## Thursday, July 14, 2011

Calculating the appropriate business income limit does not have to be a mind-numbing process. To understand business income coverage limits, you must simply understand that the coverage is almost entirely based on time. The amount of coverage and the correct coinsurance amount can be calculated once a reasonable estimation of the time necessary to return to full operational capability is determined.

Four Key Objectives must be accomplished as quickly as reasonably possible:

1) Rebuild the building, or find a move to an alternate permanent location.
2) Find, purchase, and have operational, replacement machinery and equipment.
3) Replace and/or replenish stock (raw materials for manufacturing operations).
4) Return operations to the same level existing just prior to the loss.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), there is a structure fire ever 4.5 minutes. Approximately 25 percent of businesses never reopen after a shutdown of just 30 or more days, according to the insurance industry. When you include the number of business failures within five years that are directly traceable to the same kind of claim, the number could approach 40 percent.

Business closings as a result of natural disasters also reach 25percent. The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that more than 90 percent of small businesses fail within two years after being struck by a disaster. Combining these two pieces of statistical data, losses can lead to the closure of thousands of business in any given year due to an interruption in operations.

The Calculation

Once total revenues and the total amount of non-continuing expenses (production-related expenses that do not continue during the interruption) is known and applied to an honest worst-case scenario estimate of the time necessary to resume operations, the correct coinsurance percentage can be calculated. Coinsurance percentages, in 10 percent increments, can be from 50 percent to 100 percent- each representing a proportion of one year (50 percent equals six months; 60 percent equals 7.2 months; 100 percent equals 12 months). It is also sometimes possible to obtain a 15-month business-interruption period at a corresponding coinsurance limit of 125 percent.

The Reality

Most businesses that close and never reopen after a catastrophic closure (30 days or more), don’t close because of the lack of building and business personal property coverage. They close because there is no money coming in the door. Few businesses can remain viable without a source of income. Many business expenses continue even during the period of temporary closing.

Obviously, the optimal goal is to have the building, contents and business income all properly insured. Ultimately, only the business can provide these figures, but this simple approach can make this exercise much easier. Once you accept the reality that loss of income is as important to the insure as insuring your property, we can help guide you to the proper coverage to further protect your business.