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Severe weather in 2011 resulted in a U.S. record 14 billion-dollar disasters, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Meanwhile, natural disasters accounted for more than $107 billion in insured losses globally, while the catastrophic disasters resulted in more than $434 billion in economic losses, according to an annual report by Aon Benfield.
Severe weather can be particularly disastrous for businesses. In fact, one out of four businesses that close during a disaster do not reopen, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety(IBHS).
In preparation for severe weather in 2012, CFO Magazine has put together five steps that business owners can take to make sure their business can survive the next catastrophe.
After checking out the five steps below, determine your risks by using the IBHS ZIP Code tool at, where users can enter their ZIP Code and get a customized list of regional risks and property protection solutions. In addition, business owners can build a continuity plan by using the IBHS Open for Business toolkit.

Five Steps to Preparing your Business
1. The Really Big Picture
Building a continuity plan can prevent costly business interruptions, allowing your company to respond and recover after a disaster. CFO Magazine notes that today’s leading companies are integrating people, processes, data, and physical infrastructure into a holistic approach to business continuity.
2. Public-Private Collaboration
Check with local emergency officials to determine what your community has planned in case of an emergency. According to CFO Magazine, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created a division devoted to public-private partnerships, delivering useful resources and tools in preparing for disaster.
3. Shoring Up Supply Chains
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Build a list of critical inventory and contact information by using the IBHS Open for Business toolkit. Shoring up supply chains not only means raw materials, according to CFO Magazine, it also includes managed data centers or technology providers.
4. Virtually Bulletproof
Are your vital records safe? How about the computer equipment and software? For many, virtual machines have allowed critical business servers and documents to remain safe during a disaster, according to CFO Magazine.
5. All Together Now
Build a list of employee contacts using IBHS’ Open for Business toolkit. This will allow your company to keep track of all employees’ well-being and will make it an efficient and collective effort when rebuilding. In addition, delivering timely and useful information during an emergency can help you maintain your customers and let them know the status of your business. According to CFO Magazine, social media has allowed for communication between employees and customers to quickly and effectively share critical information.