By Laura Tiffany
The ability to plan ahead is important for any business owner. It's impossible to predict whether your business will be hit with a lawsuit, an earthquake or a robbery, but preparing for the worst may be the best thing you can do for your business.
Risk management--preparing a plan to handle potential losses--can save your business time and money by reducing the recovery period after a disaster. To help you evaluate your particular business's risks and formulate a plan to manage them, the Chubb Group of Insurance Managers in Warren, New Jersey, offers a free, 86-page booklet called The Rewards of Managing Risk: A Guide for Entrepreneurs and Managers.
Risk management involves three basic steps: identifying your exposure to risk, developing a plan to prevent and minimize losses, and purchasing insurance to offset your losses and help your company recover. "Quick recovery is important in today's highly competitive environment where closing your doors for repairs can erode your customer base--and your competitive edge," say the guide's editors. To help you prepare for a quick recovery, the guide helps you identify many risks, including customer and employee accidents, professional-error and product-malfunction lawsuits, and property damage from natural disasters, theft and equipment breakdowns.
After you've assessed your risk exposure using the guide's checklists, you can make repairs and take actions to minimize possible risks. To help you, The Rewards of Managing Risks guides you through many hazardous areas, step by step. If the floor of your business is slippery when wet, invest in a doormat and safety runners so customers won't fall. Is your business in an area prone to earthquakes, floods or brush fires? Make sure your important documents are stored in fireproof, waterproof containers, and keep backup copies at a second location. If a risk becomes a reality, do you know who to call after 911? Keep your insurance company's phone number handy, and invest in a camera to take pictures of the accident site immediately.
Finally, make sure you have the correct insurance for the types of risk your business faces. The Rewards of Managing Risk offers advice on which insurance policies you'll need to purchase and what to look for when shopping for a policy.
To order the booklet, call (800) 36-CHUBB. To access it via the Internet, visit Chubb's Web site at http://www.chubb.com
Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, fax: (908) 704-6095