Nervous flyers sometimes comfort themselves by clutching their
travel insurance policies like a talisman to ward off calamity. But
anyone who has studied the morbid details of the cover will have been
struck - not just by the diversity of injuries and disasters that could
befall them during their two weeks in the sun - but by the inadequacy of
the money promised for lost eyes, limbs and so on as a replacement for
the items concerned.
When it comes to a business, it is clearly vital to anticipate the risks
- such as fire and theft - that could damage it physically, and it would
unthinkable not to have insurance cover to fall back on in such an
Public relations crises represent a less obvious financial risk but can
be equally damaging to an organisation. So the comfort of having crisis
communications support included as a benefit on your insurance policy is
undeniably appealing. And if insurance company St Paul International’s
initiative to provide professional crisis support to NHS Trusts as part
of its policy cover draws attention to the need for proper crisis
management handling, then it is very welcome indeed.
The only danger is if policy holders assume that this is the only step
they need to take to protect themselves. It is not - any more than
having fire insurance means it is safe to continue smoking near petrol
While having a team of PR firefighters on hand to help you through the
first 48 hours of a breaking crisis is comforting, it is far better to
avoid the need to call them out in the first place. The honest answer to
the crisis-hit executive’s plaintive cry of ’How do I get out of this
one?’ is often: ’Well, I wouldn’t have started from here if I were
Every organisation - without exception - faces a clutch of issues and
contingencies which could, in certain circumstances, develop into a full
blown, bouncing off the walls crisis. Managing and monitoring those
issues can often prevent them from doing so.
No matter how rapid the response times of St Paul’s two chosen
consultancies - which are covering over 220 NHS Trusts between them - it
would be foolhardy to imagine that paying the premium promptly is the
only crisis preparation those Trusts will need.
At the very least, they should have a tried and tested plan for crisis
PR handling in place to tide them over until the cavalry arrives. More
importantly - and perhaps even as a condition of their insurance - they
should take some preventive public relations medicine of their own.