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Protecting Your Business during Unprecedented Circumstances: Pandemics Edition

Posted on April 21, 2020

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Unprecedented times call for unprecedented solutions. The outbreak of the novel corona virus (COVID-19) as a global pandemic is leaving the world in an unpredictable situation, calling for all measures of precaution and protection. It is more critical than ever before for businesses in Africa to have the right response plans in place to be able to effectively recover from the impact of this ever-evolving risk landscape.

Over the past few weeks, the global impact of COVID-19 has been unparalleled and there is not one predictable scenario of how far the economic, health, and social impact of the outbreak will go. Organisations should be preparing to mitigate against all possible outcomes to their operations. This includes the potential for business interruption, due to the presence of the virus on their premises, employee absenteeism, or supply chain disruptions among others, leading to financial vulnerability.

To effectively prepare and respond to these threats, businesses should take a three-pronged approach:

  • Prioritise your people. It is important that businesses take steps to plan for and protect against the possibility that the outbreak worsens by working with their risk advisers to understand the potential implications on their business and their industry overall in the short- to medium-term, especially when it comes to their workforce. Employers should make their people a top priority and work to both protect their health and safety and keep them well informed.
  • Establish business continuity strategies that cover emergency response, crisis management and crisis communications, and not only to be ready to monitor the progress of an emerging outbreak and understand its potential effects, but to protect employees while continuing operations in light of border restrictions, supply chain issues, and other local direct impacts such as regulations and restrictions.
  • Understand how existing insurance coverages may respond to the outbreak.

Protection and Recovery

In such unprecedented circumstances, protecting your business assets is necessary. Brokers and risk advisers such as Marsh can play a valuable role in the protection of your businesses during a pandemic, particularly when it comes to human capital, business interruption, business resilience, and financial stability.

In order to capitalise on the value of your insurance broker and risk adviser to protect your business and ensure effective recovery from the heavy impact of COVID-19, you should engage your advising broker for the following:

  1. Prioritising Employees Health and Mental Resilience – In the moments that matter, it is vital that you have the right support from your employee benefits adviser to guide and provide advice to your employees. Your employee benefits adviser should keep you informed about the essentials when it comes to COVID-19 including useful tips and precautionary measures.
  2. Prioritising Employees Health and Mental Resilience — In the moments that matter, it is vital that you have the right support from your employee benefits adviser to guide and provide advice to your employees. Your employee benefits adviser should keep you informed about the implications of COVID-19 including useful tips and precautionary measures.
  3. Understand the Impact to Your Industry — your insurance broker should have a full understanding of your industry and its challenges it will most likely face during the pandemic outbreak. Global experience in understanding the winners and losers in how industries have made themselves resilient during these trying times can be of immense value. Your broker should be able to provide advice on industry specific risks, regional and country trends that are relevant to your business, as well as provide advice on how to mitigate and transfer those risks. This is the first line of defence in protecting your business.
  4. Build Your Business Resilience — an experienced risk adviser knows what your business needs to do to prepare for the unexpected and how to respond to the unpredictable. They will use their knowledge, experience and leverage to define and deliver fit for purpose insurance and risk management strategies and solutions for your business both during and after the COVID-19 outbreak. They need to act now, as this is the only way to ensure minimum damage and financial risk as we progress through the stages of COVID-19, and other unknown furture risks.
  5. Claims solutions — An experienced risk adviser should be there for you at all times and particularly in the moments that matter. Ultimately, the aim is to protect your business from the consequences of the outbreak, and your broker and risk adviser should help you navigate through the claims process and any insurance queries you have regarding your current coverage. Marsh works with its clients to mitigate the risk of repudiated claims by answering any queries, and assisting with any potential claims that could stem from the outbreak.

Over the coming months, we will be sharing a series of Risks in Context blogs that highlight key tips and advice on understanding, tackling and mitigating some of the most prevalent business challenges in the African region following the impact of COVID-19 on the manufacturing sector.