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The use of playbooks by business continuity managers to help prepare for specific types of incidents in growing in popularity and one area where such playbooks can be helpful is in planning for natural disasters. QBE North America, an insurance provider, has developed a useful checklist to assist...

QBE suggests considering the following three stages when it comes to business continuity planning:


  • Analyze and evaluate your business processes (e.g., review what products are received through a supply chain) to determine how an interruption in any part of the process will affect your ability to continue operations.
  • Identify critical equipment, utilities, employees, contractors, and storage and determine how any of these, if not functioning or available, would affect operations.
  • Determine your product distribution processes including transportation equipment and operators and connections to supply chain customers, to spot potential weaknesses.
  • Once the above components are identified, create a business continuity plan by identifying backup equipment, storage, distribution, employees, and contractors to fill potential gaps. Secure agreements in advance, to have them in place should an event occur.
  • Document your plan with photos of the building, equipment, products, and other contents and identify any key components such as refrigeration, heat/utilities, transportation, weather-related conditions, security, communication systems, alternate buildings, and operations.
  • Train staff and involve key local authorities in the plan execution.


  • Act early to put your plan into effect when any incident occurs that could cause a loss of a key operation or availability function. Hesitation could result in greater loss.
  • Set up management of the event to monitor changes and implement your plan.
  • Formalize a chain of command to address immediate tasks. Be flexible in your plan.
  • Maintain communications with public safety and staff to assure everyone is informed.
  • Take action to mitigate the effects of the event. Secure the facilities and manage emergency backup systems (e.g., utilities, transportation).
  • Document conditions with photos/videos for future reference.
  • Alert incoming and outgoing supply chain partners of the event and potential needs and repercussions.


  • Ensure the property is safe to avoid personal injury.
  • Promptly report your claim either through your insurance broker or directly to your insurance carrier.
  • Take pictures or video of the damage when it's safe to do so.
  • Complete emergency repairs and protect the property to mitigate further loss.
  • Identify key contacts on your staff, each with assigned duties to assist with the claim.
  • Assemble financial information to assist with a business income claim.
  • Retain all invoices and receipts and submit for claim consideration.
  • Request advance payment from your carrier to assist with emergency expenses.
  • Keep a claim diary to document conversations and the commitments made.
  • Set up salvage operations.
  • Manage production operations either on-site or in pre-planned off-site locations.
  • Document the work progress and obtain invoices as quickly as possible.

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Business continuity?

Business continuity can be defined as 'the processes, procedures, decisions and activities to ensure that an organization can continue to function through an operational interruption'. Read more about the basics of business continuity here.

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