– February 10, 2010
Today much of the East Coast is under a blizzard warning. Yesterday, in anticipation of the storm many cities took preemptive measures to be prepared by closing schools, readying plows and salt trucks, and changing parking regulations. Airlines and other business took similar measures to ensure the safety of workers. All of this activity reminded me about something that is often overlooked – claims departments also need to be able to handle their own offices being closed due to natural or other events.
Major disasters are not always the reason why you need a disaster recovery plan. The claims department should have a plan to manage situations where their office is unexpectedly closed, unavailable, or no longer usable. Whether it’s a snow storm or a burst pipe that floods the office, being prepared for the predictable or unpredictable events is important. And, like changing your batteries in smoke detectors when the clocks change, disaster plans should be reviewed regularly.
Is your office ready for the unexpected?
In my career disaster plans had to be initiated on 2 occasions (9-11 and the East Coast blackout of 2002) and I was also heavily involved in pandemic planning for the Avian flu scare. In all of these situations our claims department was ready. We were prepared because of planning and our technology. Our claims system and claims files were all electronic, off-site and accessible an remotely. Remote access was a key component to managing any kind of contingency where an office has to be closed. This ability to continue to manage claims when others have to close is a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Are you ready for the next incident that shuts down your office? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do we have a disaster and recovery plan in place?
- When was the last time we reviewed our plan?
- If we had to close for more than one day could we still manage claims? What about a week or more?
- How many of our claims staff can access the system from home?
- How much information is available electronically?
- De we have paper claim files or do we store them electronically?
- Do we store our files locally or off-site?
- Do we have back-up data? Do we store our back-up data off-site?