Mr. Dahm

Insurance

A Disaster Preparedness Guide: How to Plan Before, During & After an Event

By Richard Dahm, Senior Risk Consultant, National Hospitality Division, Wells Fargo Insurance Services

In the last five years the United States and countries around the world have witnessed many major natural disasters. Such disasters include hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, severe windstorms and catastrophic flood damage that have left businesses, large and small, unable to recoup from their loss. Damage assessments by risk management and loss control specialists find to often preventative measures could have been implemented that would in part or significantly reduce the overall cost of a claim or the length of recovery time. The intent of this guide is to help business owners in the planning process for preparing and implementing an emergency plan. One that is activated before, during, and after an event.

PRE-EVENT PLANNING

  • Develop an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and an Emergency Response Team (ERT). If you do not have one, consult your insurance broker or Risk Consultant to help with the implementation.

  • Members of the ERT should understand their specific roles and the overall goal and procedures outlined in the EAP. Members (with alternatives to cover all hours of operation) should also be trained to carry out their specified responsibilities.

  • The ERT leader should have authority to implement the EAP based on predetermined benchmarks.

  • Responsibilities should include when to shut down operations and send personnel home.

  • Identify all critical areas of the facility, including general conditions of their buildings i.e. roof covering, roof flashing and drainage openings. Someone on all shifts should be trained and authorized to implement the shutdown procedures.

  • Update a list of all relevant telephone numbers and contact information for ERT members, civil authorities, etc.

  • The ERT should have the ability to monitor TV/radio or internet, to stay informed of weather conditions and issuance of watches and/or warnings.

  • Ordering or Storing Emergency Supplies - Remember that in a natural disaster supplies may not always be available. Plan ahead for your emergency needs. If possible store items such as plywood, storm shutters and sandbags at your facility. If you are not able to store them, contract with a company to reserve the materials in an emergency situation.

  • Test all generators, emergency lighting, UPS equipment and sump pumps on a monthly basis to ensure proper operations.

  • Provide for backup communications. Confirm that all cell phones and two way communication devices are charged. In some instances companies may want to have a satellite phone available. In larger disasters it may be impossible to have any ability to contact local emergency response units due to the size of damage.

  • Arrange for an off-site emergency communications center.

  • Determine which company records and equipment are vital to the operations and have a plan to protect and relocate them. Contract with a storage facility outside of your area (at least 90 miles from your facility) for reserved space in the event of a disaster.

  • Identify key equipment and stock that requires protection with tarpaulins and waterproof covers. In addition, be sure to secure all outside or roof mounted equipment from detaching from your facility. Anything that can be additionally strapped down will lesson the chances of becoming projectiles to you or your neighbors facilities.

WHAT TO DO DURING THE EVENT

  • Emergency response personnel should remain on site only if it is safe to do so.
  • Implement EAP.
  • Check al fire protection equipment including sprinkler systems, control valves and fire pumps.
  • Remain indoors and identify the safest location to stay during the height of the event.
  • Continuously monitor the property for roof leaks, pipe breaks, fire, or structural damage.
  • During a power loss, shut down electrical switches to prevent system reactivation without the necessary system checks performed.
  • Power outage - fuel all fire pumps, generators, company vehicles and or battery packs at the start of an event.
  • Install hurricane shutters or plywood over windows and doors
  • Remove any and all equipment or finished goods from floor
  • If possible, shut off all utilities to reduce possibility of fire or explosion.
  • Cover all computers, machinery and supplies with tarpaulins or plastic bags

WHAT TO DO AFTER THE EVENT

  • Secure the site and survey the damage. Take pictures of any damage to both the building and contents

  • Evaluate and address all safety hazards (i.e. live wires, leaking gas, flammable liquids, etc.).

  • Repair fire protection system if it has been impaired.

  • Inspect bus bars, conductors, and insulators before starting system. If necessary, have system inspected by an electrician.

  • After site is deemed "safe", call in key personnel and contractors to begin repairs.

