Most Small Business Owners at Risk for a Disaster

Survey: 75 percent of small businesses do not have a disaster plan in
place, but 52 percent say it would take at least three months to recover
from a disaster

COLUMBUS, Ohio–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new survey by Nationwide released today reveals that three in four
small business owners do not have a disaster recovery plan, but more
than half say it would take at least three months to recover from a

Nationwide commissioned Harris Interactive, which conducted an online
poll among 500 U.S. small business owners with fewer than 300 employees
from June 8–19, 2015.

“Small businesses are least likely to have disaster recovery insurance,”
says Mark Pizzi, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide
Direct and Member Solutions. “And yet they are the ones most affected by
a disaster. That’s why it’s essential for small businesses to have a
disaster recovery plan.”

Since there hasn’t been a major national disaster in years, America’s
small business owners may be feeling overconfident — even as they head
into the summer storm season and National Preparedness Month (September).

According to the survey, one in four believe the likelihood of a natural
disaster occurring in their area is slim (26 percent). Just over
one-third (37 percent) say climate change and the weather phenomenon El
Nino have decreased the likelihood of a natural disaster impacting their

Still, the gravity of the recovery from a natural disaster is not lost
on small business owners — as an estimated 25 percent of businesses do
not reopen following a major disaster.1

The survey also revealed some other shocking facts:

  • While more than a third (38 percent) of small business owners say it
    is not important for their business to have a disaster recovery plan,
    over two-thirds (69 percent) have an evacuation plan at home.
  • For many without a plan for their business, disaster recovery is
    simply a low priority (34 percent). Time (11 percent) or cost (15
    percent) play little roles in the decision not to have a written
    disaster recovery plan in place.
  • For companies with fewer than 50 employees, only one in five (18
    percent) have a disaster recovery plan.

Unfortunately, if a disaster were to occur, 44 percent of small business
owners say they don’t have access to generators — and 66 percent don’t
even have business interruption insurance.

Having processed more than $417 million in catastrophe claims related to
small businesses since January 2013, Nationwide can provide owners with
guidance and information to help them prepare, should a disaster strike.

For more facts, tips and information on creating a disaster recovery
plan, small business owners can visit the Insurance
Institute for Business & Home Safety
or Nationwide’s
Disaster Planning and Recovery site


The 2015 Small Business Owner Study was conducted online within the U.S.
by Harris Poll Online (HPOL) on behalf of Nationwide between June 8 and
June 19, 2015. The respondents comprised a representative sample of 500
U.S. small business owners, defined as companies with less than 300
employees. Results were weighted to be representative of small business
owners in the U.S. Research participants were drawn from the Harris Poll
Online (HPOL) research panel and partner sample. Because the sample is
based on those who were invited to participate in the HPOL panel,
estimates of theoretical sampling error cannot be calculated.
Percentages were rounded to the nearest whole percent. Differences in
the sums of combined categories/answers were due to rounding.

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the
largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services
organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard
& Poor’s. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial
services, including auto, commercial, homeowners, farm and life
insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and
mutual funds; banking and mortgages; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance.
For more information, visit

Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, Join the Nation and the
Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance

[1] Source: Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.


Christopher Stollar, 614-677-5711