First there were the snowstorms this winter—dumping up to three feet of snow on areas that weren’t prepared for such amounts. Meanwhile, Florida had a long run of freezing temperatures, ruining some of its citrus and strawberry crops.
Then there was rain. For days, torrents of rain drowned the East coast. Thousands of people were without power as soggy tree roots, loosened by soft, muddy soil toppled onto power lines, homes and cars. What a mess.
If there was ever a time for solid contingency plans, it is now. An earthquake, tornado or hurricane generally come to mind with disaster planning, but sometimes it’s the unexpected flood, snow storm or prolonged winds that can bring down a business or municipality.
I’m reminded of a study done in 2009 by Agility Recovery Solutions that found small to medium sized companies woefully lacking in their contingency planning.
This doesn’t mean, however, that risk managers of large companies should start celebrating.
Yes, it was found that 90 percent of smaller companies with more than 100 employees spend less than a day per month maintaining their contingency plans; and yes, one in five spend no time on their plans.
But while 32 percent of larger companies spend one-to-10 days per month updating their contingency plans, a huge 44 percent spend less than one day per month.
Importantly, the survey found that the same old issues persist. One of the biggest is still getting buy-in from the C-level, regardless of a company’s size. Executives continue their hesitation in acknowledging the importance of contingency planning.
So this is a predicament for risk managers, still trying to get the attention of the C-suite. They know that should a disaster strike, the company or municipality might not be prepared.
This is a tough position to be in, especially since the risk manager most likely will be a target for blame if the organization is not adequately prepared.
What do risk managers need to do to get the attention this issue deserves?