In the second of a two-part series, we dive into what exactly location-based data can unlock, the reality that coronavirus may be here to stay, and what organizations can do if a data-overhaul is not an immediate, or near term, possibility.
Last week, in part one, we examined the critical role that location-based data plays in an organization’s response, planning, and reaction to crisis situations. One of the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic being that it is a location-by-location challenge, specific geographical information can be key in navigating the patchwork of the United States’ federal response to the outbreak.
This is the dark side of federalism: it encourages a patchwork response to epidemics. States and localities may decide to implement aggressive disease-mitigation measures, but need not do so. The defining feature of the U.S. response to Covid-19 therefore continues to be localized action against a threat that lost its local character weeks ago.—The New England Journal of Medicine
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In the first of a two-part series, we examine the critical role that location-based data plays in an organization’s crisis response efforts and how compounding crises lead to an even more immediate need.
While initial outbreaks of COVID-19 hit densely-populated, urban areas of the United States the hardest, the coronavirus is now beginning to surge across less populated parts of America.
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The alarming spread of the new coronavirus and its potential effect on the global business environment can be seen in recent financial market adjustments. The hyper-quick emergence of this risk is likely to spur a number of questions for risk managers whose organizations have international reach:
- What happens if the coronavirus expands and becomes a pan-Asia crisis?
- What do we do if our supply chain in large parts of Asia is threatened?
- Does potential market upheaval have the potential to threaten critical capital projects?
- Will this disrupt R&D that relies on technical research taking place in the region?
As troubling as these questions are, there is a wider view that is potentially even more unsettling.
The curse of living in interesting times
“May you live in interesting times” is a proverb that was supposedly intended as a curse upon enemy states. Recent events demonstrate why that should not be considered a blessing. Houston endured a 500-year flood three years in a row. Preemptive power shutdowns last year in Northern California illustrate the effects of colliding risks (wildfires from extended droughts and inadequate energy infrastructure) on the business environment. Geopolitical risks with far-reaching ramifications (from the unknowns of Brexit to the escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran) are mushrooming.
Applying a traditional approach to enterprise risk management in such turbulent times could lead to disastrous results. Fortunately, the coronavirus crisis offers three valuable lessons that could help all organizations be much better prepared to face similar challenges.
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Winter Storm Harper took its toll on large parts of the Midwest and Northeast, causing several deaths, hundreds of car accidents, and power outages that affected tens of thousands, according to the Weather Channel.
Extreme weather—from blizzards to hurricanes to wildfires—wreaks havoc on businesses in every region of the country, with damage having a lasting effect. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Security, 40% of small businesses do not reopen after a severe weather event. This is in part due to a failure to have an actionable plan in place. As we discussed in Step up your disaster preparedness, don’t wait for the news report, organizations can get tripped up when there’s confusion over who should act and what those actions should be during a weather crisis. Without clear plans, practice, and timely alerts, critical resources may fail to execute.
Origami’s cloud-based RMIS continues to make weather preparedness a priority. With our new proximity search feature, audit functionality, and flexible data integration, you’ll be able to quickly identify major weather risks and effectively communicate how key parties can take action.
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The risk management industry certainly had an eventful 2018. As the calendar closes out another year, we’ve picked five prominent trends that may impact your organization in the upcoming year.
1. Increasing Damage from Natural Disasters and Extreme Weather
The 2018 list of major natural disasters is notable for its scope and intensity. From Japan’s flooding and mudslides to California’s wildfires to an unprecedented global heatwave, records for severity and damage were shattered throughout the year. One article noted that, “Nationwide, 8.5 million acres, an area larger than Maryland, have burned this year to date.” Unfortunately, extreme weather and increased natural disasters are becoming more commonplace.
In the article Step up your disaster preparedness, don’t wait for the news report, we discussed how to combine audit technology with weather alerts to develop a preparedness solution that works in real-time and ensures your organization is tested and ready when the next emergency hits.
2. Telematics Emerging in Fleet Management
Consumer adoption of telematics continued at a strong pace, particularly with drivers in the youngest age range, where some studies estimate four in five drivers have telematic-based policies. While the use of telematics to enhance fleet management programs has been underway for some time, the value of this data is becoming more clear.
