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Aon comments on swine flu outbreak


Alex Hindson, head of enterprise risk management at Aon Global Risk Consulting, said: "Health risks are unpredictable but given the possibility of a Swine Fever pandemic developing, organisations need to carefully review their Business Continuity Management arrangements to protect their employees - an organisationís critical assets - and ensure they have considered the potential for staff absence. Media pressure is likely to make people think very carefully before travelling on busy public transport systems and organisations could find themselves without key staff for protracted periods, whether ill, looking after relatives or merely being cautious.

Timing is everything for businesses. Given the financial crisis impacting businessesí operations, having a robust continuity plan in place could be the make or break for companies responding to both issues simultaneously and surviving intact. Confidence in business is currently very brittle. If your stakeholders, be they employees, customers, business partners, shareholders or insurers do not believe you are well prepared and resilient, they make take their activity elsewhere.

The world was expecting a bird flu pandemic to originate in South East Asia and was lulled into a false sense of security by the difficulties in transmission from birds to man. Given the relatively porous border between Mexico and the United States, and the likelihood of cases appearing in the UK, companies need to consider these key action points:

1. Is your business continuity plan up to date and are key staff trained in their roles?
2. Does the plan address employee absence effectively and consider the implications of remote working and hygiene control?
3. Are your plans sufficiently well defined and robust to convince your key stakeholders you are looking after their best interests?


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