A new survey indicates that Florida business owners are unprepared for hurricane season.
The poll, taken amid the COVID-19 pandemic by Berger Singerman law firm, sampled more than 2,000 business owners about their potential readiness for a natural disaster.
More than 50% of the business owners sampled do not have business interruption service and an additional 30% don’t know if they have it. More than 50% answered that maintaining operations was their top priority, and less than 20% prioritized insurance policies.
More than 60,000 claims have been made for compensation for damages from Hurricane Irma, and 75% of the respondents to the Berger Singerman survey did not know that there is a Sept. 10, 2020 deadline to claim losses from that natural disaster.
“Losses from business interruption can snowball after a hurricane, leading to costs exceeding incidents that owners are more commonly insured against like property damage,” said Gina Clausen Lozier, partner at Berger Singerman and a leader of the firm’s insurance practice. “When factored against the pandemic’s financial burdens, having no policy protections against further disruptions could be catastrophic for some businesses and their employees.”
Berger Singerman conducted the survey to help educate businesses across the state about their insurance policies and to provide information about how to prepare for storm season.
Hurricane Irma caused widespread damage throughout Florida and the Caribbean, and there are many property owners still waiting for compensation to repair their homes.
“Irma will be a significant test for the three-year provision of Florida’s windstorm statute and the numbers show there’s room for improvement,” said Clausen Lozier. “With claims still climbing and our survey indicating many are unaware of the deadline, state lawmakers should consider giving residents and business owners more time, especially during the pandemic.”