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The Disaster Box

You can insure existing assets - your building, inventory, receivables and lost profits. You can insure your life and the lives of your key employees. You can insure much of what exists today….but you can’t insure your business against a disaster.  

What you can’t insure is the future upside that you have worked to create. This is the real value of your business, but a disaster could sweep away the worth of everything except solid, tangible assets that actuaries can evaluate. . 

Insurance simply isn’t available in the area of intangible assets and it is not something that you can lay off on others as an insurable risk. It is up to you to take whatever steps necessary to protect the intangibles of your investment and that’s where the Disaster Box comes in.  

Think of it this way. If you pulled up in front of your building one morning and it wasn’t there any more, what would you need to continue your business? 

There are all kinds of outsourced disaster solutions available in the market, and we’ll assume, for the purpose of this exercise that all your data is solidly backed up on reliable media and is easily accessible. Furthermore, we’ll assume that you have somewhere to go to run your operation and all that side of things is taken care of. 

The question left unanswered in many disaster plans is what are the important documents and pieces of information that you will need to sustain operations in the 72 hours after disaster strikes. Identify those and keep then in a Disaster Box stored offsite and you start to improve your chances of survival.   

The box should contain both immediate data needs (data that is stored in your system that you will need immediately to get your operation up and running) and paper based information (everything that is not stored or cannot be downloaded from your restored computer data).  

Here is a checklist of items to consider putting in your Disaster Box: 

Immediate Data Needs

·          Contact information for people you may need to call immediately – staff, customers, vendors etc

·          Phone company information so that you can arrange for phones to be forwarded elsewhere to ensure continuity

·          Details of local fire department and local water restoration services and a copy of the procedures that need to be followed if their services are needed along with details of any guarantee of priority service that you have been able to secure.   

·          Details of any outsourced solutions you have identified. If you have a contract with a Disaster Recovery facility this is the place to keep it 

·          Insurance broker information so that you can set the claim wheels in motion

·          Up to date list of all computer software and all relevant serial numbers

Paper-Based Information

·          Financial records. Info from Banks etc

·          Copies of declaration pages of all insurance policies in force

·          Copies of shareholder and partnership agreements

·          Video of office environment immediately prior to disaster so that you can prove to the insurance company that the fixtures and fittings existed

·          Building Leases

·          Supply of collateral materials that will tide you over until they can be reprinted

·          A small supply of stationery items – Checks, deposit slips, letterhead, invoice blanks

·          Fee schedule

·          Other important documents

The Disaster Box