COVID-19: How are you responding to the risk management needs of your business after lockdown?

COVID-19: How are you responding to the risk management needs of your business after lockdown?

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it's that if a business is to ride out a major crisis and continue trading, it needs a risk management plan.

That's not to say that a risk management plan is a silver bullet. But without one, you can't hope to understand how your business might suffer and, crucially, how it might adapt and respond to minimise disruption to its operations.

A well-managed business with a proactive approach to risk management, moreover, will not only operate better but may, in the long term, attract more favourable insurance terms and premiums. In fact, for some types of insurance, you may have to show that you have a risk management plan in operation before an insurer will provide cover.

That’s why, as your insurance broker and your professional advisors, we firmly believe that we should play a key role in the implementation and management of your risk management process. 

During the next phases of lockdown and beyond, your risk management plan may have to change to meet new requirements, and that's where we can help you.

Keeping things going and thinking ahead to a post-lockdown economy

As the UK government begins to ease some lockdown restrictions, there are three questions that every business owner or senior decision-maker should be asking:   

  • What else can I do for my business at this time? 
  • At what point would my business's risk tolerance be exceeded, forcing us to stop providing goods or services?
  • How can I prepare for an end to lockdown and transition from the emergency working arrangements of the last couple of months to a post-lockdown footing? 

CLEAR can help you adapt and navigate through the next phases by offering the following services, and we will be adding more in the weeks ahead.

Promote cyber-security awareness among your homeworkers

With many employees continuing to work from home, providing the 'dos and don'ts' of essential IT security is more important than ever. That's why we're offering free access to IT support videos to help your staff stay safe online.

We can also offer access to more specialist cyber assessments and IT policy reviews from Risk Crew, our chosen risk management partner in this sector.

As a precaution, a complete IT review may be necessary in light of the lockdown. This is because IT operational prudence can be compromised by working remotely using home TP-link devices and TP-link access. Additionally, your IT team must be equipped to deal with the changing cyber-threats and vulnerabilities that the pandemic continues to present. 

Maintain your employees' wellbeing and morale 

We're all feeling the strain of the crisis. So, maintaining the mental wellbeing of your employees now must be a key focus if your business is to return to normality in the weeks and months ahead. 

To help you through this transitional challenge, CLEAR can provide a range of services, from assessments to 24-hour counselling support for staff struggling to cope with issues such as stress and anxiety caused by the crisis.

Ensure any employees working from home do so safely and sensibly.

Working from home can present its own hurdles, so undertaking a risk assessment to ensure that your employees can minimize any potential risks and hazards and work sensibly is essential. This programme may comprise a series of modules, for instance, covering homeworking set-up, typical working hours, breaks, and even morale and stress levels. 

For more information, contact your usual CLEAR representative or get in touch with us here.

How resilient is your business when faced with disruption?

In the midst of the crisis – and its effect on our lives, livelihoods and the economy –business continuity planning (BCP) has proven its value to enterprises large and small. Indeed, BCP is likely to become an essential – if not mandatory – function of business operations and may yet prove a lifeline to UK firms in the event of a second wave of infections and lockdown. 

Furthermore, banks and insurers are sure to ask businesses from now on to show that they have made BCP provision. Banks, particularly, will want evidence of BCP. Without it, they can't take into account the 'tolerance' of a business to perform its normal functions and supply goods and services before their customers seek alternative suppliers.

If you need to write a business continuity plan, CLEAR has access to a range of BCP facilities to help you assess and strengthen your firm's resilience. For more information, contact your usual CLEAR representative or get in touch with us here.

Return-to-work assessments and guidance

As restrictions on some sectors of the economy are eased, returning to the workplace will without doubt be one of the most daunting challenges businesses will have to face. Social distancing and the need to protect staff and third parties will require employers to carry out risk assessments. Carrying out a risk assessment may become a prerequisite for certain types of insurance in future.  

As an employer, you will need to consider some, or all, of the following: 

  • Effective social distancing in the workplace
  • Cleaning issues and initial decontamination
  • Potential shift working
  • Interaction with visitors
  • Interaction with third parties, such as delivery drivers, suppliers and customers
  • Commuting issues for staff
  • Business travel policy and expenses 
  • A specific assessment if you operate with no fixed work location – from a construction site, for instance, or if you run a delivery business.

CLEAR has access to planning documents and facilities that can help you prepare for a return to normal working. For example, you may need to call in a decontamination service to deep clean your premises before you reopen and allow your employees back into the workplace.

Are you sure your business's current 'sums insured' are correct?

Making certain that your sums insured are up to date and sufficient has never been more important than it is right now. To help you with this valuation, we can put you in touch with risk management specialists, Cardinus, who can provide you with a rapid turnaround in quotations. Cardinus' surveyors can also carry out fire and health & safety reports if you require them.

Getting your vehicles back on the road after lockdown

The roads are already becoming busier, and this will only increase as we continue to emerge from lockdown. 

If you run a motor fleet, you'll need to look to vehicle maintenance and possibly changes in driver employment and vehicle utilization. You're also likely to see your fleet's operating costs increase. Effective management of your vehicle resources, therefore, must be a prime concern. 

We understand, of course, that cost management, including motor fleet insurance, will be essential in the coming months as some businesses are forced to operate with tighter margins. Better-managed risks in this scenario will be more attractive to insurers and could help you secure better insurance terms and premiums. 

CLEAR can arrange for an audit to be carried out on your motor fleet operations, including a follow-up support action plan. 

For more information, contact your usual CLEAR representative or get in touch with us here.

If someone vital to your business were to fall ill or die, could you continue operating?

As the name implies, 'keyman' or 'key person' insurance provides cover against the serious illness or death of a person vital to the running of a business. More often than not, this will apply to the business owner(s), senior decision-maker(s) or major shareholder(s).  However, depending on the scale of the business, it can also include roles like the IT manager or operations director.  If that person were to fall ill or die, then the 'keyman' insurance settlement would be paid directly to the company. These funds could then be used to mitigate any ensuing financial difficulties or pay for recruiting a replacement for the absent or deceased employee. 

A key person hospitalised by critical illness, moreover, may recover and return to work. In these circumstances, the insurance payout could fund their temporary replacement or make up for any loss of revenue the business bears as a result of their absence.  Subject to underwriting, insurers are in a position to provide cover for Covid-19 conditions.  

For more information on keyman insurance, contact our specialist Nick Skipper.

Risk management concerns: We're here to help

Find out more about our risk management services here. If you'd like to discuss any of the risk management topics covered in this post in more detail then please speak to your usual CLEAR representative or get in touch with us here.