Policies & Issues

5 Safety and Preparedness Tips for Jewelers This Hurricane Season

Policies & IssuesJun 20, 2024

5 Safety and Preparedness Tips for Jewelers This Hurricane Season

Jewelers Mutual is advising jewelers along the coast to prepare for above-normal hurricane activity this year.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hurricane satellite image
This satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration captured Hurricane Idalia approaching the western coast of Florida in late August 2023, while Hurricane Franklin can be seen in the Atlantic Ocean. Jewelers Mutual Group is sharing safety tips for jewelers in time for the 2024 hurricane season.
Neenah, Wisc.—Jewelers Mutual Group is warning jewelers along the Atlantic coast that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting above-normal hurricane activity this year.

Hurricane season runs from now through Nov. 30.

This season, 17 to 25 named storms are expected to make landfall along the central U.S. coastline and Canada’s Atlantic coastline, said NOAA, with eight to 13 of those storms expected to become hurricanes.

“With the threat of a record-breaking hurricane season, it’s critical for jewelers to review their insurance plans with their agent, as well as evacuation and communication strategies, and start training now to be prepared,” said Howard Stone, vice president of global risk services and analytics at Jewelers Mutual.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hurricane chart

In a NOAA release, Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Administrator Erik A. Hooks also encouraged Americans to be prepared this season.

“Already we are seeing storms move across the country that can bring additional hazards like tornadoes, flooding, and hail. Taking a proactive approach to our increasingly challenging climate landscape today can make a difference in how people can recover tomorrow.”

Jewelers Mutual’s “Hurricane Preparedness Guide” shares advice on what to do before, during and after a storm.

In a recent blog post, the company shared the three key areas jewelers should focus on for hurricane season: protecting property, safeguarding important documents and information, and keeping a preparedness checklist.

Here are a few key tips to keep in mind this hurricane season.

Have these emergency documents on hand.

Jewelers should have contact lists of employees, vendors, and official emergency centers at the ready to receive information and share it with their team ahead of the storm.

“First and foremost, make sure every employee is in the know. Regularly updating phone numbers and emails will help ensure this,” said the blog post.

It’s also helpful to appoint one person to coordinate updates to avoid confusion.

Other important documents to have include sales records, employee payroll, a copy of the store’s lease agreement (if applicable), contact information for the landlord, insurance information, and financial and accounting information.

Jewelers should also have their current income tax records, including tax returns, sales tax returns, and sales records, for at least the last two years.

They will also need contact information for shipping companies to provide alternative delivery instructions.

If the building is damaged, having information about a cleaning service and contractor will come in handy and may speed up the recovery process.

Having a realtor contact may also be helpful if relocation is necessary.

Set up a business continuity plan.

Jewelers should have a plan in place for their business and employees in the event of a crisis.

“Take the time now to assess how your business functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating,” said the guide.

Jewelers should be able to answer a few key questions, like how payroll will be handled in the event of an emergency and what happens if the store isn’t accessible.

They should also set up a management succession plan if the usual team is unavailable due to the crisis.

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Protect the virtual inventory.

Retailers know how to secure their physical merchandise but may not consider protecting their data.

Jewelers Mutual advises backing up the store’s computer systems using storage media or an online service on a regular basis.

“Whichever way your information is stored, remember to make sure that it’s secure and not at risk of being compromised. You could be facing a whole other disaster if your data gets compromised,” the company.

Keeping physical copies of the documents listed in the first tip is especially important if you can’t access the information backed up on a hard drive or in the cloud right away.

Be sure to also move all electronic appliances off the floor, elevating them as much as possible.

Also, unplug them from outlets to prevent a power surge that could damage the devices.

Secure the safe too.

Retailers should secure as much property as possible within their safes.

Jewelers Mutual recommends applying a permanent, waterproof label to the safe with a return address, in case it’s found outside of the store after the storm.

Retailers may also consider leasing a safe-deposit box in a bank too, preferably the highest box possible. Secure the items in the box in individually sealed plastic bags.

Jewelers should be sure to have insurance coverage for the property store in the safe-deposit box.

Property that can’t be stored in a safe-deposit box, a safe, or a vault should be placed in a locked room within the store.

What cannot be secured in a safe-deposit box at the bank, in a safe, or in a vault on the premises should be secured in a locked room inside the premises.

For showcase displays, the company recommends double-bagging them in sealed plastic bags, if possible, and storing them inside display cases.

Take photos before and after the storm.

Taking photos before and after a hurricane can help to assess damage and provide information to insurers.

Jewelers Mutual advises retailers to photograph the interior of the store, including the office. Print two copies; take one and leave the other in a safe-deposit box.

Following the storm, customers are encouraged to reach out to Jewelers Mutual to help with the recovery process.

Before anything is thrown away, take photos of the damage for the adjuster.

Jewelers Mutual’s loss prevention team is available at lossprevention@jminsure.com to help jewelers with any questions about hurricane safety and to provide available resources or services. 

Jewelers also have access to secure storage, transport, and board-up support, which are available to insured businesses at a reduced cost, the company said. 

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