COVID19 Corporate Checklist

The importance of referencing your corporate checklist to create and maintain office policies.


Listen to the full episode here, or read the full transcript below

Paul Martin: Welcome to Risky Business, Commercial Insurance with Butler Byers. This is Paul Martin, the business commentator here on CKLM joining me today is Colin Rooke, the commercial risk reduction specialist with Butler Byers and we’re getting better at this thing. We’re still not back into the studio yet, but I’ll bet you people are listening who heard us a few weeks back would say, it sounds better today. We’re getting better equipment and better at this Colin.

Colin Rooke: Yeah. I’m trying a new speaker set up, so it’s not so hollow or it doesn’t sound so much like I’m at home.

Paul Martin: Well, it’s kind of the new world for all of us in the business world and those who work in the public sector, whatever, we’re all trying to adjust part of it is, what we’ve been doing. We’re getting better at zooming and teams, meetings and all of this sort of business. And that’s really what I wanted to talk to you about today is the last few weeks or months, I guess we’ve been talking on this show about the sort of COVID checklist stuff that business owners should be going through. And now we’re kind of reaching the end of being prepared to deal with this to now we’re going into the reopening stage. And I’m assuming that kind of results in a change in the way those in charge of businesses have to be looking at the perception or the perspective, I guess, is what I’m looking for, that’s the word I’m looking for, the perspective they take when they’re looking at how they’re going to manage going forward.

We now have sort of like a post coronavirus checklist. So we’ve given you all the tools, how to prep, how to get ready to open.

Colin Rooke: Yeah. So we started off course with really early stages preparation on if you might need to close and then preparation on how to close and how to safeguard the business and keep employees engaged while closed. And then we had sort of a preparation checklist of what to do while prepping to reopen. And just on that same topic, that same vein, we now have sort of like a post coronavirus checklist. So we’ve given you all the tools, how to prep, how to get ready to open. And this checklist now is just more along the lines of now you are open, what have you done? What are you doing? What others are doing.

Colin Rooke: And it’s a simple guide. It’s kind of a yes, no, doesn’t apply type thing, but it’s just taken a lot of the best practices from all industries and put that into a checklist. So again, I’ve talked about how much information that business owners are inundated with around coronavirus. And we’re just trying to make that simple, something that you can look at and just say, yeah, we’re doing that. No, we’re not doing it. We should be doing it. And so I do want to be clear. It is different than the prepping to open checklist, for example, talking about, do I have appropriate supplies? Do I have policies and procedures in place? Now this is saying, okay, I have the supplies. What are you doing with them? Where are they? How often are you using them? Where are the parameters around those?

Paul Martin: It’s interesting, I was going to ask you where you got this information from, you alluded to it, that’s sort of a compilation of best practices, I guess any business owner could do that. You’ve just shortened up the timeframe and just said, here have it, I’ve done all that work for you.

Colin Rooke: Yeah, exactly. There’s nothing on this list that is new or revolutionary. It’s just a compilation of, okay, what are you required to do? What are others doing? What other articles are out there about, all these how to or prep guides? And so we’ve just condensed that and I’ll say a lot of it will seem like common sense, but it’s just, again, a reminder saying are we doing this? Things like, do employees have workstations that are two meters or more apart? So if you have that, of course you click yes and you move on, but you might look at some of the items on this list and say, you know what? We forgot about that one.

Colin Rooke: And with the amount of information, again, that is coming at us all the time, it’s really easy to forget something that might be deemed to be simple, or I can’t believe I forgot that. So again, we’re trying to make that easy for our clients and prospects and listeners, and just allowing you to spend a couple of minutes going through this list, if it’s all yeses great. If you’ve got some nos, just a reminder to, okay, how are we addressing that? And how can we make sure now that our business is open again, that we are ahead of the curve?

Paul Martin: Colin, this is a great service to your clients and to any business, I guess that isn’t necessarily a client. Why would an insurance broker care to do this? I mean, why do you go through this exercise? And we’ve always talked for the last few years on this program about your step-by-step checklists. And just remind me again, why that became an important part of just the way you do business.

