How to be Prepared for a Natural Disaster
A natural disaster can creep up on you like an unexpected visitor over the holidays. Small businesses can often face the brunt of mother nature, and owners can lose their life’s work overnight. Whether it’s flooding, a bush fire, or even a damaging storm, the impacts can be detrimental.
But owners can prepare by developing a recovery plan, including getting assistance when dealing with your tax affairs. We’ve put together a few steps to help you and your business get started in the unfortunate event disaster strikes.
1. Reach out to your employees
The welfare of you and your team following a natural disaster is the most important step, as, without them, you’d have no business. Reach out and make sure everyone is okay. Next, gather the troops. Anyone who can help is ideal, but also consider that many employees feel stretched or overworked following a natural disaster, so factor this into your recovery plan. Offer flexible hours to those who need it, and even time off for those dealing with home issues.
2. Contact your insurance company
Calling your insurer as soon as possible is important as they will tell you what they need to process your claim and get you back on your feet quickly. You should contact your insurance company before you start cleaning as an assessor may want to inspect the property. Always listen to your insurer’s requests, as any unauthorised repairs may not be covered. You may also have to take steps to minimise loss, such as moving undamaged items out of the way. If you have any questions about your policy, you can contact the Insurance Council of Australia (we recommend keeping a record of their disaster hotline – 1800 734 621).
3. Perform a damage assessment
Once you know what your insurance company needs, grab your phone or camera and take photos of any damage. List all destroyed and damaged items but be sure not to touch anything before contacting your insurer. Also, we recommend holding onto as much evidence as possible, including damaged materials or supplies. The insurance company will then be able to provide a timeline for processing the claim.
4. Make a list
Note down anything that survived the disaster including equipment, supplies, stock, etc. that can help the business reopen. Once you have spoken to your insurer, move these to a secure place to speed up the recovery process.
5. Contact relevant government agencies
In Australia, there are several options when it comes to getting support from the government, including the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements which provides urgent financial assistance. Reach out as soon as you can for additional support in getting back on track.
6. Salvage business records
Collect all salvageable business records, including those off-site, while assistance is available for any damaged records. You will also be able to take extra time to lodge, pay and respond.
We can help you if you’ve lost your tax file number, unable to produce documents, or cannot pay super for your employees. We can also help you lodge any statements required to get an extension on tax obligations.
We recommend talking to your accountant for assistance – click here if you need to contact us.