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Pandemic Preparedness and Response

Recent outbreaks of viruses such as COVID-19, the Zika virus, avian influenza A (H7N9), the novel coronavirus Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), and Ebola (Zaire strain) in West Africa bring to light an emerging threat that organizations globally should be prepared to address.

Unlike regional events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or terrorist attacks, a pandemic is a recurring global event with global implications. Pandemic outbreaks underscore the critical importance of effective planning and response to minimize the potential for human morbidity and mortality, reduce social and economic disruptions, and mitigate against organizational risk exposures. Pandemic plans and response must include the ability to react quickly and be flexible to changing scenarios in line with the phase of the pandemic.

The hardest hit companies in any industry are likely to be those with worldwide operations, global supply chains, and/or international customers. Furthermore, as seen with COVID-19, influenza A (H1N1), and other recent outbreaks, local, state, and national governments may curtail travel, close schools, quarantine individuals and communities, and/or ban public gatherings.

While managing through the potential impacts of an outbreak may seem daunting, Marsh Advisory provides organizations with tried and tested tools, processes, and procedures that can help you protect employees, preserve revenue streams, and meet organizational resiliency objectives.

Pandemic Strategies and Solutions Highlights

Our business resiliency and crisis management consultants have the unique ability to integrate customized pandemic planning protocols into your organization’s overall business continuity and resiliency management program. Based on our support of clients’ planning and response activities during and following the Zika, SARS, avian flu, and other pandemic and epidemic outbreaks, our global team has the skills and experience required to develop and implement integrated pandemic planning and response strategies as well as assess performance and refine procedures in light of an actual event.

Pandemic planning, testing, and regular reviews of effectiveness can place your organization in a better position to reduce, mitigate the impact of, and recover more quickly from these socially and economically disruptive events. Additional benefits may include:

  • Increased vigilance and protection of employee health and safety.
  • Protection of market share, brand value, and shareholder value.
  • Improved resiliency and fortification of key value drivers and resources.
  • Strengthened internal business controls and risk intelligence insights.

To meet your pandemic resiliency planning and response needs, we tailor our industry-specific approach, tools, and knowledge to your organization. We are uniquely qualified to be a trusted risk advisor on pandemic planning and response, leveraging our deep and diverse expertise in risk management, HR consulting, and risk transfer alternatives.

Pandemic Response Plan

We will work with you to develop a Pandemic Response Plan that: (1) integrates with existing crisis management, emergency response, and continuity plans; and (2) maps to the operational and cultural requirements of your organization. This includes:

  • Validating current pandemic preparedness and management plans and procedures.
  • Defining or integrating plans within an existing overall crisis management structure and process to guide rapid and coordinated decision making at appropriate levels of the organization.
  • Developing the necessary policies and processes to support pandemic response efforts.
  • Orchestrating and aligning all related incident response plans, including business continuity, emergency response, supply chain, communications, human impact, and others.
  • Training personnel, including through tabletop and other exercises, to help ensure the effective execution of the plan as circumstances dictate. 

Rapid Pandemic Preparedness Assessment

We assist companies with a rapid review of their existing pandemic preparedness plans in order to determine their effectiveness and highlight potential gaps in the planning process. To ensure a holistic approach, we often include colleagues with clinical health, insurance, and related areas of expertise in the review.

Our rapid pandemic preparedness assessment is designed to baseline your organization’s current capabilities, identify any gaps, and roadmap areas for process improvement. A rapid pandemic preparedness assessment is conducted and facilitated through the following activities:

  • Data collection and analysis.
  • Key stakeholder interviews.
  • Extended stakeholder workshop.
  • Wrap-up presentation and roadmap.

A typical rapid pandemic preparedness assessment takes approximately one week, depending on the availability of management. It begins with a review of your organization’s current documentation, three to five interviews with senior executives, and a roundtable workshop with key stakeholders (e.g., Pandemic Planning Committee members, business continuity leader, supply chain manager, human resources). Following our analysis, we deliver a recommended pandemic preparedness implementation roadmap to guide future activities, which may include development of an integrated pandemic planning protocol.