Colin Rooke: Yeah. I mean, to the question of why do we care? It’s part of the value that we bring to our clients. So we do often say that we worry about risk, so you don’t have to. Now most of the items on this list will not impact or impede your insurance policy whatsoever. There’s not going to be an exclusion on your policy for having a conversation with remote work employees on expectations. But we realized that at least today, these are the topics that are on the minds of the business owners, organizations, the executives inside that we work with. And so again, if we can do our part to alleviate that risk, to mitigate the risk and allow our clients to focus on what they do best, I think we are doing our job.

Paul Martin: And I guess we’re talking today about the post COVID environment, but you still have all your step by step checklists from all the other things that we’ve talked about over the years from cybersecurity to employee engagement, to pick a topic, I guess, is just something that you’ve always done. What are you kind of hearing from the business community and your contacts now, how much trepidation is there or just basically unknowns as we go forward into this post COVID environment. Nobody really in business was around for the last big pandemic. So this is all new territory for us and what are you hearing back from business owners on this?

Colin Rooke: We are hearing a lot of the unknown, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to what the next month will look like, three months will look like, how this next year will go. And so I think, again, we spend a lot of time just trying to alleviate any stress that we can by working proactively, we don’t know if there’s going to be a second or a third wave, but what we do know is as this continues, we are going to continue to make sure we can provide our clients or prospects with as much information as they need to help navigate through that.

Paul Martin: You mentioned the possibility of a second wave, it’s something we hear about, but it’s kind of esoteric. And maybe we can dig into that a little bit deeper at some point, but we’ve got to take a little break here right now. So before I jump into a completely new topic, let’s just take a couple of minutes here. We’re going to have a break. You’re listening to Risky Business, Commercial Insurance with Butler Byers. This is Paul Martin and in studio with me is Colin Rooke the commercial risk reduction specialist with Butler Byers. I’m going to take a break back after this.

Paul Martin: Welcome back to Risky Business, Commercial Insurance with Butler Byers. Paul Martin, your business commentator on CKLM as your host as always and joining me Colin Rooke, the commercial risk reduction specialist with Butler Byers, just before the break, we were talking about the potential of a second wave and those kinds of things. Is that a topic of consideration right now? I mean, how’s the insurance industry looking at this? What are you hearing for business people?

Colin Rooke: It is, and we’ve talked a lot about the topic business interruption insurance, and we have had a lot of requests about pandemic insurance. Is it available now? Will it be available now? And of course the rationale behind that is will it be a second wave or will there’ll be future pandemics? Of course, it’s top of mind now. So then we’ve got a lot of concern around that and again that’s why the preparation is so important. So when it comes to the topic of business interruption, I don’t see that changing in the industry anytime soon, especially with the pandemic being so fresh. And I think the concern out there is will this be available for next time? And of course I can’t speak on behalf of every insurance market in Canada.

Colin Rooke: But if you were in the pandemic business and you had a business interruption from a pandemic, you’ve just paid out an awful lot to the business owners in Canada. So if you think, well, would anyone be ready for a second wave and be selling that coverage now? I mean, it’s probably not likely, but it’s certainly what comes up when we talk about the second wave. And then I think two, just preparation for that, what if we go back into lockdown? What if I’m returning back to work and then what do I do if we have to go back home again, so to speak, how do we support ourselves? What do we do on the employee benefits and retirement side? So there’s a lot of concern around there.

Paul Martin: Well, I guess what I’m hearing you say is if I’m a business owner and your best guidance is that the insurance industry is not going to step up and provide any kind of coverage anytime soon for interruption or pandemic related interruption. That really means I’m self-insuring. So as a business owner, I guess I better get my head around that. And that means having a talk with you so that you can guide me and steer me through this step by step plan to make the best possible preparations I can to be ready if that eventuality hits us.

What I’m hearing you say is if I’m a business owner and your best guidance is that the insurance industry is not going to step up and provide any kind of coverage anytime soon for interruption or pandemic related interruption. That really means I’m self-insuring.

Colin Rooke: Yeah. I mean, if you think about it, it’d be like calling your broker while your home is on fire and saying, I would like to purchase a fire insurance policy, I mean, unfortunately, coronavirus is out there, so there’s not going to be I don’t want to say any, but not many insurance companies that would jump to provide business interruption for something that’s again, currently taking place and along that lines to Paul we’ve talked a lot about reputation, risk in the past and another concern that we see is, okay, what do I do if I’m responsible or I’m the outbreak center that is all over the news of course, you hear about various organizations that will have outbreaks inside the plant or in the organization.

