QBE Outlines Business Continuity Strategies to Encourage Disaster Preparedness
Tips for Before, During, and After an Event Can Save Business Livelihood
NEW YORK, NY, June 2, 2021— With the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season officially underway (June 1 - Nov. 30) and wildfire season increasing in duration and intensity (more than 2,000 incidents already reported in California this year), QBE North America is urging companies to develop, revise and test their business continuity plans.
“Effective business continuity planning and responding requires an investment of time and resources in planning, preparing, training, and testing,” said Paul Isaac, Senior Vice President and Loss Control Leader at QBE North America. “Managing an event can be challenging and complex but having a well-thought-out and rehearsed plan can make the difference in a business’s livelihood should disaster strike.”
While consumer demand and spending are returning to pre-COVID conditions, there are a number of long-term implications businesses are facing that can be greatly exacerbated should any natural disaster occur.
“Planning ahead can not only help minimize loss from a natural disaster, but it can also help ensure the claims process and recovery go as smoothly as possible,” said Eric Sanders, Head of Claims for QBE North America. “Tips like making sure inventory and financial records are kept current and stored in a safe and secure off-site location can make all the difference when we need to determine the extent of a covered loss.”
A robust business continuity plan should address loss of use from natural hazards common to your location, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or wildfires, as well as accidental occurrences, such as electrical issues, fire and power outages.
QBE suggests considering the following three stages when it comes to business continuity planning:
- Analyze and evaluate your business processes (e.g., review what products are received through a supply chain) to determine how an interruption in any part of the process will affect your ability to continue operations.
- Identify critical equipment, utilities, employees, contractors, and storage and determine how any of these, if not functioning or available, would affect operations.
- Determine your product distribution processes including transportation equipment and operators and connections to supply chain customers, to spot potential weaknesses.
- Once the above components are identified, create a business continuity plan by identifying backup equipment, storage, distribution, employees, and contractors to fill potential gaps. Secure agreements in advance, to have them in place should an event occur.
- Document your plan with photos of the building, equipment, products, and other contents and identify any key components such as refrigeration, heat/utilities, transportation, weather-related conditions, security, communication systems, alternate buildings, and operations.
- Train staff and involve key local authorities in the plan execution.
- Act early to put your plan into effect when any incident occurs that could cause a loss of a key operation or availability function. Hesitation could result in greater loss.
- Set up management of the event to monitor changes and implement your plan.
- Formalize a chain of command to address immediate tasks. Be flexible in your plan.
- Maintain communications with public safety and staff to assure everyone is informed.
- Take action to mitigate the effects of the event. Secure the facilities and manage emergency backup systems (e.g., utilities, transportation).
- Document conditions with photos/videos for future reference.
- Alert incoming and outgoing supply chain partners of the event and potential needs and repercussions.
- Ensure the property is safe to avoid personal injury.
- Promptly report your claim either through your insurance broker or directly to your insurance carrier.
- Take pictures or video of the damage when it’s safe to do so.
- Complete emergency repairs and protect the property to mitigate further loss.
- Identify key contacts on your staff, each with assigned duties to assist with the claim.
- Assemble financial information to assist with a business income claim.
- Retain all invoices and receipts and submit for claim consideration.
- Request advance payment from your carrier to assist with emergency expenses.
- Keep a claim diary to document conversations and the commitments made.
- Set up salvage operations.
- Manage production operations either on-site or in pre-planned off-site locations.
- Document the work progress and obtain invoices as quickly as possible.
QBE Risk Solutions offers a variety of tools and tips to help their insureds plan for disasters. Additionally, there are several useful resources to assist with hurricane preparedness planning, including The Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit and business continuity planning suite from FEMA.
QBE Claims maintains an online Catastrophe Center with instructions on how to quickly and easily report claims to help expedite a response, as well as links to preparation and safety materials for a variety of natural disasters.
QBE North America is global insurance leader focused on helping customers solve unique risks, so they can focus on what matters most. Part of QBE Insurance Group Limited, QBE North America reported Gross Written Premiums in 2020 of $4.775 billion. QBE Insurance Group's 2020 results can be found at www.qbe.com.
Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, QBE operates out of 27 countries around the globe, with a presence in every key insurance market. The North America division, headquartered in New York, conducts business through its property and casualty insurance subsidiaries. The actual terms and coverage for all lines of business are subject to the language of the policies as issued. QBE insurance companies are rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best and "A+" by Standard & Poor's. Additional information can be found at www.qbe.com/us or follow QBE North America on LinkedIn and Twitter.
QBE makes no warranty, representation, or guarantee regarding the information herein or the suitability of these suggestions or information for any particular purpose. QBE hereby disclaims any and all liability concerning the information contained herein and the suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable risk transfer procedure is contained herein or that unusual or abnormal circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional risk transfer policies and/or procedures. The use of any of the information or suggestions described herein does not amend, modify, or supplement any insurance policy. Consult the actual policy or your agent for details about your coverage. QBE and the links logo are registered service marks of QBE Insurance Group Limited. © 2021 QBE Holdings, Inc.