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Aon: No Time for Complacency in Pandemic Planning


Posted on 16 Jun 09

In light of the World Health Organization raising its pandemic flu alert to the top phase of its six-phase scale, Aon Corporation Friday, June 12, issued the following statement by Gisele Norris, DrPH, national director of Aon Healthcare's alternative risk practice.

"While raising the pandemic alert level indicates that the H1N1 virus has achieved sustained community transmission in a broad geography, the WHO declaration does not indicate a change in the severity of the current outbreak. That said, influenza viruses are notoriously unpredictable and this virus may mutate to become more severe at any time. Pandemics typically manifest in three or more waves of disease which may differ in severity and can occur at any time during the year.

"The WHO declaration is a signal that businesses worldwide must continue and indeed escalate vigilance in their pandemic planning efforts. This is not a time to be complacent, but rather an opportunity to anticipate possible scenarios and create contingency plans accordingly. Aon stands at the ready to guide and assist its clients in their readiness preparations."

Aon has identified six critical steps to protect employees, customers, supply chain partners, additional stakeholders and business assets:

* Ensure supply chain is uninterrupted by determining availability of backup suppliers.
* Build a pandemic crisis communication plan, including a process for cascading critical messages to employees.
* Develop a protocol to facilitate home working arrangements for employees.
* Inform employees of any travel protocols/restrictions in place.
* Look at succession planning for all levels of the organization and ensure that - at a minimum - key functions have been addressed.
* Construct a plan of action addressing the incubation period (three to four days prior to onset of symptoms) in the event an employee is suspected of having the H1N1 flu virus at work, a family member is at risk or an employee has been exposed to the virus.


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