Colin Rooke: And it is a concern and it’s something that should be given a lot of thought, do I have a public relations plan in place? Have I thought about what we would do if inside our accounting firm, we had 15 employees contract coronavirus. Now we do have a checklist for that, but it’s a little more than just sort of going through the motions of what we’ll do. It’s really thinking about your brand and the reputation associated with it. Speaking just even from the Butler Byers perspective we’re very concerned and we don’t want to be the brokerage that is responsible for several people getting sick. So we’re very cautious about how we’re handling, absolutely everything, but again it’s part of that communication strategy, thinking about reputation risk.

Paul Martin: We’ve talked about reputation risk in many of the previous and earlier shows, but I just think in the last few months, how many times that topic has come up, whether it’s systemic racism, black lives matter, here’s our corporate position on COVID and how we’re preparing. I mean, in the last half a year, the CEO of many, many organizations would have found themselves repeatedly having to prepare some kind of communication to their various audiences, whether that’s customers, suppliers, government, the community they live in, their employees, their shareholders, and all of these vast array of constituencies about how they become almost like professional spokespeople of how they’re positioning their organization because of all of these crises that are going on.

Colin Rooke: Yeah and it’s tough. It’s tough to know what to say, how to say it, and I think that’s when it’s time to reach out to the professionals to say, we want to have a proactive plan in place around these topics. Again, it’s something that we are speaking to our clients about. What if this is you, whether it’s something or a topic that we’re aware of now, or it’s the next big topic, what if there’s someone inside your organization that’s outed for activity on social media, for example, and now you’re dealing with it. And again, that ties in very closely with, of course, the brand, the reputation risk, and also the longterm viability of the organization.

Paul Martin: And once you use terms like longterm viability of an organization that tweaks the ears of those in the insurance industry, I guess, because the insurance companies, don’t like to write policies on companies that are wobbly.

Colin Rooke: Yeah, exactly. I mean, it’s all risked to them, right? If for example, you see a significant drop in revenue, the insurance market’s going to say, “Well, why is that? What happened? What’s going on? What are the controls like?” You might think, well the big drop in revenue might be a big drop in premium, but it could also mean the insurer you’re with wanting off risk. You never know. And it’s all in the details, what’s going on? And again, from a sort of external communication standpoint, insurance underwriters are really detectives. They’re looking out for what’s in the news. What may have occurred? They’re going to search your website. They’re going to look through Google and they’re going to read any articles. They’re going to look through YouTube videos. What’s the company’s brand like? And that’s going to impact not only the premiums you pay, but the ability to obtain insurance, you might think that it won’t affect you, but it will.

Paul Martin: That’s an interesting point. I wonder how many of our listeners have actually Googled themselves, put your own name and your company name into the search engine and see what comes up. And there is something called a Google alert. You can put your name in there and it actually can become corporate fund too, because there are many people around the world who might have the same name as you like somebody like Paul Martin. And then you see you get these alerts every day. And I get a kick out of it.

Paul Martin: My wife’s name is someone in the U.S. who shows chickens competitively. So we’re getting these Google alerts all the time about how a certain chicken performed in a County fair. It’s good for a laugh as well. But besides the humor attached to it, there really is a business component to this about how do you follow to see what is being said about you, what your reputation is out there. And actually sometimes you get confused for someone, you didn’t do anything, but someone with the same name or same organization with the same name or different organization with the same name, we’ll be doing something and you get branded that way.

Colin Rooke: Yeah. And that’s a really good point too. If you take your organization, put that into Google and let’s say the top three articles are negative. Just realize that, that’s what people see. That’s your digital brand. That’s what an underwriter’s going to look at. We can paint the best picture possible, but if the information available is negative, it’s going to impact you.

Paul Martin: Well, Colin maybe someday we can have a fun show where we just did that sort of stuff, but at last we’ve run out of time here today. I want to thank you again for this insight. And just a reminder to our listeners. If you’re a business owner or managing a business, give Colin a call and he’ll give you a say copy of their post coronavirus checklist. And I know you’ll find it useful. You’ve been listening to Colin Rooke, the commercial risk reduction specialist with Butler Byers. I’m Paul Martin this is Risky Business, Commercial Insurance with Butler Byers. Thanks for joining us.