Hurricane Ian will go down in history as one of Florida’s deadliest and costliest storms of all time. The path of destruction it left in its path was devastating. In addition to washed out and flooded homes, businesses are shutdown, and financial burdens are ever growing. Day upon day of closed doors, few or no customers and clients, and displaced team members could drain business finances in a hurry. Examples include law firms, real estate companies, medical practices, and retailers.
Businesses whose livelihoods depend on a steady flow of client work may have experienced physical damage from Ian but may also be suffering a huge drop-off in revenue as few billable hours or receipts are generated due to clients and employees losing their homes, pervasive flooding, loss of power and obliterated brick and mortar locations.
For those without business interruption insurance, the prospects of recouping lost revenue and extra expenses are slim. For those with coverage, it is time to file a claim. The process is straightforward provided you quickly document what you have lost and what you have spent because of the storm.
Business interruption insurance is an endorsement of a general business or property policy. Thus, the loss of income must be related to damage or destruction of the property. That does not mean your office had to be a total loss, just unusable due to loss of services such as electrical, water, sewer, internet, telecom and other primary utilities and services. Coverage for closings ordered by civil authorities in coastal and low-lying areas may also qualify.
Insurance carriers will send you a check based on what you would have earned had Ian not knocked out your operation, plus operating expenses, and extra expenses related to the storm minus any earnings. Organize a team to collect financial information and work with your accountant to total and document the claim.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It’s not. To start, contact your accountant to gather tax returns, audited or compiled financial statements, and other important financial backup going back up to five years (to establish history).
Next, collect receipts for extra expenses related to the hurricane. These include extra pay for employees who helped the practice or business resume operations, repairs to facilities, the cost of operating out of a temporary location, and travel and lodging costs for displaced staff. And yes, accounting fees for preparing a claim are part of the total.
A CPA who specializes in business interruption and litigation support services can assist you calculate your business’ lost profits – in other words, profits the business would have generated but-for Ian. They will work with your counsel to provide the analysis and documentation necessary to support your claim and if necessary, defend their analysis should a mediation or trial take place. Your chances of a successful outcome will be strengthened by utilizing a professional who concentrates in business loss calculations.
If your business has been negatively impacted by Hurricane Ian, give us a call today to set up an initial consultation to ultimately get reimbursed for your business losses by the insurance company. Contact us at (954) 236-8600 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.