It’s not unusual to turn on the news and see stories of natural disasters in every corner of the globe. Whether it’s a typhoon in Japan, a severe drought in Ethiopia, an Earthquake in Italy, a mudslide in Brazil, or even a wildfire here in the U.S., the Earth is always groaning against the grain of humanity.
Unfortunately, incidents like these are on the rise. Since the 1960s, the world has seen a tenfold increase in natural disasters. In the year 1960, scientists recorded 39 such incidents. In 2019, that number skyrocketed to 396 natural disasters across the globe.
2005 recorded the largest number of natural disasters ever, with 442 incidents. Collectively, those incidents caused more than 90,000 deaths and compelled another 160 million people to seek immediate assistance.
And the reason for the rise in natural disasters is no secret. Since 1980, the oceanic temperature has increased at nearly twice the normal rate. And since 2005, the Earth has experienced its ten warmest years on record; seven of the 10 occurred since 2014.
Warmer temperatures in the ocean and on land create instability in the Earth’s atmosphere. The excess heat makes the land more vulnerable to drought and wildfires while fueling extreme precipitation events.
How Should You Prepare for a Natural Disaster?
Clearly, it’s not a matter of if a natural disaster will affect your small business; it’s when. And when a storm comes, will you be ready?
The best way to prepare for a natural disaster is to protect your business and its assets with insurance. Getting small business insurance in New Jersey is an absolute must, no matter what natural disasters occur. Here are a few options to consider:
- General Liability Insurance: This is an excellent blanket-style policy to cover everything from property damage to an employee getting hurt on your property during a natural disaster. It will also cover lawsuits arising as the result of a natural disaster or an injured employee’s medical expenses.
- Workers’ Compensation: In New Jersey, workers’ compensation insurance is required by law. And this is a good thing because workers’ compensation is an added layer of coverage designed to protect your employees and business. It can cover everything from medical expenses to lost wages, survivor benefits, and retraining. In addition, anything can happen during a natural disaster, and workers’ compensation helps with those what-if moments.
- Commercial Auto Insurance: Commercial auto insurance is a must if you have any fleet vehicles. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey’s worst hurricane on record, an astounding 250,000 flooded vehicle claims were made in the U.S.
- Commercial Property Insurance: You need this no matter where you do business. Commercial property insurance covers everything from your physical structure (rented or owned), equipment, inventory, and even income disruptions. If you want to be prepared for the next natural disaster, you need commercial property insurance.
There are other types of policies you can get to prepare for the next big storm, but these coverage options are a great start. In fact, you should have most of these policies no matter what types of natural disasters occur in your area.
What Natural Disasters Occur in New Jersey?
The northeast region, specifically New Jersey, is unique when it comes to land area. In addition to having a vast expanse of agricultural regions, Jersey also has plenty of woodlands, large urban centers, some grasslands, and a coastline. Collectively, these diverse areas make for some interesting outcomes during natural disasters. Here’s what you can expect in New Jersey.
Severe Storms and Tornadoes
Jersey can pack some powerful thunderstorms. We’re not talking about a few sprinkles and a rumble of thunder, either. New Jersey’s position on the coast makes it vulnerable to severe and destructive storms.
Most areas get about 25 to 30 thunderstorms per year. These rarely turn into tornadoes, although it isn’t unheard of. About five tornadoes touch down in New Jersey every year, although they’re typically very weak and can’t move far due to the state’s topography.
On August 7, 2019, New Jersey recorded its worst storm ever. What began as a typical thunderstorm grew into winds strong enough to rip bricks from buildings, uproot trees, and take down critical infrastructure. A few tornadoes touched down, and meteorologists recorded inch-sized hail, too.
Hurricanes and Flooding
New Jersey is also very prone to hurricanes and flooding. Even when hurricanes don’t touch down on its coast, the state often feels the effects of hurricanes making landfall elsewhere through heavy rain and flooding events.
In the last decade, 25 hurricanes made landfall in New Jersey. But because of the ongoing climate crisis, that number is expected to rise in the 2020s. And when hurricanes happen, whether in New Jersey or some other state, they almost always bring flooding.
Unfortunately, New Jersey is particularly vulnerable. With a mean elevation of 250 feet above sea level, much of the state is low-lying. Sea levels are also rising on the Jersey coast, making the state even more susceptible to destructive flooding events. Scientists predict an additional 33,000 to 58,000 New Jersey buildings will be at risk of flooding by 2050.
Every year, New Jersey gets about 22.6 inches of snow. And every year or so, that snow is delivered in the form of a blizzard. Although blizzards aren’t an annual guarantee, they do happen, and when one hits, you better be ready.
Blizzards cause infrastructure disruptions and power outages and produce unsafe driving conditions. Although they happen much less frequently than storms and floods, they are a concern for any business owner in New Jersey.
Yes, landslides! Portions of New Jersey are known for landslides. And when they happen, they cause a great deal of damage. Landslides are caused by heavy rain and flood events, rapid snowmelt, earthquakes, and human activity. While earthquakes aren’t much of a factor in this state, the other causes of landslides most certainly are.
The worst New Jersey landslide happened in April 2007 after a large amount of winter snow melted. The slide crashed into homes and apartment buildings, displacing at least 50 families and causing a highway accident.
You’ve worked hard to build your small business, and the last thing you want is for a natural disaster to wash it all away. Know your risks and protect your assets with the right insurance to keep your small business running strong.