Skip to main content


Recovering from a hurricane: 7 steps to ensure business continuity

In the wake of a hurricane or tropical storm, businesses should take a close look at their existing corporate-level crisis management, emergency response, and business continuity plans.
Ob River Flood June 2015 Aerial View of same houses in vicinity of Nizhnevartovsk, Tyumen region, Russia. Aerial view of the residential area of the suburb of Nizhnevartovsk during the flood of 2015.

As we watch American citizens come to terms with the devastation of the 2022 hurricane season, it’s a reminder closer to home in Australia that we need to take action to prepare for the potential impact of extreme weather to protect our own people and businesses.

It is also imperative that you are prepared to activate these plans appropriately to help your workforce and business before, during, and after a crisis.

As you do so, you should focus on seven critical action areas:

1. Crisis management 

Implement your crisis management plan and activate the crisis management team quickly and efficiently. This can allow you to get an early understanding of the potential impacts of a hurricane or tropical storm on your people, operations, property, and infrastructure. It can also help you make policy/strategy decisions to address and manage potential impacts — for example, whether to allow employees to take paid time off and/or shift operations to other locations, if possible.

2. Emergency response 

Take steps to protect your people and physical assets. This will be crucial if your employees and properties are close to storm-affected areas. Direct your people to communications by local authorities and encourage them to heed their direction, such as to evacuate, shelter in place, or move to higher ground. Accounting for all employees and protecting property and assets need to be prioritised. Be prepared to provide frequent updates to senior executives and response teams. Organisations also should make accommodations for those employees in impacted areas who may need time off work to look after themselves and their families both during and following a storm.

3. Humanitarian assistance

Prepare to provide employees and their families with the necessary humanitarian assistance after a storm. This should include physical, social, emotional, and financial help. Aside from professional counseling and support services, be ready to provide personalised assistance — for example, providing employees with needed basic supplies or inviting insurance representatives to discuss filing claims. It’s important to have clear information about the assistance available to employees and provide links to external resources that they should be accessing.

4. Business continuity

Your plans should cover the management and logistical process for continuing or resuming and recovering interrupted critical business functions. Support should be coordinated between corporate headquarters and local work or operating sites. You may need to consider shifting operations to locations outside of the impacted area. Identify any critical suppliers affected by the storm and work to identify alternate suppliers outside the affected region that can support your recovery and continued operations. Keep in mind that already stretched supply chains and inflationary pricing may be exacerbated by a major disaster and make it difficult to secure supplies, at a reasonable cost, critical for your recovery.

5. Crisis communication 

Keep everyone informed about what is happening and your efforts to resume operations. Make sure you have updated contact lists for your employees, as well as their addresses, so you can send location-specific communications, when appropriate. Ensure that employees and key external stakeholders are aware of your response efforts. Make sure you have multiple tools in your communications toolbox in the event that one or more modes of communication are unavailable due to a storm’s impacts.

6. Information technology/disaster recovery

Focus on getting networks, applications, and data sources up and running to assist you through the recovery process. This will help support the continuity of operations, including facilitating communication with impacted employees or those working remotely.

7. Return to work 

Consistent communication of response efforts to your employees and other key stakeholders is critical. Regularly update employees on when you plan to reopen sites, consider returning in prioritised shifts, and facilitate two-way communication to determine when your people can return to work. Keep in mind that power and internet outages could affect employees working remotely.

Recovering from a hurricane takes time and effort. But taking these steps can better position your organisation to limit the effects of a storm and more quickly resume normal operations. Once this crisis is over, you can apply lessons learned to bolster your response plans and minimize the impact of future disasters.

This publication is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. The information contained herein is based on sources we believe reliable, but we make no representation or warranty as to its accuracy. Marsh shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. LCPA: 22/444

Marsh Pty Ltd (ABN 86 004 651 512, AFSL 238983) (“Marsh”) arrange this insurance and is not the insurer. The Discretionary Trust Arrangement is issued by the Trustee, JLT Group Services Pty Ltd (ABN 26 004 485 214, AFSL 417964) (“JGS”). JGS is part of the Marsh group of companies. Any advice in relation to the Discretionary Trust Arrangement is provided by JLT Risk Solutions Pty Ltd (ABN 69 009 098 864, AFSL 226827) which is a related entity of Marsh. The cover provided by the Discretionary Trust Arrangement is subject to the Trustee’s discretion and/or the relevant policy terms, conditions and exclusions. This website contains general information, does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs and may not suit your personal circumstances. For full details of the terms, conditions and limitations of the covers and before making any decision about whether to acquire a product, refer to the specific policy wordings and/or Product Disclosure Statements available from JLT Risk Solutions on request. Full information can be found in the JLT Risk Solutions Financial Services Guide.”