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Hurricane Ian today

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on September 28, 2022, and again in South Carolina on September 30, 2022. The storm traveled across the Southeastern United States leaving a trail of destruction for homeowners, small business owners, and tourists. The total impact of the storm is still being assessed, but as of Monday, October 3, 2022, there have been 68 deaths reported in Florida, North Carolina, and Cuba.

Throughout Florida, there are still about 620,000 homes and businesses with no power, which is only a fraction of the 2.6 million power outages reported late last week. There has been severe flooding from heavy rainfall and dangerous storm surges reported in parts of all impacted states, and the flooding is expected to continue as rivers and other waterways rise. Residents and business owners are continuing to be rescued by volunteers and Emergency response teams, and those that are safe are searching for disaster relief options.

Resources for small business owners impacted by Hurricane Ian

If your small business was affected by Hurricane Ian, you’re probably wondering what to do next. While there’s no easy way to navigate the rebuilding process after a natural disaster, we’ve compiled a list of Hurricane Ian resources small business owners can use to start the disaster recovery process.

Report damage

The state of Florida continues to monitor the damage caused by Hurricane Ian. In an effort to be able to provide effective assistance to small business owners, the state is asking business owners to complete the Business Damage Assessment Survey for Hurricane Ian. The survey allows authorities to assess the business needs in each community. After completing the survey, you will be contacted by federal, state, or local governments if you indicate that you’d like more information or request special services.

Insurance claims

Contact your business insurance carrier as soon as possible to file a claim regarding any damage from Hurricane Ian. While most comprehensive business insurance policies do not have a separate policy for natural disasters, damage from hurricanes is covered by a combination of flood insurance, windstorm coverage, and your business’s property insurance. For small businesses in Florida, you may also have a policy or coverage called, “wind, hurricane, and hail,” which will cover most of the damage from Hurricane Ian. Since hurricane damage, including loss of revenues, may be covered by multiple policies, be sure to contact all the insurance carriers you work with.

The insurance claim process can be long and stressful, but follow these steps to help expedite your insurance reimbursement:

  • Contact insurance carriers directly
  • Take photos or videos of all damage
  • Create an inventory list, that includes any business equipment that was damaged
  • Keep a detailed claim log to keep track of claim forms and conversations
  • Meet with the insurance adjuster and contact a public adjuster if you have concerns
  • Get three repair estimates, but beware of fraudulent contractors

Tax relief

Small business owners that are trying to recover from damages caused by Hurricane Ian may also be concerned about how they are going to organize and pay their 2021 extended federal income taxes or their 2022 quarterly tax payments. However, the IRS has issued an extension for Florida business owners affected by the storm. The press release from the IRS on September 29, 2022, stated that “Individuals and households affected by Hurricane Ian that reside or have a business anywhere in the state of Florida qualify for tax relief.” While the tax deadline extension automatically applies to small businesses in Florida, business owners in other areas that were affected by Hurricane Ian can call 866-562-5227 to request the same extensions. 

The filing and payment deadline was extended to February 15, 2023, for any payments or returns that were due between September 23, 2022, and February 14, 2023. Small business owners in Florida that had filed an extension to file their 2021 income tax returns no longer need to comply with the October 17, 2022 deadline, but the 2021 tax payments due on April 18, 2022, are not included in the extra extension. The February 2023 extended deadline also applies to the quarterly estimated tax payments that would be due on January 17, 2023, and the payroll and excise tax returns that would need to be completed on October 31, 2022, and January 31, 2023.

FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is a valuable resource for businesses recovering from Hurricane Ian. Their website offers information about local resources and funding options.  FEMA offers disaster assistance to both businesses and individuals, which can be accessed by applying at www.disasterassistance.gov. Registering with FEMA is a required step for small business owners to access the SBA disaster loans and other assistance programs. The FEMA website and mobile app also contain many links for concerned business owners, Hurricane Ian FAQs, and brochures in multiple languages explaining how to navigate the FEMA process after the hurricane.

