QBE to shut amid Covid-19 ‘stress test’

Insurance firm QBE has announced that it will shut its European operations headquarters in London as part of a stress test amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

The move forms part of the group’s contingency measures to ensure that it can “operate without interruption” during the pandemic.

A “large proportion” of its workforce are currently able to work agilely. In order to ensure the test is “valuable”, QBE is now asking employees to “continue their daily activities” as they would do usually.

The exercise will allow them to re-test employees’ personal circumstances, as well as the “effectiveness” of the company’s business continuity plans in the UK. The test will run for 24 hours, and no visitors will be permitted to the offices during its length.

In a statement, QBE said: “In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are escalating our contingency measures in case it becomes necessary to close one or more of our UK offices for the safety of our employees.

“As such, QBE will be further testing the resilience of its business continuity plans by closing its UK offices on Wednesday, March 18, and instructing all of our employees to work from home on this date only.” 

It added: “To help test our resilience we would like to encourage our customers to keep scheduled meetings by conducting them virtually.

“We do not expect any interruption to our services and our customers as a result of this test.”

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