North Carolina Personal & Business Insurance
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Small Business Disaster Planning Tips for North Carolina

Paul Hoover IV, CPCU, CIC | August 2013
Disaster Planning

You receive a call at 4am that your building has burned down to the ground. Now what? Without a plan, you may find that your customers have moved on to greener pastures while you stumbled your way back into business.

You need to have a disaster plan. Many insurance companies provide access to guides free of charge. offers a free planning tool for small to medium size businesses. As an example, we will look at a common risk in NC: Hurricanes.

It is just a matter of time before another hurricane plows through the Piedmont. A probable outcome could be days or weeks without power, internet or phone. Some advance planning can make a world of difference.


Generators can mean the difference between business as usual and sitting in the dark.

What size generator?

What do you need to keep running to stay in business? Figure out the essentials and add up the wattage. There are a number of online calculators that can help with this.

Clean Power

A standard generator can fry a computer. A unit with Automatic Voltage Regulation can help minimize the chance of damage.


Gas can be hard to come by. You need to have plenty on hand. If you do not have power, chances are the gas station down the street doesn't either.


Many businesses store their information in "the cloud". This is a good solution if your building burns down, but it can be a real issue if your area loses internet for 2 weeks. If your company is very dependent on the internet, you should consider a back up plan.

  • Many cell phone providers offer pay as you go mobile hotspots. Keep one around the office for emergencies. You can connect 5 to 10 computers with one device. Even desktops can connect if you purchase a USB wifi adapter.
  • If you use different phone and internet providers, you may be able to have the phone system provide a backup for a low price as part of a "bundle". DHB "bundled" phone/internet and has an additional backup for close to the same price as phone alone.

Phone System/Website

  • Ask your phone company about offsite voicemail. This allows for customers to continue to leave you messages during an outage.
  • When the phone system goes down, most people plan to have the calls forwarded to their cell phones. You should know how to do this from the office and offsite.
  • Make sure you have the ability to update your website and social media off site. This may be the best way to keep your customers up to date with your situation.

Offsite Workplace

  • Do the offsite computers have the necessary software, updates and security? If employees are working from home on their own computers, you could be exposing company data to whatever virus/malware they have.
  • If using a work computer, be sure it is kept up to date. You do not want to choose between spending 3 hours doing all of the necessary security updates or connecting immediately with an unsecure computer.

These are just a small sample of the things you will need to think through. Completing a plan can give you a better idea of the risks you face, and you will be better able to work with us to ensure you have the coverage that fits your needs.

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