If a catastrophe struck your business, who would provide such critical services as site clean-up, emergency power supplies, off-site redundant data storage, and alternative communication systems until you can get up and running again?
In this situation, having agreements in advance with restoration companies and other service providers can save you time, money, and headaches.
Although most companies recognize that such prearrangements can play a critical role in emergency crisis management planning, few take steps to develop specific relationships with their disaster service providers.
That can be an expensive mistake, says Michelle Cross, Boston-based National Practice Leader for Business Continuity at Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA. She points out that, “for any service provider to really provide quality, top-level, appropriate service, they have to know about your company, what you need, and what hazards you have on site.”
Pre-planning can also reduce Business Interruption deduction and claims significantly by shortening downtime to services and operations after a disaster, notes Dave Boyle, head of Property Claims for Zurich North America (Schaumburg, IL).
A case in point: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide uses pre-arranged recovery agreements because many of its properties are in locations at risk for natural disaster. When Hurricane Katrina struck, the Starwood Sheraton was the only hotel in New Orleans that remained open during and after the megastorm. Says Stephen Truono, the company’s Vice President of Global Risk Management and Insurance: “It’s about having a plan, practicing that plan, and engaging the necessary critical vendors, such as providers of power, plywood, diesel oil and potable water.”
Prearranged provider agreements are inexpensive and usually do not involve a fee until the time of service.
What’s not to like?