Severe weather: Top risk for organizations

I’ll let the scientists of the world argue over whether climate change is driving more frequent and severe weather patterns. What I will argue is that any organization that is unprepared for severe weather events—regardless of frequency—is putting its business on the line.

Plenty of recent reports, like the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016, have indicated severe weather should be a concern for organizations. The business risks are many, but commonly come in the form of costly property damage and halted business operations. To overcome these challenges, an organization must proactively manage risks and promptly handle claims resulting from severe weather.

This, of course, is no small feat. But a risk management information system (RMIS) can help. With an RMIS you can track severe weather that may impact your facilities in real time—even if you’re across the country or around the world from a location when severe weather strikes.

An RMIS can automatically notify you if weather bears down on any U.S. locations established within your system. And because those alerts are triggered from the same system where all property contact, construction, occupancy, protection and exposure (COPE) data is housed, you can quickly get an understanding of what’s at stake. From there, the system can trigger explicit instructions to the appropriate personnel on how to react.

With real-time information at your fingertips, and without the burden of constantly monitoring weather events across your property portfolio, you can deploy your disaster preparedness plan without delay—hopefully giving you a chance to better protect workers, properties and assets.

For example, if a healthcare organization is notified by its RMIS of impending strong storms that could produce flooding at one of its facilities, it might have more time to mobilize its team to get patients to safety or move critical equipment from lower level floors in the interest of preventing damage.

When claims do result from severe weather, an RMIS can help keep the claims process moving. More than anything an RMIS simplifies the claims process by allowing users to report, monitor and communicate claims data all from one system.

For instance, a county government client used its RMIS to track fleet claims after more than 60 police and parks department vehicles were damaged in a hailstorm. All the claims were tied together so the client was able to quickly determine the overall financial impact of the hailstorm and the multiple claims it produced.

In addition, the RMIS triggered automatic communications regarding repairs and which cars were fixed. As a result, the county could efficiently schedule repairs and rotate vehicles in and out of service without decommissioning all the cars at once. This minimized business interruption and kept them in compliance with public service requirements to have a certain number of vehicles operational at all times.

All it takes is one severe weather event to a bring an organization to a screeching halt. As such, the debate centered on the increasing frequency and severity of weather is almost irrelevant when it comes to protecting your business.

In the event of severe weather, don’t be caught off-guard without an action plan to reduce damage or the ability to efficiently manage and monitor claims. Make sure your RMIS has the ability to help you head off these risks.