These days, crisis is always top of mind when maintaining a company's healthy bottom line and overall reputation. Seventy-nine percent of business decision makers believe they are only 12 months away from facing a significant business crisis, according to a July Burson-Marsteller and Penn Schoen Berland study.
Chartis, a division of AIG, launched a unique offering this week: an insurance policy that seeks to help policyholders handle reputational threats. The insurance company's liability squad rolled out ReputationGuard, which pairs businesspeople with a “select” PR panel comprised of practitioners from Burson-Marsteller and Porter Novelli.
One might presume Chartis and AIG saw this as a beneficial business offering after dealing with crises of their own, as noted in yesterday's New York Times' DealBook piece:
"After [AIG's] initial $65 billion bailout by the government, the insurer became a target of widespread scorn, its very name a shorthand for the excesses that led to the financial crisis. In fact, Chartis's own name sprang from a rebranding effort aimed at distancing the business — which was not responsible for the losses that led to its government bailout — from the then-tainted AIG name. And Burson-Marsteller was part of the army of public relations firms the insurer hired in the wake of receiving its government lifeline."
Whatever the case, a crisis will always be lurking around the corner, meaning crisis communications will continue to be a beating lifeline of profitability for PR agencies.