Business disruption due to a pandemic

In our latest From the Archives piece, we look back at one of our regular Sharing Scenarios articles, published in the wake of the Ebola outbreak across Western Africa, in the August 2014 edition of The Risk Universe magazine. 

The firm’s ability to operate and to continue delivering its services is disrupted by some form of virus, illness or pandemic, impacting travel and staff availability and/or movement. The firm is further adversely affected by its customers and clients not being able to undertake business with the firm.

Includes all forms of business disruption arising from a pandemic, preventing the firm’s staff from delivering their services as normal and/or the firm’s customers from making use of the services on offer in the manner they normally would. Includes secondary impact of a pandemic following after a natural disaster. Excludes all other forms of business disruption.

Natural causes

Natural causes giving rise to a pandemic which spreads geographically.

Inadequate medical facilities
Inadequate medical facilities to detect, treat or to quarantine infected individuals may lead to a minor outbreak becoming a global pandemic.

Inappropriate behaviour
Individuals infected by or in contact with infected individuals may not take sufficient care to prevent the onward spread of the pandemic.

➤Damage to Physical Assets; Natural Disaster and Accident

➤ Natural Disasters and Related Events; Pandemics and Disease

Net interest settlements arising from late settlements caused by business disruption; the firm may face significant increased operating cost to accommodate and provide for staff remaining on duty, as well as additional pay for overtime worked, danger pay for risks taken, the establishment and running of quarantine facilities if required and in additional communication to both customers and clients and to the broader market.

The firm could lose significant business revenue arising from business disruption; the firm loses out on market participation opportunities due to business disruptions.

Applicable key risk indicators

➤ 10446 – Staff – Number of Identified Outbreaks of Illness

➤ 50121 – Staff – Percentage of Total Working Days Lost

➤ 60713 – Staff – Number of Staff Available

➤ 50070 – Staff – Number of Sick Days

➤ 50054 – Staff – Number of Key Staff without Designated Backups

These indicators have been obtained from the KRI Library ( and the reference numbers relate to the KRI Library catalogue.


➤ First National Bank of South Africa: NAD 0.00 FNB staff vaccinated

➤ The world: 1918 flu pandemic

➤ World Health Organization (WHO): Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

➤ The world: Avian flu

➤ The world: 2009 swine flu pandemic

➤ World Health Organization (WHO): QAR 0.00 New SARS-like virus detected in Middle East

➤ U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity: USD 0.00 Controversial ‘bird flu’ information restrictions move ahead

➤ Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department: HKD 0.00 Hong Kong culls thousands of birds after virus found in chicken

➤ World Health Organization (WHO): Coronavirus death reported in France

➤ Hong Kong University: HKD 0.00 H7N9 bird flu found to spread through the air

➤ World Health Organization (WHO): CNY 0.00 China reports another H7N9 death as

WHO calls flu ‘one of the most lethal’

➤ Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention: CNY 0.00 40pc of bird flu victims haven’t touched poultry

➤ World Health Organization (WHO): West Africa Ebola outbreak


Physical Security Controls

Physical Access Controls

Personnel Controls

Hiring and Staffing Controls