This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

It's not just flooding

15 August 2007

Flooding and more importantly flash floods can occur at virtually no notice and leave homes and businesses devastated by a wash of unclean and murky water, writes Alan Johnson.

Businesses that are flooded face the demoralising task of not only cleaning up but claiming from the insurer for the damage and potentially the loss of business. Current thinking is that more frequent flooding is not the only risk facing domestic and commercial property owners. Climate change is heralding a whole new set of extreme conditions for the UK including susceptibility to minor earthquakes, tornadoes, coastal erosion and long periods of drought.

The Government is also concerned about the potentially devastating adverse effects of pandemics (e.g. Avian Flu), terrorist activities and large scale food or water contamination. We understand that Local Authorities are being asked to ensure they can continue to operate in all circumstances. These requirements are being cascaded down the supplier chain and it is likely that all businesses will be required to have published a robust disaster recovery plan.

A new British Standard (BS 25999 (Business Continuity Management [BCM]) is being worked upon by the British Standards Institute and will soon be available to provide more detailed guidance. This standard will specify the requirements for setting up and managing an effective Business Continuity Management System (BCMS). The draft of this standard is available for review and/or comment from the British Standards website. Some of the points it covers are:
..Anyone who complies with the standard will assure that its key suppliers and partners have an effective BCMS in place
..Training and assessment for all those with responsibilities under an organisation's BCMS, including assessing competencies, conducting training needs analysis and the provision and evaluation of training provided
..Making sure BCM is at the core of business values
..Communicating the importance of BCM to all staff with ongoing programs for awareness and information
..A minimum set of documentation for a BCMS and record keeping procedures
..Impact and risk assessment for the business and the process by which it may be carried out
..The incident response structure for an organisation as well as the plans that are to document how a business will deal with an incident
..Maintenance, monitoring, reviewing and improving the BCMS.

Although this may seem irrelevant to your own business it may very quickly become relevant if those you supply or tender business from, demand that you have sufficient business continuity management in place in order for them to comply with this new standard.

Some organisations may already have a comprehensive system in place and will find it easier to comply. Others however, may not have even considered it, or have put it back in the desk drawer as something to consider later. The importance that is being placed on BCMS is very high and should be something that every business has an awareness of, plus its potential requirements and impacts.From a commercial perspective even minor interruptions or incidents beyond a business' control can result in material loss of income. It is important that your business has adequate business interruptions (loss of profit) cover and that the sums insured are realistic. You should contact your broker or insurer for advice on such areas, many people do not fully understand their policies and exactly what risks they are covered for. This is an oversight that can be costly and devastating to a business.

If you have not considered external factors that can affect your business then the recent flooding should serve as an early warning, problems have arisen for many businesses that were not flooded themselves but their suppliers or supply chain were badly affected. If the businesses that were flooded did not plan adequately or have the correct covers in place then not only is the flooding problematic to clear up, but it could also be the end of their business.

....Alan Johnson is Technical & Broking Director at independent insurance brokers

Print this page | E-mail this page


View more articles
Article image

Why the Law Says You Need a Nappy Bin Disposal Service

At home, parents are used to disposing of their babies’ used nappies the same way they do any other domestic waste - bagging it up and sticking it in the r...
Article image

A High Performance Service for a High Performance Business – GKN Aerospace

GKN Aerospace, a first tier supplier of highly complex composite and metallic aerostructures and engine products to the global aviation industry, recently ...
Article image

Making the Leadenhall Building fit for purpose

Firmly established as one of the most notable buildings in the City of London, the Leadenhall Building (informally known as the cheesegrater) provides a st...
Article image

Center Parcs goes cashless with Systopia

Systopia, which deals with cashless payment systems, has secured a contract with UK Short Break Operator Center Parcs to provide cashless payment systems i...
Article image

Remote metering takes water billing to a higher level in prestigious ‘Walkie-Talkie’ skyscraper

CBRE has streamlined the management of the building and reduced its overheads...

Benchmarking maintenance

BSRIA has just published this year's operation and maintenance benchmarking report as a guide for building operators to evaluate their performance against ...