Confirmed cases and reported deaths continue to rise in the emerging coronavirus outbreak originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan. While most reported cases so far have been in China, others have been reported in Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, UK, and the US.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has not declared a global public health emergency but considers the outbreak “a high risk, regionally and globally.” Employers should take action now to protect their people and operations.
Lim Sek Seong | Vice President, BCM & Resilience Service Leader (Asia), Marsh Risk Consulting
Q1: What does a robust business continuity plan for COVID-19 look like?
Q2: Under what circumstances should employers activate a split team working arrangement?
Q3: What alternative approaches may be deployed in cases where employees are not allocated laptops or notebooks?
Neil Narale | Partner, Mercer Marsh Benefits Singapore
Q1: In times of a pandemic outbreak, what does robust corporate medical and travel coverage look like?
Q2: Does private insurance extend coverage to COVID-19 cases?
Q3: What options can employers deploy to help employees normally not covered by corporate insurance?
The impact from a potentially worsening Wuhan coronavirus outbreak to your business could be severe, but taking these steps now can help you better prepare, plan, and protect people and operations.
Review, test, and potentially update critical plans related to business continuity, crisis management, and crisis communications. While examining existing plans, consider the potential effects a worsening outbreak could have on employees, revenue, suppliers, reputations, and more and work with other stakeholders to prepare accordingly.
Pay particular attention to:
Organizational preparedness to manage a disease outbreak like the CoronaVirus includes emergency response, business continuity, crisis management, and crisis communications. As you monitor the progress of emerging pandemics or epidemics, review, exercise, and update or otherwise adjust response plans, including crisis management, crisis communications, and business continuity plans.
To remain resilient, answers to these critical questions come to the fore. For example:
Develop clearly defined pandemic response escalation thresholds specific to your operations so that individual facilities, divisions, and regions can identify potential health threats early and act appropriately to protect your employees, businesses, and revenue streams.
Also review critical suppliers and vendors and potential operational or sales impacts if they were to be affected by an outbreak, while also considering alternative and/or geographically dispersed suppliers and vendors.
Costs of epidemics and pandemics are high. For businesses – both large and small - potential risks include:
Our Pandemic Readiness: Risk Finance and Mitigation Strategies report gives solutions to insuring against pandemic risks.