Are a Pandemic and Political Instability Enough Proof for You to Focus on Risk Preparedness in 2021 and Beyond?

By: | December 6, 2020

Steve serves as Senior Vice President, Risk Control for CNA. In this role, he is responsible for strategic direction and leadership of Risk Control for CNA's $2.8 billion commercial property and casualty business, which is comprised of Business Insurance (smaller commercial accounts) and Commercial Insurance (middle market and risk management accounts). This includes developing Risk Control products and services that align with CNA's commercial underwriting strategies.

If we learned anything from 2020, it is that the unexpected should absolutely be expected, and the need for risk preparedness is paramount.

From a global health pandemic to record-setting hurricane and wildfire seasons, communities and businesses from coast to coast are experiencing unprecedented loss while watching their risk profiles increase.

The human and physical impacts have been widespread, affecting every aspect of how we work and live.

The challenges on business operations have been substantial. Some businesses were forced to shut their doors and others faced employee layoffs or had to reinvent the way work gets done. Many of these businesses’ risks are expected to continue as we head into 2021.

While it is impossible to eliminate the possibility of business disruptions, you can prepare for them now. To grow and thrive in an uncertain risk environment, business leaders need to prepare in advance in order to be resilient to disruptive incidents. It goes beyond just having documented strategies and plans.

Business resiliency is an ongoing practice that enables your organization to endure any type of disruption, respond effectively when one occurs, and improve after each incident.

Take Time to Prepare

Documentation will not save your organization on its own; trained and capable leaders will also be one key to success.

The truth is, when a disruption occurs there may not be time to find the document, read it and apply it to the situation at hand. Therefore, it is important for leadership to properly plan, identifying risks, developing all-hazard strategies and ensuring these findings are effectively communicated to the entire staff.

This way, the team will feel ready and prepared to execute the plans to any crisis that arises.

Be Ready to Respond

Every business — and every business interruption — is unique.

No matter what specific disruption affects your organization, you’ll be in a much better position to respond if you’ve prepared in advance. That means having pre-planned emergency response procedures to protect your workforce, business recovery and restart steps for high value time-sensitive processes, as well as business recovery strategies for the company’s most vital assets.

With preparation, businesses can experience less stress, shorter response times and a faster, easier path to get business back to its customary operations.

Never Stop Improving

After dealing with the negative aspects of a business interruption, an organization will be left with something positive — important lessons that can greatly improve response capabilities for the future.

To improve business resiliency, it is important for leadership to capture the real-time experience, the lessons as well as the practical actions from each incident response effort. Then, leadership should update plans based on key learnings and be sure to share these documented lessons across the organization.

Communication to all employees is when and how real change can happen, increasing confidence in your leadership response and preparedness programs.

As we head into the final weeks of 2020, be sure that your organization is prepared for the continuing impacts from this year’s monumental risks as well as the possibility of new risks to come in 2021.

Take the time now to gather all key stakeholders, discuss the state of the organization, analyze successes and identify areas for improving risk management and resilience capabilities across the enterprise.

Now is the time to establish or refine the risk management framework for your business based on the unprecedented events of 2020. &

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