Posted by Kevin Hecteman
Business owners affected by forest fires and the COVID-19 pandemic have a number of financial options to explore, along with concerns about insurance claims.
These were elaborated on in a virtual workshop held last week by the Napa County Farm Bureau in collaboration with California Treasurer Fiona Ma.
The webinar was the first of two sessions aimed at helping those suffering from business losses related to forest fires or the pandemic and seeking help with reconstruction.
Speakers included Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, which helps disaster survivors with insurance claims.
“We learn lessons after disasters about things that we didn’t insure or that we didn’t have and that we now know we should have,” said Bach. “Business interruption is one of them.”
Bach said her group has recently focused on helping people with such needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting orders for on-site accommodation. She also warned insurance customers to read their policies carefully.
“Sometimes your coverage doesn’t match the sales promises, and there may be fine print,” said Bach. “My organization is in business trying to help businesses and people deliver on those promises made to insurers, and also to go through the steps to really evaluate your losses and how much it will cost you back bring where you were before the loss. “
Ryan Klobas, executive director of the Napa County Farm Bureau, said this was a primary concern of its members.
“One of the biggest problems in Napa County was insurance,” said Klobas. “I plan to continue working with United policyholders to further address the Napa County’s insurance problem.”
On the financial front, Michelle Radmand, of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, said her office aims to help small businesses build resilience to the pandemic and the threat of forest fires.
“We recognize that small businesses need capital, and the state has programs to improve access to capital,” said Radmand. “We have worked in the private and corporate philanthropy, the financial sector, and within state government to encourage investment in capital programs to aid small business recovery.”
These include the recently created California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, which awards grants of up to $ 25,000 to qualified businesses.
The first round of applications ended on January 13th and the program will inform applicants of their status. A second round of applications will open on a date to be determined; Please visit careliefgrant.com for more information.
The state also has a network of small business centers to connect small businesses to resources, information, and networking. For more information, see www.business.ca.gov/centers.
“Typically, the small business loan market can be tough,” said Megan Hodapp, loan officer for the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank). “Lenders have struggled to provide capital to companies for a variety of reasons, whether they are new, lack collateral, or whatever the reason. With credit enhancement programs we can step in and mitigate some of the risks that risk. “
In addition to disaster relief programs, she said, IBank has a Farm Loan Program that supports direct loans to small California farms through companies that also work with the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. For more information, see ibank.ca.gov/small-business/disaster-relief.
Ma said those who work in agriculture “can get partial sales tax exemption on all purchases used to harvest produce,” such as: B. fences for animals, harvesting equipment or cultivation aids such as tire houses. For more information, see www.cdtfa.ca.gov/taxes-and-fees/sales-and-use-tax-exemptions.htm and choose agricultural machinery and machinery.
Klobas said Part 2 of the webinar series is scheduled for January 27 at 2 p.m., with insurance being one of the main topics. California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson and political supporter Robert Spiegel will attend along with representatives from Cal Fire and local elected officials.
Further information and registration at www.napafarmbureau.org/events. Klobas said last week’s meeting, held Jan. 12, will be posted on the Napa County Farm Bureau website and YouTube channel.
(Kevin Hecteman is the assistant editor of Ag Alert. He can be contacted at [email protected])
Permission to use is granted but credit must be given to the California Farm Bureau Federation as this article is reprinted.