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Whether it’s boxes of paper forms that must be keyed into a system, pouring over spreadsheets to verify that critical requirements are met and up to date, or sending yet another email to request missing information, there’s almost always room for improvement when it comes to the management of vendor-related data and workflows.
From the submission of application forms through to the evaluation of vendor performance, businesses can add to the value of their risk management information system (RMIS) by using the system to transform their approach to vendor management. In this post, we look at four examples of how a cloud-based RMIS like Origami Risk can contribute to cost control, service excellence, and risk mitigation.
1. Streamline the vendor intake process
Simplifying the vendor application process reduces the amount of time staff spend engaged in time-consuming, repetitive activities like keying data and sending multiple emails to chase down missing details. This process can also be the first step in defining expectations and building a relationship with potential vendors. After all, as 6 essential steps for managing vendors makes clear, “A good vendor relationship starts well before you ever sign a contract with a vendor.”
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The devastating impact of Hurricane Florence has led many to examine their organization’s disaster preparedness efforts. Aside from the sheer size and scope of this storm, additional factors further complicated preparations.
First, a rapid change in conditions over the past two weeks led to a rapid increase in storm activity—as many as six tropical cyclones were active in the northern hemisphere simultaneously (three of which were in the North Atlantic). Second, as Florence neared landfall, a dramatic shift in the forecasted impact areas prompted a last minute update of contingency plans. These challenges, combined with the trend of slower, more damaging storms, raises the bar for how sophisticated systems need to be in order to manage these risks.
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The enormous Mendocino Complex fire has burned more than 450,000 acres and still isn’t fully contained. Hurricane Lane unleashed historic levels of damage in Hawaii. Both of these natural disasters earned significant media coverage and mark the type of events typically considered when trying to manage the risk from natural disasters.
Assessing the most common threats
The largest disasters dominate media coverage. Yet when it comes to insurable losses, the factors most likely to cause damage to an organization may not always be the ones making headlines. To effectively manage these risks, risk managers must first focus on these events through the lens of preventing losses and preserving business continuity.
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Munich Re reports that 2017 was the second most expensive year for natural disasters ever recorded, with overall global losses estimated at over $360B. For the U.S., last year’s severe storms resulted in a share of losses that was significantly higher (50%), than the long-term average (32%). A recently published Business Insurance special report cites estimates of insured losses of $15.4B–with $12B caused by inland flooding–stemming from Hurricane Harvey, alone.
Ernst Rauch, head of Munich Re’s Corporate Climate Center, holds that these patterns are likely to continue. “We have a new normal. 2017 was not an outlier.”
A quick look at the weather on the first day of Spring seems to underscore that point.
- Businesses in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast expect to be digging out from the fourth winter storm in 3 weeks.
- High winds and hail are causing damage across the Southeast.
- Flash flood watches have been issued by the NWS in parts of Southern California.
Is your business prepared for the “new normal”?
With large-scale natural disasters becoming increasingly common and more costly, a renewed focus on business continuity and disaster recovery is essential. Preparing for these events, along with the ability to rebound from them, are a factor on which businesses must now be able to compete. … read more
2017 was an eventful year in business. From record-setting natural disasters, to high profile announcements on technology choices, to the expansion of self-service technology further into all sectors of business, businesses faced several key challenges this year. We’ve put together a list of trends in 2018 that may emerge from these issues.
Renewed Focus on Disaster Recovery/Continuity
With a record-setting hurricane season and overall losses estimated at over $360B, Munich Re reports that 2017 was the second most expensive year for natural disasters ever recorded. In the US alone, fires ravaged California and the pacific northwest, floods and hurricanes struck the southeast, and no fewer than five major tornado/hail outbreaks occurred, each causing more than $1B in losses. Globally, the past year’s other disasters included typhoons, severe flooding, earthquakes and volcano eruptions. Ernst Rauch, head of Munich Re’s Corporate Climate Center, stated that these patterns were likely to continue. “We have a new normal. 2017 was not an outlier.”
As businesses are faced with operating in environments where large scale natural disasters are increasingly common, expect to see a renewed focus on disaster recovery and business continuity. Rebounding from these events and returning to normal operations will become another factor on which businesses need to compete. One of our clients used Origami Risk to monitor and track the progress of relocations and reopenings after the floodings in Houston, demonstrating an innovative way to utilize RMIS technology to overcome these challenges.
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