The importance of a robust contingency plan for disease outbreaks was highlighted in a recent Farmers Weekly article. Aside from recognising costs associated with the risks described, this story examined how a Yorkshire-based family-owned poultry business had undertaken a risk management exercise to determine the risk exposure of their business to a disease outbreak. You can read the full article here.
The article focuses on the development of contingency plans from a specific Avian Influenza perspective to protect a complex business. However, the principles of the risk assessment and the detailed planning processes relating to the response to an Avian Influenza outbreak can have generic application;
- Businesses with a risk exposure to other diseases.
- Disease exposures from a third-party business in close proximity to your own.
- Interconnected third-party disease exposures such as from deliveries/collections and representatives from integrators or their representatives.
How the risks have changed
The potential impacts of a disease outbreak to a business operation have significantly increased over the last 20 years. Many factors are contributing to a higher risk environment for disease,
- There is now an increased exposure to diseases that historically were not present where your business operates. Outbreaks of African Swine Fever, Foot and Mouth, Avian Influenza, Bluetongue and Schmallenberg diseases are just a few examples. Each disease has a different government response depending on where in the world your business operates. This changed environment requires businesses to plan ahead. Lessons learned by a disease outbreak in one industry can be transferred to other industries.
- Once fire and electrical assessments were a novelty. Now, they have become part of the normal business operation. Disease risk management should be considered the new fire and electrical assessment – and its importance is increasing.
- By assessing the disease risk to your business, you can consider the numerous ways that your business could be impacted.
- The direct financial effect of reduced turnover or increased costs such as Secondary Cleansing and Disinfection.
- The opportunity and cost presented by possible mitigation steps that could easily be implemented immediately, or assistance with maintaining business operations during an outbreak.
Once the full potential impact of a disease is understood, consideration can be given to how the business would recover and how long it would take which in turn leads to the development of contingency/business recovery plans which must be cost effective AND practical.
The specialty team at White Oak has developed an alternative insurance solution that can be aligned with your contingency and business recovery plans and your appetite for risk transfer. Find out more about how we provide bespoke and individually tailored solutions to meet our clients’ needs here.