entities of all types and at all levels —whether they are in a traditionally disaster-prone area or not. Among them are port authorities, which are a critical link in the supply chain that facilitates the transportation of imported and exported goods of all types integral to the global economy. This issue of Disaster Recovery Today highlights the unique complexities of operating a port authority for a specialized approach in preparing one to survive a disaster. In an interview with Stephanie Murphy, Tidal Basin’s Vice President of Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Management, Kyle Gibbs, who served as Risk Manager for PhilaPort (The Port of Philadelphia), shares his perspective on preparing for emergencies and how risk management and insurance interface throughout the process. His five key points provide an excellent outline of steps port managers should take before, during and after any disaster that might strike their facility. IN THIS ISSUE Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Consulting FEMA statistics show that we’re experiencingmore disasters than ever —and at an increasing rate. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noted that the 2020 hurricane season has been the most active and the seventh costliest on record—beating the 2005 season when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. The Atlantic hurricane season saw 30 named storms, 13 of which were hurricanes, 12 of which made landfall and six were classified as major hurricanes (top winds greater than 111 mph). For comparison, an average season only sees 12 named storms and six hurricanes. For the period 1980 through 2019, the annual average of such events was 6.5 per year. 2019 marked the fifth consecutive year in which 10 or more separate billion-dollar disaster events impacted the U.S. This trend has made preparing for a disaster more important than ever for business and government Disaster Planning and Preparedness for Maritime Ports: Five Important Points E-Edition
2 D I SAS T E R R ECOVE RY TODAY.COM Stephanie Murphy, MS, CEM Vice President of Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Management (PREM) Tidal Basin Stephanie Murphy, a CEM, has over 19 years of experience in Emergency Management. She has been featured in Airport Business “40 Under 40” and recognized as a “Major Player” in Emergency Management magazine. She has worked at the federal, regional, local, public, and private levels developing emergency management programs from the ground up focusing on strategic, continuity, and incident planning; training and exercising; program assessment; gap analysis and implementing unique solutions for dynamic industry issues. Most recently she was the Emergency Manager for Dulles and Reagan Airports in Washington, D.C. Prior to the Airports Authority, Stephanie was the National Planning Section Chief with FEMA, as well as a Crisis Management Trainer with the Department of State. She has also responded to local emergencies and events, served in, and directed EOCs, and has built resiliency in communities through planning, training, exercising and preparedness programs. Kyle Gibbs Former Risk Manager PhilaPort (The Port of Philadelphia) Kyle Gibbs was risk manager at the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority when this interview was conducted. At the Port, he primarily focused on the agency’s complex insurance program and other risk initiatives. He also spent several years working with public entities to rebuild infrastructure post-Superstorm Sandy in NewYork and New Jersey, including an essential role on a billion-dollar recovery program. In the earliest days of his career, he was an insurance producer and broker, with a focus on the habitational, hospitality, energy, environmental, and marine markets. He is currently Insurance Risk Management - ProgramManager at Colorado Springs Utilities.
T IDALBAS INGROUP.COM 3 are created. For example, I am putting together a revitalized asset management program, which is a very important project as it directly relates to our insurance program. My days are constantly evolving and different — keeping things exciting. Murphy: When did you realize you wanted a job like this? Gibbs: I realized when I was quite young that I really enjoyed helping to make things “better.” I believe my background provides a combination of skills that allows me to add, value and in turn, help. Murphy: One of the main reasons I wanted to interview you is your background in insurance and disaster consulting. These are unique skill sets that seem very fitting for your role, especially to be a well-rounded risk manager. Let’s talk about planning and preparedness: What is your role at PhilaPort in preparing it for future disasters? Gibbs: Being relatively new at PhilaPort, my current goal is to make sure all assets are revisited. Asset management is critical for us, so I am working to revitalize our asset management program, which will help with other projects that directly feed off this. From here we will have a better baseline on what will be needed on the planning and preparedness end. Murphy: What is a typical day like in the life of a risk manager for a port authority? Gibbs: While that is a great question, the best way I can quickly answer is to say the only typical part of my day is its set of unique challenges. Each day presents itself with new issues and new problems to solve, always with many moving pieces. For example, one moment I could be reviewing insurance language in a contract for a new tenant that needs to get out the door that day, the next moment I could receive a call that an incident occurred at one of our piers. I must quickly change hats and prioritize, addressing the incident in that instance. Murphy: To what do you attribute making your days so different? Gibbs: All companies, including port authorities, are run in their own way, and just like most roles within an organization, the exact title from one organization to the next could mean very different things within its roles and responsibilities. As such I wear many hats, and am involved in many pieces of the puzzle. For example, while I manage our insurance portfolio, I review contracts for insurance compliance, work with in-house counsel on all claims, vet any and all vendors who conduct any type of business activity with the port — all in an effort to maintain and communicate indemnification and insurance criteria, whether it involves a tenant or a vendor, contractor, or other service provider. One of my longstanding side projects has been to bring a paper file system online. As I see gaps and needs, projects are developed and goals “Each day presents itself with new issues and new problems to solve, always with many moving pieces.”
