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5 tips to help protect your business from tornadoes

April 29, 2014

How to help minimize injuries, property damage and business losses during tornado season.


As of today, 2014 has already seen 109 tornadoes, with at least 40 of those in back-to-back days, according to the National Weather Service.

Tornadoes and hail storms have already caused $300 million in insured damage North Texas this season, and this week alone saw 30 tornadoes rip through seven states, so if you’re not prepping your business for tornado season, it might be a good time to start.

Check out these five simple tips from Zurich that you can start implementing today:

1) Plan in advance to help protect people.

  • Identify the safest areas in a building so employees know where to congregate in the event of a warning.
  • Designate roles and responsibilities of supervisors and employees, including the appointment of a tornado warden.
  • Practice for an event with tornado drills.
  • Post signs in public buildings to direct customers and visitors to safe areas.

2) Take actions to help minimize property damage.

  • Secure outdoor gear and outbuildings to prevent them from becoming airborne missiles.
  • Reinforce vulnerable areas of a building, such as added supports to garage doors and bracing and strapping the roof.
  • House servers and other vital equipment in protected areas of a building, preferably in tornado-resistant server rooms.
  • For new construction, work with an architect or contractor to incorporate wind mitigation techniques and high wind-rated products.

3) Prepare to help maintain business continuity.

  • Address how employees will communicate, and where they will work.
  • Address how manufacturing and other critical business operations will continue until a damaged building is repaired or replaced.
  • Address how data and information technology will be restored how supply chain logistics will be maintained.

4) Monitor the weather when it’s threatening.

The National Weather Service provides local weather broadcasts over a radio network called NOAA Weather Radio from over 1,000 different transmitters worldwide. These radios are for sale for businesses, and buying an NOAA Tone Alert Weather Radio would help monitor weather.

5) Take warnings seriously and act quickly.

Every warning should be taken with the utmost seriousness, and appropriate measures should be taken immediately to protect lives and property.


Most property insurance policies provide insurance protection for tornado damage to both real and personal property. These policies also may cover costs to remove, clean up and dispose of debris after a tornado. Companies also should consider time element coverages, especially Business Interruption and Extra Expense, which cover lost business profits and the additional expenses to keep a business running while insured property is being restored or replaced. Civil Authority and Ingress/Egress coverages cover lost business profits due to disruptions caused by the inability of customers or employees to access a building.

Even if a company is damaged by a tornado, its business still may be disrupted if suppliers are damaged and unable to deliver goods to the company, or customers are damaged and are unable to receive goods. Contingent Business Interruption coverage can provide insurance protection for this scenario. Companies should work closely with their brokers to identify their tornado-related exposures, and to assure they have enough of the right coverages.

Contact your insurance provider for more information on weather-related insurance.

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