Does Your Crisis Communications Plan Have You Covered?

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Do you know the top concern of board members of public and private companies? According to a survey, 69 percent say risks to their organizations’ reputations worry them most.

With a constant stream of news about faulty products, corporate scandals, data breaches and litigation in the media, smart business people understand how quickly their long-term investment in building a brand’s image can be devalued.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett expressed this truth aptly. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it,” he said.

And beyond the cost of managing through a severe  disruption to a business, the price tag for rebuilding stakeholder trust can be enormous.

Seeking to address the costs of managing a crisis and to give clients access to top PR counsel, one property-casualty insurer has introduced an unusual new product meant to protect policyholders against reputation threats.

“In today’s world, one person’s negative opinion can quickly become adverse publicity on a global scale,” said Tracie Grella, president of the professional liability unit at Chartis.

The company is a division of American International Group, which knows first-hand from its experience during the 2008 financial meltdown the damage an ongoing PR crisis can do.

“Chartis isn’t the unit that prompted AIG to seek the government’s help, and much of the bailout has since been repaid,” writes Erik Holm in The Wall Street Journal. “The U.S. Treasury still owns the majority of AIG’s common stock, which remains down more than 95% from its pre-crisis peak.”

Is crisis communications coverage useful? Would having such a policy make CEOs too complacent about proactively assessing and fixing threats to their companies’ reputations? Share your views in the comments section below.

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About creativeconsiderations

Christine Sullivan is a communications strategist with expertise in communications planning, writing and content development, and executive communications. She can be reached at
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