Business continuity provider BT CommSure has linked up with Cornhill Insurance to offer a business recovery service.

Rapid Response is a replacement telephone service for companies whose telephone systems fail due to an unforeseen event, such as fire, flood or a power failure.

David Birch, head of BT CommSure, said: “We are bridging the gap between disaster recovery and insurance.”

Previously, companies would have to get commercial insurance cover for their communications equipment and a separate disaster recovery contract to cover business continuity risks.

BT CommSure guarantees a response time to set up an emergency telephone system.

If the agreed time is not met, customers can claim up to 10 times the value of their annual contract.

Typical annual premiums range from £240 for a system with 24 extensions to more than £30,000 for larger call centres. For an additional premium of 3%, the cost of replacing damaged equipment will be covered.

BT CommSure has 2,000 business continuity customers, with a contract value of £12m. Existing customers include Legal & General and Royal & Sun Alliance.

Birch said that research among existing customers has shown that 50% of them would be interested in switching to Rapid Response.

With CommSure looking to widen its customer base to include small and medium-sized companies, Birch said that 3,000-4,000 customers is an achievable target for the first year.

BT CommSure has around four or five major call outs a year, together with a number of minor incidents.

The launch comes as companies prepare to have to disclose their internal risk management strategies as a result of the Turnbull Report.

Dave Lazenby, marketing manager, BT CommSure said: “Business continuity management is being taken much more seriously now.”

Rapid Response is currently only available from BT, but CommSure has discussed with Cornhill the possibility of it being made available through other sources.