Articles Tagged ‘Disaster recovery’

TEN THINGS A BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU

Friday, April 13th, 2012

We often share how to keep your house and belongings safe from burglaries, fires and natural disasters. As nationally certified home inventory professionals, and victims of two burglaries, we know the value of having a thorough inventory of your house and business contents.

Today we’re sharing tips from a retired Detroit police officer. This is a twist from our normal safety tips, as these are words from burglars themselves.

Here are 10 things a burglar won’t tell you:

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste… and taste means there are nice things inside.
4. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
5. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.
6. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.
7. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.
8. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom – and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there, too.
9. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door – understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.
10. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters (don’t take me up on it).

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC
317-501-6818
cindy@hartmaninventory.com

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS
  • FriendFeed
advertisement

DEALING WITH DISASTER – KEEPING YOUR BUSINESS AFLOAT

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Catastrophes happen on a daily basis, and all companies must have a plan in place to stay in business. You might be a new company, with just a few months under your belt, and having invested your life savings to pursue your entrepreneurial dream. Or possibly you are a well-established, extremely successful business owner. Either of these scenarios – and all those in between – could be at risk of survival if your business is destroyed. Often the destruction happens in seconds. A fire, earthquake, tornado or other disaster can and does happen.

Are you prepared? A business continuity plan is essential. The Houston Area Research Center cites these statistics in support of the investment of time and money into creating a plan:

35–40% of businesses without a continuity plan never reopen when disrupted by a disaster.
Every dollar spent on disaster preparedness saves $7 in recovering disaster related economic losses.

Your ability to reopen quickly is imperative. The sooner you are back in business, the less you’ll suffer from lost revenues. Customers will be retained because they are aware you’re down time will be minimal. And, extremely important, is how this will impact your employees. As a business owner, you’ll want to get them all back to work so they don’t experience a financial hardship for their families.

When creating your business continuity plan, there are many questions to ask and then answer. Here are my top 10:

1. What disasters could we face (natural and man-made)?
2. What operations are critical to open quickly?
3. Do we have a data backup in place to be able to access our records from any location?
4. Who are our key resources (utilities, insurance agent, CPA, etc.)?
5. Who are our key suppliers and do they have a business continuity plan?
6. Do we have a relationship established to ensure we will be one of the first served if we experience a wide-spread disaster (tornado or flood vs. one-building fire)?
7. Where can we set up a temporary location, and who will direct the process?
8. What supplies, inventory and equipment will be needed immediately?
9. Is our employee call chain up to date, and does each employee know what their role is in our disaster plan?
10. Do we have an inventory of all of our assets so we can complete an insurance claim quickly and thoroughly, and maximize the claim for proper financial recovery?

Though this is just the tip of the iceberg in business continuity planning, it is a good start to begin the necessary steps for preparedness. Without a plan, the odds are far greater that you will not re-open if you’re forced to close.

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC
317-501-6818
cindy@hartmaninventory.com

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS
  • FriendFeed
advertisement

The Burden of Proof

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

One of the most common misunderstandings about recovering from a disaster and receiving a proper settlement is that if you have insurance, you’ll just get a check in the mail for the amount of your coverage. Far too many people are unaware of the fact that it is not that easy – it is a long, painstaking process to file a claim if you aren’t prepared ahead of time.

No matter what disaster happens, from a few items stolen or every single item destroyed by a fire or tornado, you will need to provide a business or home inventory to your insurance company. This list is how they know how much to pay you. If you don’t include an item, you won’t receive settlement funds to replace it. This is a daunting task that can take months and months to complete.

A recent article on WSOC TV’s website, titled Items found miles away from tornado’s path, shows how complicated and difficult this can be. The recent tornado in York County, South Carolina, dropped household items miles away. People are recovering them and turning the items into the local fire department. OK, that seems easy enough – you’re thinking … just go over to the fire station and pick up your stuff, right?

The problem is, how do the firemen know who to give the items to? How do they know the items are really yours? “The storage area is being kept locked to keep the items safe. However, as courts get involved in disputes over the ownership of some things, firefighters can’t let anything be taken until legal decisions are made.”

How much easier it would be if these homeowners had an inventory! They could take their photographs and written report (which would include serial numbers and model numbers) to the local authorities to prove it’s theirs.

The term “burden of proof” is often brought up in the court system. It’s also a huge piece of the insurance settlement process. Compiling this information is worth the time and effort now, rather than when you’re sitting on a pile of timber, wondering if you’ll ever recover well enough to replace all that you owned.

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC
317-501-6818
cindy@hartmaninventory.com

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS
  • FriendFeed
advertisement

Struggling in a Struggling Economy

Monday, October 24th, 2011

The world economy is tenuous. The US economy is struggling. Your own personal economy is most likely (at least a little) iffy. Now, more than ever, it’s time to protect what you own.

It’s time to do all you can to ensure that you could recover from a fire, theft, man-made disaster or natural disaster. Recovering financially will allow you to continue living the lifestyle you’re used to. It’s time to have an inventory that will support your insurance claim.

It’s time to invest in a personal property inventory of your home and/or business belongings.

What does a down economy have to do with have a business asset inventory or home inventory? A lot of things are happening today because of the economy:

Arson is more frequent – the fire next door could also jump over to your house – you might not have been the target, but you can easily become the victim of it. Our attorney had this very situation happen to her a couple months ago. Burglaries and thefts are up – job loss is a major reason for this. Insurance fraud is up, which means you’ll probably be asked more questions, show more proof of ownership, and give more details to prove the value of your claimed losses. The cost of goods is increasing, which means it’ll take more money to replace your losses – this means it’s important to know the true value of your personal and business contents. You don’t have the time to do an inventory?! That’s why there are inventory service professionals throughout the US. Investing in a professional inventory is well worth the minimal cost. You’ll get it completed quickly (since you don’t have one yet, you most likely won’t do it yourself). Many provide backup copies in case yours is destroyed or misplaced.

Secure the peace of mind an inventory brings – along with the financial recovery it will help ensure.

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC
317-501-6818
cindy@hartmaninventory.com

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS
  • FriendFeed
advertisement