Hurricane Recovery and Disaster Relief: Is Your Business Eligible?

Hurricane recovery begins right after the last raindrop falls.
Hurricane recovery begins right after the last raindrop falls.

What do Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Michael all have in common? Aside from the obvious — they're hurricanes — each reached Category 5 strength. That's the strongest intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Energy Scale, where sustained winds reach 157 miles per hour or higher.

Should your business be affected by such a storm — as thousands of businesses were when these hurricanes struck Florida (Irma), the Carolinas (Matthew) and parts of Georgia (Michael), among other places — it's not a matter of if your business will be in need of hurricane relief, but how much.

With the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season approaching its busiest period, it's important to get your hurricane recovery questions answered now so you're not left scrambling when disaster strikes. Should you be in need of assistance, Stone Claims Group will be there to lend and guide you through the insurance claims process.

How do I know if my business is eligible for hurricane recovery federal assistance?

If you live in Florida — or really anywhere else in the U.S. — you're well aware of the states of emergency that leadership can declare before, during or after a storm. There's a reason for those declarations, aside from warning the public to seek shelter. They enable individuals and businesses to take advantage of government assistance. The same is true for federal emergencies and disasters, which are issued by the President.

This isn't free money, however. Made possible through the U.S. Small Business Administration, low-interest disaster assistance loans are available to any small business owner that's economically affected by a natural catastrophe — such as hurricanes — when business insurance isn't sufficient to cover the cost of the repairs. Here are a few of the primary qualifications you need to satisfy to be considered eligible; this list is not exhaustive:

  • You operate a small business, which typically means you have 500 or fewer employees
  • Your business is located in the U.S., or District of Columbia
  • The losses you sustained weren't sufficiently addressed through your business insurance or business interruption policy
  • Your business is located in a disaster zone

More than anything else, though, eligibility is dependent on if your part of the country is a current disaster area. The U.S. Small Business Administration maintains a website that can help you see if you are in one at the present time. You may be eligible and not even realize it.  

Disaster loans can be used for a variety of aspects relevant to your business' day-to-day affairs, such as working capital and operating expenses that you could have taken care of yourself had the disaster not taken place.

Business owners have submitted millions of applications for disaster recovery over the years. For Hurricane Katrina alone, nearly 319,000 were processed in just the state of Mississippi, never mind the other affected states like Louisiana and Florida. Of these, approximately 45% were approved, according to a study conducted by researchers from Purdue University.

What should I expect if I'm in need of hurricane recovery federal assistance?

Generally speaking, it depends mainly on just how many organizations were adversely affected. As you might expect, the more that are, the longer the wait. Like justice, the wheels of government processes notoriously grind slowly so you'll need to be patient both for the decision on approval and the distribution of funds. Of course, the latter is contingent on the former.

What's the best way to prepare so the need for hurricane recovery is minimized?

The extent of damage your business sustains is largely influenced by the size of the storm, but you can mitigate the aftereffects by the manner in which you prepare. Following our tips below is a great place to start:

How do I prove damage was caused by a hurricane?

No matter what hurricane recovery you require, you'll need to establish that the hurricane is actually what did the damage. This is just one of the ways the public insurance adjusters at Stone Claims Group can provide assistance. Through our preliminary commercial property inspection services, we can connect the dots to the hurricane being the source of whatever is missing, broken or destroyed. We use patented Matterport technology to get detailed photography that is not available through traditional satellite imagery.  

This is truly just the starting point of how Stone Claims Group assists with hurricane recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about who we are, how we can help and the areas we serve.

Getting you what’s FAIR.

Any views and opinions expressed in this blog are those only of the author of same and may not be imputed to Stone Claims, its current or former agents, or their assigns and successors. Under no circumstances shall Stone Claims be held responsible or liable for same including, but not limited to, for any errors or omissions in the content of same.