At Service Master by Rice we believe that planning for the worst is the best thing you can do for your business. And while we hope nothing disastrous will happen to your business, preparing for the possibility is a prudent practice. For this reason we are bringing you a 3-part blog series to help you create a plan of attack in the event of a disaster.
Breakdown of a Pre-Loss Plan
The first step in developing a disaster plan is to obtain executive support. Without such support, the resources necessary to accomplish the overall task may never be allocated. When presenting the concept to upper management it will be necessary to share the objectives of implementing the program, but be prepared to discuss the associated budget. In that regard, it is also wise to present the consequential cost of not having a plan in effect.
Planning Committee and Their Responsibilities
This committee should oversee the development and implementation of the plan. For the plan to be successful, membership on the committee must reflect a holistic approach including input from all departments allowing each to share the vision and their concerns from the plan’s infancy to implementation to assure proper communication.
Committee Chairperson – select a committee chairperson to be responsible for the overall synchronization of a recovery project or claim. In large corporations there is usually a designated Risk Manager who coordinates the various insurance coverage and acts as a liaison between the disaster victim and the insurance company. As the primary party in the recovery process, the person given this mission must have the autonomy and authority to make decisions of emergency and to assemble services as needed.
Executive in Charge – an Executive in Charge will ultimately be held accountable for the entire enterprise and will be responsible for signing any documents necessary to expedite the recovery process. An effectively constructed recovery plan includes the delegation of proper authority from this executive to the BCP.
Adjuster – because the insurance Adjuster is managing the resources of third-party organizations, they are obligated to represent the insurer’s interests. It is the desire of most claims personnel to provide any assistance to make the claims process go as smoothly as possible. In a professional relationship, the needs of the customer and the insurer need not be adversarial. When constructing the pre-loss plan, it is good practice to proactively seek the participation of the insurer and their designated claims representative to assure communication and ensure that steps taken are best practices.
Agent/Broker – in addition to the responsibility of administrating the insurance policy, your Agent or Broker will assist in the claims reporting process. They should also act as a liaison between the disaster victim, insurance carriers and other similar representatives. These professionals have a considerable amount of experience in this capacity and can also prove to be a valuable resource when assembling other vendors such as salvage agents, restoration services, temporary equipment and other similar services. The broker will act as an advocate for the disaster victim and can assist when differences between the insured and the insurer arise.
Property Owner – in situations involving tenant/building owner decisions the property owner should be included in the planning process to assure authority if and when a disaster should strike. Any decision that includes structure-related issues will require their participation in the recovery phase, thus the need for proactive inclusion.
Department Leaders/Delegates – representatives from operations, support, integrated systems, communications, accounting, records management, personnel, warehouse and distribution and any other pertinent departments must participate and submit the necessary information to complete a Risk Analysis. They must review their function in the organization and determine the potential impact associated with any possible disaster.
Purchasing – in addition to the potential need for replacement of raw stock and materials, there is the very real possibility of outsourcing production or services on an interim or long-term basis. The procurement process should allow for such contingencies as well as proactively seek “disaster recovery” vendor services while in normal business operations rather than attempting to do so in the resulting chaos that can, and usually does, follow any catastrophic event.
Check out our blog next week to discover what steps to take after deciding who to appoint to your planning committee and what their responsibilities should be.