Business tips

Business recovery centers

Look for county “emergency operating areas” where various agencies offer help to get businesses back on their feet, including loan information, unemployment compensation and business counseling. County business development agencies will also offer business assistance centers:

Palm Beach County Business Development Board: (561) 835-1008

Business Development Board of Martin County: (772) 221-1380

Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County: (772) 879-4144

Emergency loans

The state’s emergency bridge-loan program, authorized by the governor after a storm, offers quick cash to small business owners to help them repair their shops and reopen while waiting for insurance claims and loans to be processed.

Businesses can get up to $25,000 interest-free for 90- or 180-day terms. Local loan committees process applications and get money into business owners’ hands typically in a few days.

Federal disaster loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers low-interest disaster loans to help firms and nonprofit groups recover after a storm.

The loan amount and terms depend on the size of the business, the extent of losses and ability to repay.

For details, go to www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance

To apply, register with FEMA at (800) 621-3362.

How one local employer prepares for storm season

  • NCCI Holdings Inc.

    The Boca-based company, which has almost 1,000 people, is the nation’s largest data providers for worker’s compensation insurance. Following is a list of tactics that NCCI uses to prepare for or after a hurricane:

    Window coverings: Pre-cut pieces of acrylic glass are in supply to cover windows of they are broken from a storm.

    Storm catcher system: NCCI has a wind abatement system installed in the front and back of the building. It is a screen that cuts 90 percent of the wind and can be raised and lowered as needed.

    Infrared camera: NCCI has a special infrared camera that is used after a storm to detect water moisture or leakage not seen by the human eye.

    Generators: NCCI has very large generators that run the entire building in a power outage.

    Fuel supply storage system: Huge tanks of fuel for generators is supplied on NCCI grounds.

    Cots and hurricane supplies: NCCI can house 10-12 people for three weeks at the building if there is a storm.

    Communications: A 1-800 employee phone line for information is created for before and after a storm.

    Plasma TVs: Provide vital information during time leading up to storm.

    Town hall: NCCI has a virtual town hall meeting where employees can watch segments on preparing work and home for a hurricane.

    Information technology preparations: The NCCI IT team goes to Colorado once a year to test the emergency backup system by turning off the entire computer system in Boca Raton and transfering it instantly to Colorado for backup. This is done if a hurricane knocks out the power and/or Internet.

    Department drills: These are done in every department at NCCI to prepare for storms.

    Source: NCCI Holdings, Inc.

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