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Japan disaster reminds businesses about insurance

It might be inconceivable to small business owners that a disaster hundreds or thousands of miles away could shut them down. But the earthquake and tsunami in Japan have interrupted shipments of parts and finished goods to companies in the U.S., and sent many of them to call their insurance carriers.

These companies bought policies known as contingent business interruption insurance, or CBI. These policies will reimburse a company for its expenses and lost profits when it can’t operate because a disaster has struck a supplier. It’s a type of insurance that companies of all sizes can discover too late that they should have bought. One with foresight, ON Semiconductor Corp., said last week it was working with its insurers to recover losses because its supply chain had been disrupted by March 11 quake.

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