The ravages of Hurricane Matthew, the costliest Atlantic hurricane since Superstorm Sandy, are prompting businesses to rethink their natural hazards preparedness. More than one in four respondents to a survey of employees in the areas affected by the storm claimed they believe their companies will increase investment in this area.
The study, conducted by FM Global, also showed that, while respondents gave their companies mostly A’s and B’s for pre-storm preparedness, nearly two out of five employees (38%) said Hurricane Matthew interrupted normal business operations, and over a quarter (26%) of employees said their companies lost customers or orders as a result of the storm.
Adverse weather has consistently been a top ten threat for business continuity professionals, according to the Business Continuity Institute’s annual Horizon Scan Report. In the latest edition, more than half of respondents to a global survey expressed concern about the prospect of this type of disruptive event materialising. When you analyse the results further to only include respondents from countries where these types of events are relatively frequent, countries such as the United States, the level of concern increases considerably.
“Horizon scanning is a fundamental part of business continuity planning,” said Patrick Alcantara DBCI, Senior Research Associate at the BCI and author of the Horizon Scan Report. “Investment needs to be put into preparing for disruptive events prior to them occurring, not after. Organizations need to assess the threats they could be exposed to in the future, and then put measures in place to ensure they can still function should they occur.”
“Hurricane Matthew was a catastrophic event of major proportions, and disruptions of all kinds were to be expected,” said Brion Callori, senior vice president of engineering and research at FM Global. “However, we do believe the majority of loss is preventable, and tools and solutions exist to both understand what might occur during a hurricane and be prepared to mitigate the effects. We applaud new investment in resilience since it could make all the difference in the fate of a business, including revenue, market share, shareholder value and reputation. It’s only a matter of time before the next severe storm strikes.”