Operations

Midwest Operator Deals With A Double Flood

Posted on September 6, 2017 by Lexi Tucker - Also by this author - About the author

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Diane Forgy, owner of Overland Chauffeured Services, learned firsthand recently how destructive floods can be, so she has some insight on what chauffeured transportation companies and businesses must be going through in Houston.

On July 27, the entire first floor of her office was underwater, but that was just the beginning. After spending much time looking into repairing infrastructure and replacing equipment, another flood hit her fleet operation in Leawood, Kansas, near Kansas City, Mo., on Aug. 21.

“I knew the office was in a flood zone since we are right behind a creek, but it’s usually pretty manageable,” Forgy said. “I was not expecting a flood of this magnitude, so this is uncharted territory for me and other property owners in the same area.”

Although there wasn’t a plan in place for a flood, one of the reasons she bought the building was for its abundant office space. The second story came in handy because the company only used the bottom floor. “In prior rains, we watched the creek rise; we just never thought it would get into the cars much less the building.”

All electrical outlets were under water, and her overnight and morning dispatchers (who had to get creative getting to work since all the major roads were closed) started by grabbing anything electronic they could get their hands on and headed to the second floor. They started the day operating on paper for an hour or two, while employees parked on a nearby residential street and walked down a hill to get to the office to help out.

“Luckily it’s not a very busy part of the year for us and not a single ride was missed,” Forgy said. She fortunately had flood insurance, as well as coverage on the contents of the building and vehicles, six of which were lost to the flood.

Disaster Prep Questions To Ask Yourself
  • Where are your servers located (if you use them)?
  • Do you have redundant internet connection in case your main one goes down?
  • How fast can you mobilize with your phone system and software?
  • Do you have a safe place to move your vehicles?
  • Have you created and maintained an up-to-date asset list with purchase date and cost?
  • Have you digitalized as many of your records as possible, and moved as many of your technology platforms to the cloud as you can?

Every restoration company was booked solid, but Forgy was eventually able to get ServePro to help out. So many businesses were affected that they ended up sending people in from out of state to help repair and rebuild. “Every piece of porous furniture was totaled, and it took about nine days to clean the entire place. Just as I started working on selecting a contractor, finding new furniture, and as business started to get busier, the second flood hit,” Forgy said.

  After all was said and done, her business sustained about $400,000 dollars in damage. “Insurance covers a lot of it, but there are deductibles to consider,” Forgy said. “If I lose a sedan that’s valued at $20,000 and have to buy a new one for $40,000, I lose.” That includes extra overtime she has to pay some employees. The good news is not one client was affected.

“We’ve had a lot of people who have reached out and expressed concern and said how impressed they’ve been that we haven’t missed a beat,” Forgy said. “My team got us through the biggest catastrophic event we have ever been through, and I am eternally grateful for their spirit and hard work.”

While operators should prepare for a disaster of any kind, Forgy said one of the most important factors is knowing and understanding what kind of insurance coverage you have and may need.

“Even if you lease, don’t assume your property policy includes floods; you need to ask what kind of losses you are covered on. You always want to have a disaster plan as far as your office and technology goes.”

Can’t Bring A Good Team Down

Despite the hardship that has come along with dealing with the flood, Forgy is proud her team has won the Ingram’s Magazine Gold Award for the 11th year in a row. Ingram’s is a local business publication for high level CEOs. Every year they have a “Best of Kansas City” issue where readers submit their local “favorites”.

One year, before they even knew the award existed, they won bronze for best ground transportation service. “We started to promote it with our clients as we were growing, and won gold for the first time in 2006,” Forgy said. Last year, silver went to Uber, but it wasn’t in the top three this year. Instead, all three awards in the category went to limousine companies; Agenda: USA won Silver and Kansas City Transportation Group won Bronze.

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