  • Take steps to perform temporary repairs (i.e. roofs, clean drains, windows, separate damaged goods from undamaged goods, etc.) to mitigate your damage. If you are able to safely fix or reduce losses, it is important that you expedite any and all situations as soon as possible. Most insurance companies will reimburse the client for any cost that would reduce the insurance company from having to pay out additional or higher claims. (Please note to keep any and all receipts) Please review your insurance policies for the "Expiditing Expenses".

  • Re-start operation if possible.

  • Contact your risk manager, broker and/or insurance company if you have sustained damage. The quicker you can contact your insurance company the more likely that you will be able to reduce the loss time of the claim.

FLOOD PREPARATION WHEN FLOODING IS ANTICIPATED

  • Develop an emergency action plan (EAP) and emergency response team (ERT). As noted above.

  • Inspect all dikes and floodwalls. Ensure all flood doors, gates, and sump pumps are operational.

  • Clear storm drains and check back-flow valves.

  • Repair all building openings.

  • Anchor above ground tanks and drums.

  • Relocate hazardous materials to a pre-designated area.

  • Remove all movable equipment, stock, and vehicles to higher ground.

  • Identify any electrical equipment (i.e. motors, switches, computers, etc.) that can be deactivated and relocated from the impact zone.

  • Schedule a designated time to shut off of gas service, de-energize electrical service, and shut down boilers.

WHAT TO DO AFTER THE FLOOD

  • Secure the site and survey the damage.

  • Evaluate and address all safety hazards (i.e. live wires, leaking gas, flammable liquids, etc.).

  • Remove standing water.

  • Activate fire protection system after inspecting components and contacting the fire department for instructions.

  • Inspect bus bars, conductors, and insulators before starting system. Re-energize system after it has been inspected by an electrician. It should be assumed that any intrusion of water to electrical equipment may have caused serious damage.

  • After site is deemed "safe", call in key personnel and contractors to begin repairs.

  • Contact utility companies for information relative to your access to gas and electrical services.

  • Take steps to perform temporary repairs (i.e. roofs, clean drains, windows, separate damaged goods from undamaged goods, etc.) to mitigate your damage.

  • Retain moisture control contractor to identify and control the spread of moisture, bacteria, mold, etc.

  • Start salvage and cleaning operations immediately.

  • Re-start operation if possible.

  • Document your damages with photos, etc.

  • Contact your risk manager, broker and/or insurance company if you have sustained damage

IMPORTANT PRE & POST DISASTER EVENT INFORMATION CHECKLIST

Broker:

  • Office Phone:

  • Cell Phone:

  • Fax Number:

Property Insurer:

  • Policy Number:

  • Claim Reporting Phone Number:

  • Claim Reporting Fax Number:

If Applicable:

  • Flood Insurer:

  • Flood Policy Number:

  • Claim Reporting Phone Number:

  • Claim Reporting Fax Number:

  • Additional Insurers: (i.e. specific wind policies, wind buy back policies, etc.)

  • Policy Numbers:

  • Claim Reporting Numbers:

Information needed to report a claim:

  • Insurer and policy number

  • Address of loss

  • Brief description of damages and date/time incurred:

  • Contact information for adjuster (provide phone number and cell number if applicable). Always secure a claim/reference number from your insurer when you report your claim.

After the disaster has occurred and the claim is reported:

  • Document your damages with photos, estimates, etc.

  • Whenever possible, make temporary/emergency repairs to mitigate or prevent further damages, as required by your policy.

  • Make sure your adjuster is properly licensed.

  • Hire licensed, insured, and reputable contractors to perform work.

  • Maintain your own copies of all receipts and invoices relating to your loss.

It is important to have a game plan for all emergencies. If you or your organization is uncertain of where to start this process, start by taking the basic points indicated in this article and map out the responsibilities of your organization. This will allow you to better understand your operations and better identify the key people that you will need when an emergency arises. Second, consult outside advice. Whether it's an outside risk consultant or your Insurance Broker, having a second opinion will help to trouble shoot anything your organization might not have anticipated. Third, practice what you preach. While it is important to have a plan, it is only effective if you practice for an emergency. Lastly, understand that no plan is full proof. The greatest preparation can always leave us in an unforeseen circumstance. The key to overcoming this obstacle is being proactive in your preparedness.

