Business continuity tips during the coronavirus pandemic
The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a reminder of the impact a public health emergency can have on businesses – both on a local and global level.
Many businesses have suffered some form of disruption in recent weeks, and most have found that they are not covered for coronavirus-related business closures in their insurance policies.
This is because Business Interruption insurance is designed to cover losses resulting from physical damage to insured property by an insured peril such as Flood or Fire. In respect to certain industries, such as Food, Care and Leisure, policies are often extended to include interruption to the Business due to ‘specified diseases’.
‘Specified diseases’ tends to include the likes of Measles, Meningitis, Chickenpox and Rubella, and doesn’t include Coronavirus (COVID-19) as this is a new and unknown virus – the exposure and risk of which cannot be quantified.
For businesses whose policies include cover for pandemics, the chancellor Rishi Sunak has advised that they may be able to claim based on the government’s advice that the public should avoid pubs and restaurants etc.
However, business owners are urged to read their individual policies carefully as a lot of policies specify the infectious diseases that are applicable, although some may cover “any notifiable or infectious disease.”
BHIB Executive Chairman, Ashwin Mistry OBE ACII, said:
“It’s so, so important that everybody reads their policy. If you just self-close, that won’t be covered.
“You cannot just assume that people won’t come to your pub or venue, you’ve just got to follow what is being said by government, on the day it’s said, at the time it’s said.”
20 business continuity tips during the coronavirus pandemic
- Make sure you have a plan. You plan should cover potential mass absenteeism from production facilities, head offices and suppliers. It should also cover the loss of key suppliers and major disruption to the supply chain.
- Identify your crisis management team. Depending on the size of your business, this may be a single head office crisis team or a series of local tactical teams around the world reporting into a global strategic team. The teams should comprise people who are very familiar with your business and come from different functions.
- Assign specific tasks to key members of the team (communications, HR, production, logistics, finance, procurement, etc.)
- Hold crisis team meetings to fit urgency. This may be several times per day at peak, reducing as the severity passes.
- Identify clear steps to protect workers.
- Monitor the progress and impact of the disease and report daily to the crisis team.
- Develop a protocol for advice to employees if the virus is detected locally or if they suspect they have the virus.
- Communicate actions to prevent spreading disease.
- List business-critical competencies.
- Plan how and when you would reduce staff attendance to a minimum to enable the business to continue.
- Identify which critical staff can work remotely.
- For manufacturing companies, identify what are the minimum operational conditions.
- Identify a plan for ceasing production or a controlled reduction in production.
- Are there any company locations or key suppliers in higher-risk regions?
- Risk assess decisions to ensure there are no adverse unintended consequences of actions.
- Identify vulnerable workers (older, pregnant females, others with a history of poor health).
- Continue to communicate with all staff and stakeholders through all relevant media.
- Monitor social media and engage with your audience.
- Reference government advice in communications.
- Make sure your plan includes steps for recovery when the worst of the impact has passed.
Get in touch with BHIB
For more information on business continuity and Business Interruption insurance, contact BHIB Insurance Brokers now on 0330 024 06 06 or use our contact form.
Whatever sector you work in, you can always be certain of expert, personal support from our highly qualified team.