Are you prepared for a disaster?

BUSINESS owners are being warned to make sure their business recovery strategy has been reviewed and updated to best protect them from the impacts of natural disasters.

Recent research by the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has shown that many Queensland businesses are still significantly impacted by the natural disasters of earlier this year.

In the report, Six Months on from Queensland's Natural Disasters, CCIQ indicated that three out of five businesses which made an insurance claim are still waiting for the claim to be settled.

BDO Partner Marita Corbett said all Queensland businesses needed to proactively review their insurance, financing and operational systems with summer now here.

"For many businesses waiting more than six months for an insurance claim to be settled could be the last straw," Ms Corbett said.

"The aftermath of the floods and Cyclone Yasi demonstrated that many Queensland businesses were unclear as to what aspects of their business were covered by insurance.

"Business owners need a clear understanding of their insurance cover, both for physical assets and any loss of profits or business interruption.

"If you are not 100% sure, now is the time to contact your insurance broker or insurer. Don't wait until you have to make a claim."

According to Ms Corbett, business recovery plans should be reviewed on a continual basis to reflect ongoing changes in internal and external environments.

"Many businesses reviewed their business recovery plans directly after the floods but probably haven't looked at them since," she said.

"Simple elements can bring down a plan if not continually updated and tested.

"Businesses need to update their database of contact numbers of key personnel, particularly in a mobile workforce.

"Do they know the location of all their critical contracts for services that may be relied upon during the disaster and recovery phases?

"Testing strategies in simulated environments can provide a valuable insight into how they may perform in a real-life situation.

"There is a cost involved in testing your business recovery plan. But what might be the cost to a business if its recovery plan remains untested and then fails during a time of disaster?"

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