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Key Person Cover

Imagine you were suddenly unable to go into work and function as you normally would.  This might be the result of an accident or an illness or the need for a major operation which caused you to be away for a significant period of time.  How would your team and the business cope?

In most cases I imagine that they would struggle through – looking at your calendar to work out what meetings needed to be rearranged or attended by someone else; finding out what projects were in progress and assigning someone else to pick these up; trying to make contact with key contacts etc.

How much better would it be if they were able to invoke a different kind of Key Person Cover insurance than that offered by insurance companies.  In this instance the cover is less about making a monthly payment to cover business expenses and perhaps hire a temp (which is what the insurance companies offer) and more about having a ‘go to’ place that the person who is picking up the reins can go to for all the relevant information they need to move things along.

Imagine the reduction in stress they would have through having access to something that supported them through the period of your absence.  Similarly, imagine the reduction in your stress if you knew that things had been set up to cover for you and to ensure business carried on as usual.

You might argue that this should be something that is already covered by business continuity plans you already have in the event of a disaster occurring.  However, in my experience, these plans (if they are in place at all) tend to focus more on buildings, technology and data rather than recovering corporate knowledge and covering the roles of key people.

So perhaps think of this as creating a Personal Disaster Recovery Plan.  Some elements that you might want to include would be:

  • The team/department business plan that clearly conveys the current strategic priorities.
  • An up-to-date job description for each of the roles in the team.
  • A calendar of the role’s most important activities e.g. performance reviews; attendance at key meetings etc.
  • A complete list of key contacts and stakeholders, including contact information.
  • The location of key information e.g. staff files.
  • Information about key projects or stakeholders that may not be held anywhere else as it’s usually in your head.

Perhaps the best way to create your plan is to start to put it together in advance of your next holiday.  Think from the perspective of someone who was going to caretake your role in your absence (if only!) and identify what it is that they would need to know or have access to.  Start to pull this information together in one place.  You may not complete it all at once, but once started and with a bit of discipline, it won’t take long to build up a useful store of information that will make your life and that of your stand-in much less stressful in the event that a disaster occurs.

Spin-off benefits are that you are building a resource that will be of use as a handover to a future successor or even to allow someone to cover more actively for you while you are on holiday!

Here’s hoping you never need to use your plan in reality but isn’t that what insurance is all about?

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