Willis and Towers Watson have merged. Visit willistowerswatson.com

Business Continuity Management (BCM)

Many organisations that suffer a catastrophic loss make an initial recovery but then fail within 18 months. Downtime costs, damaged reputation and, critically, lost customers are just a few examples of why they fail.

Organisations that have a clearly defined recovery strategy are much more likely to overcome the initial crisis period and restore sustainable long-term operations.

What is Business Continuity Management (BCM)?

A useful definition is provided by the Business Continuity Institute: “BCM is the act of anticipating incidents which will affect mission critical functions and processes for the organisation and ensuring it responds to any incident in a planned and rehearsed manner”.

Organisations generally have very clearly defined plans, processes and procedures for normal operations but in a crisis situation, these rarely apply. As a result, many otherwise well-managed organisations have failed shortly after an unexpected major event because they were unable to recover in time. Examples include:

  • The Manchester Arndale Centre bomb in 1996 which forced 63% of businesses failed to restart
  • The September 11th attacks in New York in 2001 destroyed or closed down circa 15,000 companies

BCM helps organisations plan for recovery following a loss and includes various elements of pre-planning, impact analysis, risk assessment, emergency response, crisis management and business recovery.

What are the benefits? The benefits of introducing BCM include:
  • Increased likelihood of post-loss survival
  • Maintaining or even enhancing reputation
  • Prevention of costly mistakes; either pre or post-loss
  • Ensuring resources are channelled to where the greatest benefit can be derived

What will BCM deliver?

BCM deals effectively with the immediate aftermath of an incident, helping restore normal operations as quickly as possible.

While templates can be followed, the dynamics of an organisation require specific responses, often delegation of authority and freedom from interference. Handled properly, organisations have actually enhanced reputation, re-built morale and emerged stronger and more successful than before.

For many insurers, the development of effective BCM is a pre-requisite for insurance cover. Evidence of a sound BCM strategy is a contributory factor in establishing good corporate governance through protection of stakeholders’ investments and interests.

Contact us:

For further details on Business Continuity Management (BCM), please contact your local Willis Towers Watson office.

Business Continuity Management (BCM):


Case study:

A major international airport organisation wanted to achieve ISO accreditation for business continuity tounderline their commitment to world class operating resilience.

Following a robust tender process, due to the sensitive nature of the industry, Willis Towers Watson business continuity specialists were appointed.

The organisation wanted answers to:
  • How can operations be recovered quickly following a major disruptive incident?
  • How can operational resilience be improved?
  • Prevention of costly mistakes; either pre or post-loss
  • How best to communicate with and reassure customers during a disruptive incident?

Specialists analysed the existing position, established a ‘roadmap’ and worked closely with the operational management over 18 months to launch and embed a fully-fledged BCM system.

The successful implementation of the BCM system resulted in the group achieving ISO22301 accreditation making them one of the top four BCM performing organisations in the region.

Is there another benefit we can associate to accreditation? Perhaps, lower premiums or better terms.