Seattle-based Safeco Insurance has launched a new disaster recovery planner designed specifically for time-starved entrepreneurs.
Safeco’s self-help guide allows business owners to create customized disaster plans in a few short hours, rather than the days or weeks reportedly required for traditional assessments. This removes a major barrier to disaster planning, according to David Strudthoff, director of risk services for Safeco Business Insurance.
“Most small- and mid-sized business owners understand that disaster planning is important, but nearly two out of three of them don’t do it,” Strudthoff said. “One reason they put it off is that disaster planning tools were designed with large corporations in mind. Documents are overly complex and time-consuming to complete.”
Safeco’s disaster recovery planner prompts business owners to answer five simple questions about their employees, customers, suppliers, computers and special equipment. Entrepreneurs can then download customized forms to detail the vital information they’d need to respond quickly and confidently if and when a disaster strikes.
Disaster planning is especially critical for owners of small- and mid-sized businesses, because so many of them reportedly fail after experiencing a major crisis. In 2002, Gartner analysts determined that 40 percent of small- and mid-sized businesses fail within a five-year period after a catastrophe. Still, only 34 percent of those entrepreneurs reportedly have a disaster plan in place.
“Entrepreneurs who haven’t done their homework often underestimate how long it takes to recover if their business is destroyed. Advance preparation allows business owners to rebuild faster, and retain customers, suppliers and employees,” Strudthoff said. “Ultimately, the plans can help owners save tens of thousands of dollars in losses.”
Small-business owners typically take about 6 to 18 months to rebound from a major disaster: four to six months to rebuild their property and resume operations, and another six months to a year to return to previous income levels.
But nearly half of all small-business owners surveyed by Safeco in 2003 estimated it would take them less than three months to recover to their current level of operations if their business was totally destroyed.
Safeco’s disaster recovery planner and business income calculator are available at www.safeco.com/riskservices.
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