Risks to an increasingly modernized, technological and integrated society have greatly increased our threat of events with catastrophic consequences. Frequency and scale of these events as well as natural disasters are increasing along with the economic cost. In just a few examples, hurricane Sandy's estimated damage could reach $50 billion as reported by The New York Times and growing product recalls due to complexities of supply and demand, stringent regulatory laws, customization and an educated / aware consumer can well exceed the $100 million dollar mark. Industry risk management teams need to take notice and have a quick, reliable and skilled consequence management strategy ready to impact the event.
Whether a risk management team is at a large complex entity, mid-sized industry or small business, the need for a quick, dependable, thorough and well-planned consequence strategy is essential to assess exposures and maintain an acceptable outcome level. Rapid response to serious events is vital. A controlled and well-managed response to a catastrophic loss mitigates damages, protects the employee and brand, and provides immediate assistance at every critical stage to all parties.
In any catastrophic event, legal expertise and key communication is needed and must be reliable and continual. Will your emergency response program be there for you in a crisis? Here is a checklist of things we offer our clients at Sedgwick that may also be things you can consider:
- A managing attorney should be designated to assist in the assessment of the event and exposure, developing strategy, internal business or external media responses and determining what additional actions need to take place, as well as providing immediate attorney-client privilege.
- Every three hours for the first 24 hours of the event, the emergency response attorney will send out "flash reports" detailing the investigation and any critical issues as they unfold.
- Various emergency response team members are deployed as needed, including field adjusters, photographers, security staff, environmental response technicians, accident reconstructionists, nurses or crisis care experts.
- During the first 24-72 hours, the emergency response team will work with the risk management team to assist in making critical decisions.
The bottom line is, when a serious claim occurs your organization needs to know it is prepared for the worst-case scenario. These events can be difficult to anticipate and respond to, even for the most seasoned risk management team. We believe that getting the right people in the right place at the right time are the keys. A well-managed response to a catastrophic event can significantly reduce exposure and protect a client's brand. That alone is invaluable.
Emergency response cannot be an afterthought. What is your greatest concern about your organization’s ability to deal with an emergency response event?
Mario Rodriguez, Director National Technical Compliance