Business continuity planning essential

Attendees at the just completed 17th World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto, Canada, were able to learn how business continuity planning and private-public partnerships helped in the Cayman Islands’ recovery from Hurricane Ivan.

The experience was shared in a joint presentation by the heads of Cayman’s hazard management agency and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority during the four-day conference put on by the Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness, states a press release.

In a session titled Business Continuity Planning and the Post-Ivan Recovery in the Cayman Islands on Tuesday, 10 July, Ms Barbara Carby, director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands, and Mr. Patrick Bodden, CIMA’s acting managing director, stated that good business continuity planning, insurance coverage and cooperation between government and the private sector were important factors in the country’s recovery.

They detailed how business continuity plans had aided, particularly the financial industry, in dealing with the impact of the hurricane and in getting back to full operations, and how government and the private sector collaborated. They also addressed some of the unforeseen challenges of the hurricane, the weaknesses these exposed in continuity plans, and how lessons learned had since been used to strengthen Cayman’s resilience.

Mr. Bodden pointed out that in a recent, informal CIMA survey among 32 financial institutions, 94 per cent reported having had business continuity plans at the time of the hurricane. Of those, 84 per cent said the plans had made a positive difference in their organizations’ recovery, including preventing or minimising loss of business. He explained that CIMA had made business continuity a priority. It had established formal standards for financial sector business continuity planning through a recent Statement of Guidance on Business Continuity Management for All Licensees.

Ms Carby outlined some of government’s initiatives to increase Cayman’s resilience. These included the creation of a public-private sector economic continuity committee, the establishment of the full-time hazard management office, the development and refinement of government’s continuity of operations plans, membership in the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Fund and the current storm surge modelling project.

The World Conference on Disaster Management ran from 8-11 July and was estimated to have drawn close to 2,000 participants from around the world.

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