Richard Dahm, Jr. is senior risk consultant for the National Hospitality Division of Wells Fargo Insurance Services, Clearwater, Florida. His expertise includes property, restaurant/hotel facilities, and risk management. He holds a BA in management from Eckerd College and an MBA from DeVry University. Richard is a member of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. Mr. Dahm's knowledge, coupled with his professional staff of claims, safety, and marketing professionals enables him to provide hospitality executives with consultation that reduces insurance risks and premiums. Mr. Dahm can be contacted at 800-282-3343 Ext: 5436 or Richard.Dahm@wellsfargo.com Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

OCTOBER: New Developments and Best Practices on Maximizing Revenue Management

Drew  Salapka

Revenue management continues to grow in importance across brands and independents, with hotels of all sizes. Strategies for success abound, but who is executing the strategy at the hotel level? Do the frontline staff members understand what must happen to the rate at their property from day to day, even hour to hour, in order to assure financial success? Drew Salapka maintains that you must conduct training with not only the hotel’s sales they need in order to be successful team, but also the front desk associates. They must be equipped to understand and work with revenue management. READ MORE

Holger  Bause

The evolution of location based services and applications is changing the way that hoteliers think about revenue management. With apps that will initiate contact with the guest, hoteliers will have the ability to fully customize the guest experience, from the time the guest books a room, to after the guest has checked out. There will be a significant impact on “big data”, as hoteliers will have access to their guests’ habits before, during and after their stay. Revenue managers will be able to use this data to personalize offers for guests and increase revenue. Overall, it seems that location based services are very much at home in the hospitality industry, and are one new technology that every hotelier needs to keep a close eye on. READ MORE

Jean Francois Mourier

Anyone who has worked in the hospitality industry for any period of time would know that - in hotels of all sizes - the Director of Revenue Management and the Director of Sales are often completely at odds with one another. No matter how experienced or knowledgeable, there is generally a confrontational relationship even over the simplest pricing issues. If one says to 'offer a discount', the other says to 'raise the rates'. If one suggests a focus on group sales, the other suggests transient sales instead. No matter what the issue, it is often very difficult to get these two employees to see eye-to-eye (or rate-to-rate) and it can create a huge problem for hotels. READ MORE

Mario  Candeias

The hotel sector has been booming, feeding on the rebound of the global economy. Some asset managers and hotel executives in investment forums claim the industry is peaking. Development pace is strong, funding deals seems to be a problem of the past, rolling out new brands seems to be a growing trend. With more disposable income, more information and faster and cheaper capital flows, the speed of change increases, market cycles are shorter, time to market is cut-throat. There are “new kids on the block”, East and West, North and South. Stakes are high. For the army generals (Luxury Hotels), they are higher… READ MORE

Coming Up In The November Online Hotel Business Review


Feature Focus
Hotel Sales & Marketing: The Heart of the Matter
Of all the areas of a hotel’s operation, perhaps none are as crucial, challenging and dynamic as the Sales and Marketing department. In their rapidly evolving world, change is the only constant, driven by technological innovations and the variable demands and expectations of a diverse traveling public. These professionals occupy a vast, multi-channel universe and it is incumbent on them to choose wisely when determining where and how marketing dollars are to be spent to generate revenue from all their multiple constituencies – individuals, corporate guests, groups and wholesalers. Complicated decisions are made and complex plans are devised, based on answers produced from intricate questions – What is the proper balance between Direct vs. Indirect Channel Sales? What kinds of resources are to be devoted to a comprehensive digital marketing program (website, email, social, blog, text and online advertising) on multiple channels (desktop, tablet and smart phone)? What are the elements driving local market conditions and how can local people be attracted and the local competition bested? How does an operation research, analyze and partner with group business generators, meeting planners, wholesalers, incentive travel companies, corporate travel departments, and franchise-sponsored marketing programs? How can effective sales incentive programs be implemented and how can a strategic marketing campaign be deployed? How are new sales leads prospected, qualified, sold and closed? The November Hotel Business Review will examine some of these critical issues and explore what some sales and marketing professionals are doing to address them.