SBDC

The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is also providing assistance to businesses impacted by Hurricane Ian that need help applying for financial assistance or other hurricane relief options. There is no cost to entrepreneurs that use the SBDC services, like those available through the Mobile Assistance Centers (MAC). The center’s mobile assistance vehicles bring laptops, printers, internet access, and other resources into the communities severely impacted so business owners can start the process of applying for relief efforts, like insurance claims, FEMA assistance, and SBA loans on secure websites. In addition to the Mobile Assistance Centers deployed by the SBDC, the center also works with the U.S. Small Business Administration to set up Business Recovery Centers in other affected communities.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross disaster response team offers relief to those affected by Hurricane Ian. The organization helps homeowners, renters, and business owners get connected to necessities like food, water, shelter, and healthcare providers. Their website offers several tips on staying safe during and after a hurricane and special resources for those with disabilities. Since Thursday, September 29, the Red Cross and their partners have been able to set up 100 shelters throughout Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Other local resources

Government agencies, local communities, and business development entities are working hard to provide all of the necessary resources to those most affected by Hurricane Ian. In addition to financial assistance and federal support, there are several organizations available for those that suffered losses.

Post-hurricane safety

Cleaning up the property that your home or business sits on can be an overwhelming task after a hurricane. While the worst of Ian is over, it is important for homeowners and entrepreneurs to stay safe and follow guidelines for debris removal, generators, and standing water.  Before beginning any sort of clean-up efforts, be sure to monitor the weather in your area.

Debris removal

If the property surrounding your business or the interior of the building, you lease or own is cluttered with debris. Follow these safety guidelines when beginning clean-up.

  • Check for electrical hazards and avoid any water, tools, or branches that are touching a live power line.
  • Utility lines, like cable and internet wires, may be tangled in broken branches. Assume all wires are live.
  • Beware of uprooted or broken branches when cleaning around and beneath them.
  • Check for pick-up dates and accepted items on this debris removal list, published by Fox35 in Orlando on social media.

Generator Safety

Many small businesses in Florida are still without power. Some of the most impacted regions include Tallahassee, Sarasota, Puerto Rico, Naples, and Fort Meyers. Businesses, homes, and First Responders are relying on generators to keep their perishable items fresh and provide power during their recovery efforts. When operating a portable generator, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Do not run a portable generator indoors.
  • Check the wattage of powered devices so the generator’s capacity is not exceeded.
  • Don’t connect a generator directly to the electrical box.
  • Don’t refuel your generator while it is running.

Standing water

Try to drain standing water inside or around your business’s property. Standing water provides a breeding ground for mosquitos and creates a danger for generators and fallen power lines. Standing water also presents a threat of injury because there is often debris hiding in the water. Contact the local water and sewer companies for assistance with excessive standing water.

Financing options for small business owners

Business owners that have suffered property damage or have been unable to open for business are seeking financial assistance to repair and rebuild their companies. While a lot of storm damage is covered by insurance, insurance assessments and payouts can take months to be approved and paid. If you are concerned about the financial impact of Hurricane Ian on your business, consider learning about these small business loan options.

SBA Business Physical Disaster Loan

Physical disaster loans give business owners access to funding to repair and replace property that was damaged during a major disaster. Property may include real estate, machinery, vehicles, and appliances.

Residents and businesses impacted by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico are able to apply for a loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). They are accepting applications for physical disaster loans through November 21, 2022

Small business owners in Florida that suffered losses during Hurricane Ian are also eligible to apply for physical disaster loans with the SBA. Currently, the deadline for Hurricane Ian loan applications is November 28, 2022.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

EIDL are low-interest, long-term financing options for small business owners and nonprofit organizations that are unable to meet their necessary financial obligations during the disaster recovery process. The funds may be used to make mortgage payments and pay operating expenses, like utility bills and payroll costs.

Small businesses that incurred economic injury during Hurricane Fiona can apply for the SBA EIDL through June 21, 2023.

Businesses impacted by Hurricane Ian can apply for EIDL loans through June 29, 2023.

Bottom Line

Since President Joe Biden officially declared Florida a state of emergency on September 24, countless news releases have attempted to bring relevant information to small business owners and homeowners in the affected areas. The amount of information following Hurricane Ian can be overwhelming, but small business owners can use this list of resources as a reference. The best place to start recovery efforts for a business owner is by registering for disaster assistance with FEMA. Your individual business needs may also include exploring financing options. Reach out to Biz2Credit today if you have questions about the SBA loan options available or other small business loans.

How to get instant access to financing




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