Natural Disasters: Corporate Preparedness and Crisis Management
The impact of an earthquake, hurricane, tsunami, or other natural disaster can be devastating to an area, its economy, and its people. Damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure — on top of the damage to lives — can linger for weeks, months, or years.
The critical task for businesses, particularly those operating in vulnerable regions of the world, is to ensure they have crisis management plans and experienced real-time crisis response personnel in place to mitigate the potential impacts of a natural disaster and return to normal operations as quickly as possible.
An effective response is the result of a comprehensive corporate preparedness and crisis management program that creates an overarching decision-making framework that orchestrates and aligns an organization’s various incident- and site-level response activities, including:
- Emergency response.
- Business continuity.
- Supply chain.
- Crisis communications
- Human impact.
Marsh Risk Consulting’s (MRC) Reputational Risk and Crisis Management, Resiliency, and Response Practice works with companies worldwide to develop and implement corporate preparedness and crisis management plans and procedures. We provide experienced real-time crisis management support when a disaster occurs.
Among the questions we help you answer:
- Are my current crisis management and response plans adequate to help us manage the crisis we face today?
- Is our process enabling us to effectively manage our information needs and the range of issues as they arise?
- Do I have the tools, structure, and resources to proactively manage the situation and anticipate possible consequences?
- If my organization is not in the midst of a crisis, what can we do to be prepared?
The answers to these and related questions will indicate your organization’s level of preparedness and help identify areas where you need to update your planning or sharpen your skills. That’s also where MRC can assist.
CRISIS MANAGEMENT PLANNING, TRAINING AND TESTING
The ability to manage a crisis successfully is the result of understanding your risks and vulnerabilities, comprehensive planning, regular exercises, and a strategy for maintaining these capabilities. We provide a systematic approach to help you manage crises by:
- Assessing preparedness and benchmarking existing plans against best practices.
- Developing a crisis management plan that enables management to respond to any issue or event and manage it effectively.
- Training and exercising crisis management teams to validate plans and procedures.
REAL-TIME EMPLOYEE RECOVERY ADVISORY SERVICES
While each component of effective crisis preparation and response is critical, it is often the human side of a disaster — particularly the impact on employees and their families — that is the most difficult to manage and, ultimately, the most important when returning an organization to some semblance of business as usual.
As those affected by an earthquake or hurricane quickly discover, coping with the aftermath takes time and knowledge of how to secure available benefits from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state agencies, and personal insurance.
Interacting with federal agencies or insurance companies in the best of times can be challenging; having to deal them during an emergency is even more stressful. And the effort it takes often translates into time away from work.
We can assist your employees directly, providing:
- Guidance around private insurance benefits and applications for public disaster assistance.
- Claims advice to expedite the insurance process by reviewing individual policies and providing guidance in claims preparation for private insurance payments.
- Guidance on best available opportunities and options for receiving federal public assistance (grants and/or loans) for temporary housing, home repair, or replacement.
- On-site workshops for employees, as well as private, one-on-one advisory sessions after the workshop.
We have helped companies, both large and small, — in energy, transportation, financial services, hospitality, and numerous other industries — accelerate the process of getting their employees back to work and their businesses up and running following a natural disaster, including after hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, and Gustav, and Superstorm Sandy.
EXPERIENCED COUNSEL, WHEN AND WHERE IT IS NEEDED
MRC brings an unmatched depth of resources. We understand the urgency of a crisis: the need to triage the situation quickly, to deploy resources effectively, and to execute flawlessly. By the same token, the need for an overarching strategy to guide your response and recovery cannot be lost. While it is impossible to know when a crisis may occur, the appropriate insight, preparation, and planning can help you survive an adverse event such as a hurricane and, if properly managed, even gain competitive advantage.