There are many reasons the power could go out at your jewelry business that don’t involve crime. High winds from a storm, a traffic accident, a planned outage or simply the handy work of a critter chewing on power lines can all cause power outages and have the potential to disrupt your business.
While power outages are a common occurrence, they are, for the most part, unexpected and can be very costly – especially if you don’t have business insurance.
Here are a few steps you can take before, during and after a power outage to protect your jewelry business.
Before an Outage
- Create a business continuity plan and include power outages as a potential disruption. Share the plan with your employees and update it annually. Invest in backup power like a generator or battery. This is a worthwhile expense to keep your jewelry business up and running during an outage. Prepare an emergency kit that includes flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies and other necessities. Keep it in a central location and make employees aware of its location. Inspect your electrical box on a regular basis and place a secure lock on the outside. If you suspect any tampering, report it to police and the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, even if the power is not cut off and no burglary occurred. Keep in mind that fire regulations vary in different jurisdictions regarding placement of locks. If you need more guidance, contact your local fire department. Back up and encrypt your data to an external hard drive or the cloud. Keep copies of your records at an off-site location.
- Confirm that your burglar alarm system has operational line security to protect your business if the power goes out or is cut intentionally. Update your call list so the alarm system notification can be responded to promptly by employees who will be available, including during vacations, weekend and holiday nights. Protect your jewelry business with a business insurance policy.
During an Outage
- Lock your doors and move as much of your inventory as possible into a locked safe or vault.
- Do not leave items in plain sight or simply cover your showcases as this signals that something valuable is being hidden. Arrange for secure transport of your inventory to a safe storage location or transport your stock to the nearest bank safe if it’s safe to do. If you are a Jewelers Mutual® Group policyholder, they will cover the transport fees for services with Malca-Amit. Call your utility company and report the outage. If you feel there is an immediate danger to you, your customers or employees, call 911. Turn off and disconnect business equipment and small appliances. If electronic equipment remains powered up when the power goes out, it could cause a power surge when power is restored, putting you right back in the dark.
After an Outage
- Test the power first by turning on a light before fully restoring all equipment and appliances. Then, only power up after 15 minutes of confirming that power has been restored. Turn off your generator and safely store it. Determine your losses, if any, and follow the correct procedures to file a claim with your insurance company.
Make sure your business has adequate insurance coverage. Don’t assume you’ll be covered for any peril that threatens your business just because you have insurance. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are my inventory figures up to date?
- Is my building and business personal property valued correctly? Could I be liable for damage to a neighbor’s property, too? Will I be covered for any amount of lost earnings during the time when my business is closed due to the disruption?
The best way to make sure you’re properly covered is to work with a Jewelers Mutual Group agent — an expert in jewelers block insurance.
Interested in other tips, tools, and techniques aimed at helping you run a more secure and successful jewelry business? Browse more of our Business Tips.