A speech to a UN delegation about business continuity took an unexpected turn to a discussion about Britain’s famous delicacy

A few weeks ago I received a surprise call from the Cabinet Office asking if I would present to a United Nations delegation. This is not the sort of thing that happens to me every day.

The delegation in question was the peer review group for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, who, following various global catastrophes, came to the UK to learn how we prepare for major risks and how their nations and businesses can better prepare for disaster risk reduction.

I was curious about how to make a presentation to the UN. Should I begin with various international welcomes, such as guten tag, and buenos dias; should I remain formal and stick to a pre-prepared speech; or should I be my usual more relaxed self?

The group also wanted to learn how to get messages through to small to medium enterprises (SMEs) about the importance of business continuity planning. They had heard of the upcoming release of the Business Continuity for Dummies book, something that Biba spent time with the Cabinet Office writing during the past year.

Even when dealing with the most serious of subjects and people, fish and chips are a great leveller - especially at the UN

But why is a trade association that supports professionalism talking about books for dummies, I hear you ask? Well, the figures speak for themselves. The Dummies brand is the best selling reference brand in the world, having sold more than 200 million copies. There’s one book sold every minute in the UK.

Only 5% of SMEs in the UK have a business continuity plan (BCP). Previous initiatives and promotions to encourage greater usage have proven too complicated to make an impact with smaller businesses. But this new guide provides a fantastic opportunity to promote the benefits of BCPs and the important role that insurance brokers and suitable insurance protection have in supporting business.

The big day

The day arrived and the international welcomes went down well, although my Finnish language greeting got a bit of a battering.

In describing the benefits of business interruption insurance, I gave the example of a fish and chip shop that burnt down and had an insufficient business interruption (BI) period as local residents fought its new licence application due to the late night noise and litter. The lesson being, speak to your broker about a sufficient BI indemnity period.

Sensing that the group may not have picked up on all the subtleties of my argument, after a moment’s pause, I asked the UN delegation if any of them had enjoyed fish and chips while on their trip to the UK. Many enthusiastically responded that they had indeed savoured this British delicacy for the first time recently, while others among the delegation wondered what they were missing out on. Discussions continued happily for some time regarding our national dish and insurance.

The thing to remember is that we are all human and even when dealing with the most serious of subjects and people, fish and chips are a great leveller - especially at the UN.

The Dummies guide has now been launched. Biba brokers will also have the opportunity to white-label a version of the insurance element “SME insurance for Dummies” for use with their customers. Do give us a call if you would like to learn more.