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Emergency preparedness: public health emergencies and a potential H1N1 outbreak

Preparing for potential crises

The Principal has developed plans to cover a wide range of potential business interruptions, including pandemics. Recently, we've refined our existing model with targeted preparations and communications that provide additional focus in the event of an H1N1 outbreak or other health emergency.

The procedures and communication plans will allow for flexibility, depending on how situations develop.

Serving customers

All of the emergency preparations we've made are designed to help us continue providing uninterrupted service to our customers. To help ensure this, our plans include the possible use of alternate worksites, remote access (working from home), redundant datacenters, and having alternative staff handle necessary administrative work.

We continue to educate our employees about their responsibilities if they become ill or suspect a co-worker is ill. We've reiterated the importance of good hygiene and communicated about other practices to help minimize the spread of the flu.

The Principal is offering seasonal flu shots on-site in several of our larger offices and offering vouchers in other locations. While it doesn't appear that we'll be able to offer H1N1 vaccinations on-site because of how the vaccine is being distributed by the Department of Public Health, we will encourage employees to get vaccinated to reduce their risk of becoming ill.

Communicating during a public health emergency

In the event a public health emergency makes it necessary to communicate with customers, employees or other audiences, The Principal is prepared to use a variety of communication vehicles. These may include e-mail, news media, Web sites, postal mail, toll-free numbers, etc.

Private and public partnerships

The Principal regularly monitors information from both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization. We make adjustments to align our approach as needed based on new information from these organizations.

Also, our company's Business Continuity department, in coordination with Human Resources, works closely with the Polk County and Iowa Department of Public Health (where the majority of our employees are located) on health emergency preparations.

We also have an active membership with Safeguard Iowa Partnership, which serves as a link between private industry and public entities throughout the state of Iowa.

An integral component of our preparations includes the establishment of a range of industry and public sector relationships spanning not only our local offices in Iowa, but also across the nation. Active, engaged memberships in organizations such as Safeguard Iowa Partnership, Disaster Recovery International, International Security Management Association and the ASIS International provide the means to effectively and efficiently collect intelligence and connect with the necessary resources in any locale.

Testing our business continuity plan

The Principal routinely tests its business continuity plans, both at the company-wide and business unit level. Components of the testing include making sure that off-site/alternative worksites are functioning properly and validating business processing at remote and home-based locations.

In addition, through both planned and unplanned events, we test our ability to reroute incoming customer phone calls and e-mail, where applicable. Finally, we have staff in various locations that can perform many of our business functions. This strategy helps in the event a threat is local or regional.

Questions

Send us your questions about our preparations for a possible public health emergency that aren't addressed here.

Have a question? Call us at 1.800.986.3343

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