Small Businesses Learn from Superstorm Sandy

New survey shows majority of CT small businesses closed because of power outs

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New London's Montauk Avenue, the morning after Sandy
Photo:Harriet Jones
Small Businesses Feel Sandy Impact
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Small Businesses Feel Sandy Impact

 

Connecticut’s small businesses took a hit from Hurricane Sandy last fall, but they fared better than their counterparts in New York and New Jersey. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at a new study from insurer The Hartford.

 

While wind and water damage were a big problem for some businesses as Superstorm Sandy blew through last October, that actually wasn’t the major headache for most. Ray Sprague works with small business clients at The Hartford Financial Services Group.

“When we think about a storm we think about physical property; having roofs damaged, having water damage and things like that. But clearly in this event the big story for them and the big impact for the small businesses was what we’re calling connectivity.”

That connectivity included loss of power, Internet access and telephone, making the conduct of business all but impossible, at least in the immediate aftermath of the storm. 71 percent of business in Connecticut that responded to the survey said they suffered a power outage, but that was lower than the rate in New Jersey, where 82 percent went dark. More than 60 percent of Connecticut small businesses were closed for an average of a week after the storm, and a third said that caused a significant impact to their company. Sprague says these impacts came despite storm readiness plans.

“Storm preparation was a tremendous learning for the small businesses. Creating backups of their critical data and computer programs. Making sure that they had the essential supplies to obviously weather the storm, but also carry on their business after the storm until they could get access to their property again.”

New York and New Jersey small businesses, which bore the brunt of the storm, reported having to close at a higher rate than in Connecticut. The Hartford says it hopes the study will help businesses plan for future events, including reviewing their insurance coverage.