4 D I SAS T E R R ECOVE RY TODAY.COM Murphy: What key points or recommendations would you share with others sitting in your seat to help them prepare their ports? Gibbs: There are many things ports can do, but I’ll keep it to five points that I believe are the most important efforts or actions to take before, potentially during, and most certainly after a disaster strikes. First, Business Continuity Planning (BCP). This ensures that an organization’s operations are maintained during a disruptive event. There is a lot that goes into a BCP. Second, track hours of personnel involved in an incident, whether straight time or overtime. Third, be able to track and document equipment being used as this is a reimbursable expense, or at the very least, covered under insurance. Fourth, take pictures, identify tracking systems and/or databases, and document, document, document. If you think you’ve documented something enough, document it a bit more! Build documentation into everyday processes and systems. Make it a part of operations so that it’s second nature and you’re not left with a damaged structure with no proof of what it was before the damage. Fifth, and lastly, ensure that all team members know what the plan is, how to operationalize the plan and what their roles and responsibilities are. You can do this through training.
T IDALBAS INGROUP.COM 5 Murphy: Great points. So, we have 1) BCP; 2) tracking hours; 3) equipment usage; 4) documentation, including pictures; and 5) training. Anything else that you would add for good measure? Gibbs: I believe it’s important to first recognize that many organizations have traditionally used insurance as a primary method to transfer risk. While this is still regarded as a powerful and necessary tool, it might not be enough as CAT (catastrophic) events such as those caused by earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires, etc., become more frequent and more severe. What I mean by this is that, should a total loss occur, there simply might not be enough coverage in place. If we look at Hurricane Sandy, where I built my consulting career, or hurricanes Harvey or Maria which saw catastrophic losses, we are quick to realize that many entities in these parts of the country, while they may have had high limits of insurance, those limits just weren’t enough. Total losses were decided, and limits were exceeded, not just marginally — but by catastrophic amounts. Murphy: That’s an excellent point. So, back to your preparedness points, let’s elaborate a bit, starting with BCP. Gibbs: Certainly. I would say that all companies should have a business continuity plan in place, from mom-andpop shops to global powerhouses, and all those in-between. With that understood, this type of planning is driven by the company type. Murphy: As risk manager for a port authority, what are some of your ideas on what should be included in the business continuity plan? Gibbs: There is a saying amongst ports, “If you’ve seen one port, you’ve seen one port.” I believe this observation holds a lot of value because what might be essential for one port authority might not be for another. However, I do believe some triedand-true rules of thumb can apply almost across the board. Let’s take a landlord-operated port for example. For a landlord port to continue to have cash flow, the facilities and piers would need to be rented. So, how do we provide planning for this aside from traditional risk management, insurance? One solution would be to have spare equipment, pumps, generators, etc., purchased and stored should a bad flood or power outage occur, to quickly rid the facility of water to the greatest extent possible. This would reduce damages and keep the tenant operating. Another Business Continuity Planning (BCP) ensures that the organization’s operations are maintained during a disruptive event.
