No business owner can fully predict how his or her company will be impacted by severe weather. A storm could simply blow over, or it could wreak havoc for days and keep employees from being able to safely travel into the office.
While it is fine to hope for the former situation, it is wise to prepare for the latter. With technology evolving at an increasingly fast pace, it is even easier for employees to work remotely, which could be a good option for a business continuity plan. Or, a company can establish hot sites can keep workers safe as they wait for the main location to reopen.
For example, New Jersey-based insurance agent Michael McMahon told Property Casualty 360 about his own experience during Hurricane Sandy. In the week leading up to the superstorm's arrival, McMahon said that his company purchased mobile hotspots so employees could still connect to the computer system if the internet went down.
Additionally, McMahon and other company leaders purchased generators, so their computers and hot spots could still function if and when their area lost power.
With these precautions in place, the insurance agent said that his organization was able to access client records successfully post-Sandy. His company was also able to connect with fellow insurers through the computer system. This all happened in spite of downed power lines, flooding and overall chaos, he said.
Deb Smallwood, founder of SMA research, told the news source that she estimates only slightly more than 25 percent of agencies are fully automated. Furthermore, slightly less than 50 percent have "old, antiquated systems. While most have an agency management system that may not be updated."
While it's not required for all companies to have a completely automated system, it is important to have an up-to-date business continuity plan. That way, an organization can safely continue operations during severe weather.