In light of the recent devastation brought by Hurricane Florence, I thought I would repeat the information I've previously posted on this subject for those who may soon face yet another potentially catastrophic loss: their corporate credit scores.
If your business lies in the impact zone, at some point in the coming days or weeks, you'll see a "Special Event" added to your D&B report. But you won't be the only one who sees it. So will any creditor or supplier who has pulled your report in the past. That alert may read as follows:
HURRICANE FLORENCE 2018: This business is located in a FEMA designated disaster zone impacted by the effects of Hurricane Florence. It is reported that thousands of people and businesses in North Carolina have been displaced due to catastrophic flooding. The extent of impact to this business is currently unknown; additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
D&B is going to place this notation into the corporate credit report of every business, even those that escaped a direct hit or were NOT impacted at all. They do this because they know this tragedy is going to reach far beyond the building's brick or wood facade. They know employees may not be able to come to work, supply lines (even those in other parts of the country) may be cut for months, current inventory may be compromised, and utilities may not be fully operational for weeks.
History has proven that businesses can be dramatically impacted by factors outside their control. D&B knows that. But D&B's analysis after a natural disaster can sometimes be equally devastating. We've seen it after the BP oil spill in the Gulf, Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Harvey, and it is certain to happen after Hurricane Florence...
D&B knows from experience that businesses that lie within the impact zone are going to face struggles others just 100 miles away will not. For some, the added burdens will be insurmountable. A high number of those businesses are not going to survive, and that's why D&B is going to add this potentially devastating notation into your business credit report.
But D&B also knows this could impact other businesses, some located thousands of miles away or around the globe, especially if those other businesses rely on YOUR COMPANY — whether for infrastructure, staffing, inventory and supply lines, transportation, or business systems.
This also means Hurricane Florence can actually affect your company's scores and ratings even if your business is not in the impact zone but has a supplier that is.
For example, let's say your company manufactures a specific wiring harness used by the Toyota facility in Kentucky. If your company is Toyota's only supplier of that harness, they may have a harder time meeting production demands. Does that mean Toyota is now going to have to find another supplier? And where does that leave your business in the future?
During the Gulf oil spill, D&B downgraded risk scores for a broad swath of businesses, including the shrimp and fishing industries, hotels and resorts, Mom and Pop souvenir shops, trucking and shipping companies, employment and staffing agencies, environmental services, and everything in between.
We know your business will be struggling, but those struggles do not have to be worsened by D&B's negative notation, especially if this could lead your suppliers or business contacts to believe your company may not survive this temporary hardship.
At times like this, it is even more important that every business owner pay closer attention to their company's corporate credit scores and ratings, and be ready to jump in immediately if you see any unwarranted downgrade to your credit worthiness.
Here in Texas, we are all sympathetic to the losses being faced by those in North Carolina. We know it could takes weeks or months before your business can meet the day-to-day needs of your staff and customers. But right now, you don't need sympathy. You need support.
If your business lies within the impact zone, please reach out to me directly for a free consultation and specific advice about safeguarding your D&B credit scores and ratings.