6 D I SAS T E R R ECOVE RY TODAY.COM step would be to have backup generators available to make sure the lights stay on and the facility has power, so tenants can continue to operate machinery, etc. Murphy: What would you consider one of the top factors to analyze when preparing a business continuity plan? equipment or supplies they should have on the sideline, should they be needed, to reduce the severity of an event that might impact its tenants. In addition, have a written plan in place for an event, so that roles and responsibilities are understood before anything occurs. Make sure training is provided to the best of your organization’s ability. Address matters like how and when to deploy generators and pumps. While employees will be stressed during emergency, if they are educated and know what is expected of them— perhaps having gone through simulations of possible incidents — there is a better chance their response will be stronger — and ultimately the severity and impact of the occurrence can be mitigated. Murphy: I am involved in a multitude of BCPs for organizations all around the United States and while there are many pieces to developing a strong plan, communication always seems to be key. As you mentioned, insurance is usually the first layer of defense when it comes to financial recovery and rebuilding. But in a CAT event scenario, if limits are exceeded and the president declares a disaster, then FEMA funding can become available. While we both know that this funding is subject to certain criteria, I believe it’s important that all organizations — specifically public and non-profit — put measures in place to have a better chance at recovering federal funding should they need it and become eligible for it. Gibbs: Having spent time on both the public and private sides, it seems more common that public entities that have not dealt with any type of disaster-related Gibbs: It is key to understand how your revenue is created. How do you operate as an organization? And what are the threats that could potentially halt your operation? If a company knows that it need tenants to make money, then management needs to know what could potentially cause vacancies. Understanding this will allow an organization to plan for any
T IDALBAS INGROUP.COM 7 event might assume help will be provided by the federal government when and if needed. And certainly the idea is that help will be provided if and when needed, but I believe there is a lot of educational work that could be done to help educate these entities that do not know how the system works and what is entailed to receive funding after a disaster occurs. This is very important as disasters become more common in the historically uncommon areas. Murphy: Let’s jump into some of the other points — talk about tracking hours. Putting systems in place to properly track hours and work performed could help your recovery considerably should a disaster occur, and you wish to eventually seek reimbursement for the force account labor and equipment. Can you discuss this more? Gibbs: This is certainly a pivotal point. It is very helpful that in today’s environment more and more organizations are utilizing technology to track staff time, otherwise known as force account labor. Force account labor is broadly defined as professional services, construction, rehabilitation, repair or demo performed by government employees. While there “It is very helpful that in today’s environment more and more organizations are utilizing technology to track staff time, otherwise known as force account labor.”
8 D I SAS T E R R ECOVE RY TODAY.COM are organizations that have not made this change yet, I see it as vital. Once time is logged in a computerized system it becomes much easier to mine the data needed to substantiate to FEMA total costs accrued for force account labor. This is important since such labor is partially reimbursable. I think with any public organization there is always room to grow and evolve when it comes to better identifying and detailing the work that was performed during exact periods of time. Murphy: While force account labor is an important piece to a recovery, so is force account equipment. What do you think could be done to better prepare an organization such as a port authority? Gibbs: Just like staff time, track equipment usage. And since the time and associated costs for the equipment can potentially be reimbursed, it is something that could benefit any organization. Since operating equipment might be additional cost to a budget that likely has not accounted for usage during an emergency situation, knowing how and why to capture these costs will provide peace of mind to an organization. When the time comes to make quick decisions to expend the funds to operate the necessary equipment, the decision will be easier to make. This is important because the faster the equipment is up and operating, the better the chances will be of mitigating the severity of the loss. This can then reduce the overall loss and protect any assets or facilities that might be compromised due to the disaster. A few tips to capture equipment and usage are, tracking mileage, hours or usage such as for a generator, and capturing fuel usage, etc. I would imagine if there was an easier way to capture this information and quickly for that matter, it would help many organizations collect the data they need in a timely and efficient manner. It’s also important to mention that, organizations that have been through disasters most likely have learned through trial and error and have been able to perfect the capturing of information more efficiently. On the other hand, organizations that have not experienced disasters will find it more difficult to effectuate when the time comes. Unfortunately, numbers of the latter are increasing as disasters have become more common in parts of the country that are not used to experiencing them. A good start is to have an updated log of all equipment — currently being used and equipment that is held in reserve. This helps establish some sort of a benchmark. Murphy: Let’s talk about documentation. You just shared why it’s important to track staff time and equipment usage. What else should be documented, and how? Gibbs: Documentation is necessary when working through an insurance claim or essentially any situation we might be trying to argue: evidence is powerful and wins cases. And when we mention documenting here, I mean photos, detailed descriptions of the incident, even drawings/diagrams and how a scenario may have played out.
T IDALBAS INGROUP.COM 9 I think having strong documentation procedures in place will set any organization up for the most successful recovery they might be able to achieve. I relate it to insurance because in my role, documentation is key when working through claims. But quite frankly, strong documentation practices help all areas of the organization. The sooner an incident is documented, the better the information will be. The more time lapses, the less credible the information will be when arguing your position; so again, documentation is crucial. With that said, documenting a car accident versus a storm, destroying a building and/ or causing severe damage, can present its own challenges. It might be days inbetween when the disaster occurred and when documentation can be captured due to not having access to areas or even “Documentation is necessary when working through an insurance claim or essentially any situation we might be trying to argue: evidence is powerful and wins cases.”
