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As promised, we have taken the 3rd quarter of the Crisis Management Planning Calendar, broken it down and elaborated on best practices for these three months. To ensure you have been keeping up with your crisis management planning, we’re also sending out monthly checklists. Visit our Year of Checklists page to download July’s checklist and the checklists you may have missed in the earlier months.

Now, let’s take a look at July, August and September in more detail:

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July

Review your insurance coverage. Be deliberate and hold your team accountable for actually pulling out your insurance policies for review and meeting with your insurance company and broker to discuss. Identify the liabilities for which you are insured; whether you feel the insurance is adequate for the purposes of your operation. How has the amount of available insurance coverage been calculated and has anything changed in your company since the insurance policy was issued? Meet with your broker and legal team to discuss the liabilities to which you are exposed and whether the amount of insurance coverage is sufficient for your operation.

Determine how much insurance coverage is available for the costs and expenses that will be incurred in handling a disaster. Is the cost of representation at official inquiries, inquests and the accident investigation provided for, and if so, is the provision sufficient? Are the legal costs of defending criminal proceedings by the company, the directors, the officers and employees of the company also adequately covered? The cost of defense of criminal proceedings can be particularly expensive so consider checking the likely cost with criminal lawyers at the various route stations, ports, and other areas where your organization operates.

Your insurer will probably have the right to appoint solicitors to deal with, and if necessary, defend liability claims against the insurance company. Review the extent to which the lawyer will consult you in making decisions as to handling claims and, for example, making advance payments. The timeliness and thoughtful care that goes into the decision to make advance payments can have a meaningful impact on the manner in which the response is viewed by the families. It is important to remember that these decisions can have a significant reputational impact.

Additionally, this is a good time to draft and agree upon family communications regarding sympathy letters, hardship or assistance payments, and information about the claims process. Many solicitors are hesitant to do this until the time of an incident. In our experience, that is impractical and often results in communications which are poorly received by the families. This is an important area to consider and reevaluate on an annual basis.

The best strategy is to meet regularly with these partners (brokers, insurers and legal teams) before an incident so you can fully understand each group’s primary goals and how everyone can best work together in a crisis.


August

Review your emergency response plan in conjunction with other internal policies including business continuity, community affairs, environmental and financial plans, government affairs, marketing, safety and security. Are the plans consistent with each other? Are the same duties and responsibilities assigned to the same individuals in each case? Are the necessary connections made between the various departments to ensure efficient decision-making and coordination? Are the roles of the different parties sufficiently defined?

When you plan emergency response exercises, include representatives from different functional areas of your organization so they are aware of your plans and can decide how it may affect their own areas and associated contingency plans. It is great idea when holding exercises to include representatives from the various groups so they can walk through all plans. It allows everyone to see where plans overlap, where they contradict each other, etc.

Various internal and external parties should be consulted in relation to the diverse aspects of implementation of the plans.


September

Hold a full-day input-response exercise, testing specific elements of crisis management and crisis communications. Conduct an after action review following the exercise and schedule follow up training immediately after to solve problems while they’re top of mind.

An input-response exercise should be the culmination of an existing program supported by your company and by the companies you partner with for additional training support. Run against a pre-planned scenario and in line with pre-designated objectives and learning outcomes, the input-response exercise will focus on specific areas of the Emergency Response Plan and can incorporate elements of Crisis Communications.

It is of vital importance to conduct a thorough post-exercise review. Initially, this comprises “hot wash-up” structured debriefings (either centralized or decentralized) of all exercise players and subsequent collection of participating exercise teams’ written exercise feedback.

Feedback should be incorporated into a detailed Post-Exercise Report (PXR) with appropriate recommendations, followed up by the planning/implementation of further crisis management training (e.g., course, seminar, and/or tabletop or input-response exercise) to address potential for improvement while lessons learned are still fresh.

Interested in more information about holding input-response exercises or other training? Let Kenyon help. Click here to learn more about the various training programs we provide.

Don’t forget to download July’s checklist to ensure you are on the road to properly organizing your crisis management plans.