Disaster Response & Recovery (DRR)

DRR1-3 Case Study: When Recovery Spans Months

May 13, 2014

2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Dave Miller

Sr. Emergency Preparedness Manager

Crisis Command Center Operations, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Scott Ream

Scott Ream


Virtual Corporation

Guardian Life Insurance Company of America is headquartered in downtown Manhattan from which more than 1500 employees as well as executives work. As Superstorm Sandy zeroed in on NY/NJ, Guardian's crisis management team was ready. Every department had a well-documented & tested recovery plan. Offices had been closed ahead of time. Alternate work site arrangements were in place and key staff were pre-positioned. "We thought we were ready." As the storm blew through NYC, our headquarters building took on 4 feet of water in the building lobby as well as flooding below ground levels. Immediate focus was on life / safety. Then our attention turned to activating continuity plans for all HQ departments. As expected, all departments executed their recovery plans without a hitch. We survived the first few days with minimal disruption to critical services. However, our small crisis management team was overwhelmed with the daily deluge of requests and issues that were coming in. As the 1st week progressed following the storm, we began to realize our worst fears - our NYC headquarters was incapacitated and would be unusable for a very long time - well beyond the 6 weeks worst case we had planned for. It quickly became obvious we would be in "recovery mode" for months. We needed a new approach and a strategy that would carry us through the multi-month disruption we experienced.

Learning Objectives:

Come to this 1 hour presentation led by Debra Zoppy, Guardian Life Insurance's AVP, Crisis Management & Business Continuity and Scott Ream, President, Virtual Corporation. Participants will benefit from the following learning objectives:

  1. Hear how Guardian was able to leverage the NIMS / ICS model into a effectively staffed, centralized Recovery Operations Command Center able to run for months at a time with clearly defined recovery support roles and responsibilities.
  2. Learn through examples how Guardian developed an Alternate Work Site Monitoring & Resources Management System to stay on top of employee status, current work location and resource needs day-by-day.
  3. Leave this valuable presentation with practical, achievable ideas to enhance your organization's crisis management, response, and continuity capabilities to support long-term disruption.

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