10 D I SAS T E R R ECOVE RY TODAY.COM governmental restrictions in certain areas due to posted safety concerns. So, having a process in place for when and how to document will only help an organization better prepare for a disaster. Murphy: We very briefly touched on this, but what I find to be incredibly helpful and a true sign that organizations take planning seriously, is training. What are your thoughts on training and the reality of having a properly trained team to handle a disaster should one occur? Gibbs: Without training, much of the effort put into preparedness and planning can be hindered. Much of this has to do with available resources and executive mindset. If the organizational leaders are not keen on investing in proactively preparing for potential issues, then you very well might not have resources available for training. While some public entities have fullfledged emergency management divisions, others might not have the
T IDALBAS INGROUP.COM 11 budget and or capabilities, resulting in training being put on the back burner until it is too late. While I believe training is the piece that brings the whole puzzle together and makes it strong enough to withstand a shaky hand, I’m not sure it’s on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Murphy: What do you see as some of the tougher barriers or obstacles that you face, when trying to implement a process ahead of time, that you know will set your agency up for a more risk-averse or better prepared future? Gibbs: I think organizations are becoming aware that they are not immune to disasters that they may have thought they once were. With that, I would say a challenge could be getting your Chief Executive Officer or another decision maker to agree on allocating additional funding for preparedness and planning measures, or equipment such as generators or pumps. Allowing staff the time to attend training is always a challenge as well. Not only does the training need to be relevant to their job, but in some manager’s minds the “cost” and “return on investment” have to be justifiable to even offer it. Murphy: How have you combated these challenges? Gibbs: Fortunately, I have had great support frommy decision makers. While I am currently working on a few large projects involving our port asset management, I have been able to do so with the support of my leaders, which is key. I would attribute that to strong communication, painting a clear picture and showcasing the added benefits, including why it is necessary. For example, while the property insurance market hardens, premiums are increasing dramatically. To really understand what the most up-to-date values assets should be insured to, property assessments are a method to finding this. So, by sharing with my decision makers that premiums change based on the values insured to, as this dictates capacity required, I was able to paint a picture that made sense. The benefit could be a reduced premium if, in fact, the assets should be insured differently, but ultimately and most importantly it is an updated insured program. There are many factors that go into this, but this is the gist. The project moves forward and the assets will be reassessed. “Without training, much of the effort put into preparedness and planning can be hindered. Much of this has to do with available resources and executive mindset.”
CORPORATE OFFICE 126 Business Park Drive Utica, New York 13502 888.282.1626 Outside U.S. (315) 797.3035 FAX: (315) 272.2054 [email protected] Copyright © 2020 Rising Phoenix Holdings Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Tidal Basin and the Tidal Basin logo are registered trademarks of Rising Phoenix Holdings Corporation. Follow Disaster Recovery Today on Facebook & Twitter: Facebook.com/TidalBasinGroup Twitter.com/DRToday DISASTER RECOVERY TODAY® is published as a public service by Tidal Basin. It is provided for general information and is not intended to replace professional insurance, legal or financial advice for specific cases. WEB ADDRESSES TidalBasinGroup.com DisasterRecoveryToday.com PUBLISHER Daniel A. Craig, MBA EDITOR Sheila E. Salvatore DRT20 8002-E Is there a topic you would like to see covered in an upcoming edition of Disaster Recovery Today®? You can make topic suggestions, contact the editor, request free subscriptions and browse our back issues all from our website — DisasterRecoveryToday.com. We look forward to hearing from you. Murphy: These are some really great points to think about and ways to ensure a port is prepared for the future. Thank you for your time and for sharing your experiences and input. Is there anything you would like to add? Gibbs: I believe it’s important to keep in mind that while we can have processes and procedures in place, we need to remain aware and open to the fact that times are always changing. While these five planning and preparedness points “If we can focus on creating a more transparent work environment and communicate the needs from a risk perspective, showcasing strong examples and support as to ‘why’ certain planning and preparedness measures are important, I think it will go a long way in helping any organization to move forward and properly align their operations to deal with disasters should they occur.” are important, so much of it all relies on that key word: communication. If we can focus on creating a more transparent work environment and communicate the needs from a risk perspective, showcasing strong examples and support as to “why” certain planning and preparedness measures are important, I think it will go a long way in helping any organization move forward and properly align their operations to deal with disasters should they occur. Murphy: Thank you for your time Kyle.