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Crisis Management
When Faced with a Business Crisis, How Will You Handle It?
How to be better prepared for unplanned events
In a day and age when a host of concerns—power outages, fires, illness of key staff, damage to stock, stolen laptops, customer complaints or criminal activity—can greatly disrupt business activities, every business owner needs to be prepared to mitigate the impact of these events.

A carefully thought out business continuity plan can help you cope with a crisis and enable you to minimize disruption to your business and your customers. It can also help safeguard your staff, assets and reputation while protecting your bottom line.

First, you need to determine what the greatest threats are to your business. To calculate the risks, crisis management expert Cheryl Hirst, who is the director of business continuity and disaster recovery at Erie Insurance, recommends using this formula: Threat x Vulnerability x Impact = Risk.
  Threat – What is the likelihood that an event (natural or man-made) will occur? The events generally fall into three categories: natural (flood, hurricanes) man-made (fire, workplace crime) and technology (data breaches, system failures).
  Vulnerability – What are the risk factors or gaps that could increase the likelihood and/or impact of the event?
  Impact – What is the impact or costs that an unplanned event could have on your business? How could it negatively affect your team and interrupt your business processes or technology?
  Risk – By looking at the threats, vulnerabilities and potential impacts, you'll have a broader understanding of the risks to your business.
When conducting the risk assessment, Hirst also recommends focusing on people, processes and technology.
  People – Whether it's a severe weather event or a man-made accident like unintentionally cut power lines, it's important to think about how such events could impact your staff. "If 30 to 40 percent of your staff is not available to come into work because of an unplanned event like a flood, that could have a catastrophic effect on your business," Hirst says.
  Processes – The risk management cycle begins with an inventory of business-critical processes and functions. "For example, identify the most critical parts of your business that need to be operational as soon as possible following a disaster," Hirst says.
  Technology – It's important to map out the step-by-step procedures to restore critical technology resources. If your office laptops are stolen, do you have the devices backed up? Could you communicate with your employees if a disaster happened during or after work hours?
"Your goal is to think about natural or man-made risks to discover your vulnerabilities and then estimate the impact on your business," says Hirst. "When a crisis hits, this advanced planning and preparation will help you through the stressful situation."

To help you get started, take this seven-question, self-assessment quiz to find out how well your business is prepared for a crisis. For additional information, visit these websites, or
Money-Saving Strategies
Save on Workers' Comp Costs
Ten tips to lower your bills
Armed with the right information and strategies, you can not only curb your workers' compensation costs but also develop a plan to improve safety in the working environment for your employees. Here are 10 ways to help manage workplace injuries:
  1. Establish good hiring practices. Good relationships are essential to good business. An effective hiring process can help your business grow and promote employee and customer satisfaction.
  2. Make safety a priority. Employees are essential to the success of your business. Take steps to enhance workplace safety.
  3. Direct injured employees to physician panels. Many state workers' compensation laws allow employers to establish physician panels. The injured workers seek care for work-related injuries from the panel.
  4. Consult with nurse case managers for medical guidance. Erie Insurance has a team of registered nurses who play a vital role in managing workers' compensation claims.
  5. Utilize a prescription drug program. ERIE's pharmacy management program offers a number of benefits, including reduced pharmacy costs.
  6. Establish an early return-to-work program. The program establishes your commitment to return injured employees to meaningful employment as soon as they are medically able.
  7. Utilize risk control services. ERIE's workers' compensation program includes access to a range of risk control resources.
  8. Establish a preventative maintenance schedule for machines, tools, fleet vehicles, etc.
  9. Conduct claims reviews with a claims adjuster and our agency.
  10. Monitor what insurance carriers call your "experience modifier." If you are experience rated, monitor your experience modifier because it has an impact on your premium.
For more information about developing an effective workers' compensation program, contact our agency. We can talk more about how you might be able to prevent injuries and mitigate the cost of claims.
Risk Management
Data Breach: A Big Business Risk
Are you safeguarding your data?
If a data breach could compromise the business operations of a national major retailer like Target, imagine what it can do to a smaller business like yours.

More than 550 million identities were exposed through breaches last year, according to the 2014 Internet Security Threat Report by the California-based technology company Symantec. The breaches leaked personal information, including credit card information, birth dates, home addresses, medical records, phone numbers, financial information, email addresses, logins and passwords.

Despite this growing security risk, only a small percentage of companies with fewer than 250 employees have policies and procedures in place to protect against online intrusions, Symantec reports.

Find out what else you need to know about data breaches. Read more on and check out the data breach expenses coverage that's available from Erie Insurance.

Thanks for your business. Any time you have a question or need information on how to protect your assets, please contact our agency. We're here to help.
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ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York). The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Go to for company licensure information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this e-newsletter are in effect as of Sept. 15, 2014 and may be changed at any time. Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this e-newsletter. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. The insurance products and services described in this e-newsletter are not offered in all states. ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York. Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time. Your ERIE Agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.