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UK: Are your SME clients really prepared for a disaster?

  • Office Insurance
The Knowledge
18th May 2023

The Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses of all kinds to test their emergency preparedness. Practically overnight, organisations had to pivot to new ways of managing work and staff. Now that three years have passed since the world seemed to shut down, leaders of the businesses that have persevered – particularly small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) – may feel resilient and capable of managing a crisis.

Unfortunately, this is a false sense of security. The pandemic was a specific type of crisis. While workers had to transition from office to home during lockdowns, their offices were still standing. No flood or fire destroyed their servers, preventing them from accessing business-critical information. Their offices didn’t sustain physical damage, making it impossible to retrieve documents stored onsite. If such events were to happen, a business might have to relocate staff to temporary offices, find space for client meetings or events, and manage a host of telecommunications and IT needs – and all without shaking the confidence of their customers and clients.

Provide the comfort of protection in a crisis

Businesses can’t choose what kind of crisis they may face. That’s why Travelers is now providing support from First Recovery, a disaster recovery and continuity service for businesses, as a new benefit in our eTrade Office cover for SME businesses.

“First Recovery makes it possible for a business to continue operations without missing a beat following a disaster,” says Dan Edge, Portfolio Manager at Travelers Europe. “Travelers is one of the only insurers offering this benefit, which is included as standard as part of our Office product at no extra charge. It’s an easy win for both brokers and insureds.”

“We’ve found that 80-90% of SMEs aren’t thinking about disaster recovery – especially in the current economic climate. Their focus is on running their business in the face of high inflation, supply chain snags, geopolitical conflicts and other post-pandemic challenges. They can’t take time to contemplate the what-ifs. But without a comprehensive and stress-tested disaster recovery plan – or access to support from a company that provides one – an SME stands a large chance of having business disrupted for a period of days or weeks (at best) or going out of business altogether should a serious incident occur at their premises.”

First Recovery in action – a case study

For a full-service property company based in Liverpool, the need to be able to pivot to a reliable disaster recovery plan became clear following a large fire at their head office on the night of 1 December. The blaze rendered the property unfit for continued operations just as the business was preparing for its busiest day of the year – 4 December, the day they were holding a major property auction. A large number of existing and potential clients would be attempting to call their business in the two days leading up to the event. Leaders of the business feared their company could be seriously damaged by the disaster.

However, by 11am on 2 December, hours following the fire, First Recovery was notified by its partner insurer’s claims handling agency that their help was needed. By midday, the client’s managing director was in direct contact with a First Recovery disaster event manager who helped the company acquire high-quality offices within half a mile of their head office in Liverpool. First Recovery arranged payment of the initial month’s rent plus two months’ deposit. That afternoon, First Recovery’s IT service partner ensured static IP addresses would be available and identified which PC operating system would best suit the client’s needs.

The following morning at 11am, First Recovery and its IT partner arrived at the new office with the necessary IT equipment. By 2:30pm, the client’s six office staff were working, with their email, internet and phone services all reconnected. About 36 hours after the fire, the head office was back up and running in its new location thanks to First Recovery.

Protection when clients need it most

Your clients may not want to think of needing this kind of protection, but it can sometimes mean the difference between staying in business and not. Because First Recovery is included in Travelers eTrade Office policies as standard, your SME clients can enjoy peace of mind whilst also benefitting from the high levels of protection offered by our core eTrade Office covers.

For Travelers eTrade Office policyholders, the key elements of the First Recovery benefit include:

  • Temporary relocation of the insured’s business and up to 12 employees to one of 500 recovery locations around the UK
  • IT network, broadband, reception and printing facilities provided, so your client can get on with running their business with minimal impact to staff and customers
  • Reinstatement of email domain and redirection of phone calls
  • An event manager who attends the relocation and oversees service delivery on site.

Beyond these protections, there are so many additional benefits to this cover that give an insured peace of mind in the wake of a disaster. First Recovery aims to get the insured’s usual email, website and phones working again within one working day, reducing downtime and significantly increasing the chances of survival for a business. It allows your client to focus on running their business and on reassuring staff and clients that everything is operating as usual. To the outside world, it is as if nothing happened.

First Recovery can save your client money and time. Clients looking for a reliable, tested disaster recovery solution outside of their insurance cover would typically pay at least £15,000 per year for a comparable service for 12 staff from a traditional disaster recovery service provider. First Recovery removes that cost for the client and lays the foundation for a speedier settlement of any loss: In the event of a disaster, the insured can quickly access a fully working office environment, minimising interruption and resulting in a simpler, less involved claim.

Even though First Recovery is available to all Travelers eTrade Office policyholders, it’s not a one-size-fits-all benefit. First Recovery also offers a free online tool to help your client build a professional disaster recovery plan tailored to their business in less than an hour! Their plan is stored online and can be amended at any point.

First Recovery protection can also serve as a seal of approval for businesses. Organisations regulated by bodies such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), for example, must be able to show they have a tested, offsite disaster recovery plan. First Recovery can help provide an FCA-compliant disaster recovery service at no extra cost. Clients who answer tenders can also quote their First Recovery protection as evidence of their preparedness.

Finally, we’re living at a time when businesses must manage multiple threats. Climate change and geopolitical conflict could cause more severe and frequent disruption to infrastructure. Terrorists and other malicious actors continue to plan large-scale events. Simply being able to ‘work from home’ will not protect a company’s IT infrastructure, nor does it enable senior staff to come together to plan the way forward after a disaster.

The First Recovery benefit can provide your SME clients with confidence that they will be able to protect their business, no matter what happens.

To find out more about Travelers eTrade Office and First Recovery cover, visit Dan Edge is a Portfolio Manager for Travelers Europe.

The option to invoke First Recovery at claim stage is at the sole discretion of Travelers.

The information provided in this document is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice nor a recommendation to any individual or business of any product or service. Insurance coverage is governed by the actual terms and conditions of insurance as set out in the policy documentation and not by any of the information in this document.