Navigating the Pandemic Response Cycle

No matter how prepared we think we are for a pandemic, we’ve seen over the past months that the situation can escalate rapidly, with very real implications for businesses. Organizations can find themselves struggling to keep pace as the pandemic’s growth hijacks the in-place risk management framework. How an organization responds to a pandemic like COVID-19 depends on preparedness, resources, and the stage of the pandemic cycle.

To successfully manage through a pandemic, organizations need to be agile and develop response strategies tailored to their business and risk profile, which are then tested constantly to ensure their effectiveness. Marsh’s Pandemic Response Cycle tool can help organizations navigate through the key stages of a pandemic: outbreak, growth, disruption, and recovery. In addition, it can help organizations determine the most effective ways to respond to and manage these challenges.

Across the pandemic cycle, there will be four core challenges that all businesses will face. These challenges are: cost savings, employee well-being and productivity, shifting risk profile, and risk management and business enablers. 

Cost Savings


Organizations should proactively manage their balance sheet and explore cost saving options in the risk management program, as any savings achieved during a pandemic could potentially influence the viability of the business both during and post-pandemic.

Employee Wellbeing and Productivity

Organizations must ensure communications, benefits, and employee resources are aligned to keep the business sustainable and keep employees engaged and productive through the pandemic cycle. 

Changing Risk Profile

Organizations will be forced to adapt to the interruption and changes triggered by the pandemic. Immediate and long-term implications can result in increased or new liabilities and risks. As an organization’s risk profile may look very different pre-pandemic versus post-pandemic, Insurable Risk Identification and Insurance Gap Analysis are valuable exercises to conduct to ensure an organization’s risk profile is up-to-date and well understood by decision makers and key stakeholders.

Risk Management

As organizations navigate through the pandemic cycle, responding, recovering, and planning for the future with an evolved business continuity strategy is critical. This is also an opportune time for businesses to reset on the risk management program and consider revenue enablement opportunities by re-engaging with customers through value-added aligned insurance offerings to their products.