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Business should protect against terror: Panel


DUBLIN, Ireland —Crisis management and contingency planning are not sufficient tools to protect businesses from the threat of terrorism, according to Will Geddes, managing director, ICP Group, speaking today at the Dublin International Insurance and Management Assn. Conference in Dublin, Ireland.

Businesses need both preventative and reactive measures in place to protect their business from what Mr. Geddes says is the increasing threat of terrorism. Since 1968 there have been around 3,500 terrorist attacks, and of these, two-thirds have happened in the last five years. "With such a fast increase in terrorist attacks from a range of groups, businesses can't be complacent. They need to focus on their own organizations," he told the conference.

"Crisis management and contingency planning are not sufficient. Resiliance to the threat of terrorism has become a person responsibility. Businesses need to develop a 'compound mentality.' They need to concentrate on building their walls high enough and strong enough to protect themselves and their employees," he told Business Insurance Europe.

But that in itself is not enough. Mr. Geddes said that businesses need to look to their supply chains and make sure that they are doing the same thing. "If you lose your supply to market, you lose profitability and client confidence, which can have a massive impact on your business," he said.

He warned that insurers need better guidance, as a crisis management plan is "only as good as its effective introduction." In terms of preventative measures, Mr. Geddes said that businesses need, for example, to conduct business impact analysis and evaluate the threat to key personnel. While after the event, "accurate SWAT analysis - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats - can mean that a company handles a crisis well and turn it into a productive PR opportunity," said Mr. Geddes.