky is blue, that’s the time,” Pivato says. “Because when disaster strikes, there is little time to think and plan.” No plan in place? Pivato offers tips on where to start.

Consider a variety of situations:
“Think of various scenarios that might disrupt your business,” Pivato advises. “What if you had a prolonged electrical power outage, or things as mundane as your heating or cooling? What if your business equipment failed?” Know your vulnerabilities. “What are your key pieces of equipment that keeps your business up and running?”

Organize help: “A small business is going to need outside help. Contact repair firms, maybe rental companies and other relevant vendors in advance to arrange
for services in the event of an emergency,” Pivato suggests. “Create a big contact list, with those names and numbers on paper. You’ll know who to call when an emergency arises.”

Inform your employees of the emergency plan: “Share your document with the designated employees who might be called upon to make those decisions in an emergency.”

Update annually: “Once you create your plan and that contact list, you’ve got to review it regularly to make sure it’s up-todate,” Pivato says. “It’s an ongoing process. Things change.”


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