Small-business owners split on climate change impact

Survey: Owners differ on how El Nino has changed the likelihood of a natural disaster impacting their business

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An online survey by Nationwide reveals that small-business owners are split when it comes to whether El Nino has increased (37 percent) or decreased (37 percent) the likelihood of a natural disaster impacting their company.

“Some of America’s small-business owners may be feeling overconfident, even as we head into the spring storm season,” said Mark Berven, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide, the No. 1 total small-business insurer and farm insurer. “There hasn’t been a major U.S. disaster in years, so there may be a sense of complacency.”

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Nationwide commissioned Harris Poll to conduct its annual survey in June 2015 among 500 U.S. small-business owners who have fewer than 300 employees and at least a moderate role in employee benefit selection. The survey found that:

  • Small-business owners are split on whether climate change has increased (41 percent) or decreased (35 percent) the chance of a disaster affecting their company
  • While owners are divided on the impact of climate change and El Nino on their company, half (51 percent) said some people would call them a “prepper”
  • The vast majority still don’t have a disaster plan in place (75 percent) or business interruption insurance (66 percent)

“The good news is, many small-business owners have taken steps to prepare for a potential disaster,” Berven said. “But most haven’t done enough. Unfortunately, many still don’t have a disaster plan or even business interruption insurance, so we want to help them prepare for whatever Mother Nature — or El Nino — brings our way.”

For more information on disaster recovery planning or business interruption insurance, visit Nationwide’s Disaster Planning and Recovery site or the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.


The 2015 Small-Business Owner Study was conducted online, between June 8 and June 19, 2015, by Harris Poll, on Nationwide’s behalf. The respondents comprised a representative sample of 500 U.S. small-business owners, defined as having companies with less than 300 employees, and who have at least a moderate role in employee benefit selection. 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 are 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; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit

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