England will reach the final stage of the government’s roadmap to exiting lockdown on Monday 19th July. This is positive news for society and very welcome. All our staff in England can now decide if they wish to continue to work from home or return to the office. A formal return to office announcement for all W K Webster Group offices in the UK, in conjunction with a new Remote Work Policy, will be issued in September.
We hope all our staff and clients in England enjoy the start of a cautious return to the old normal and we very much look forward to seeing our friends and clients in the near future.
For our office in Singapore, the ongoing government advice is for work from home to remain the default. Whilst our office continues to be manned for essential services, the vast majority of our staff are working from home. Some social restrictions have been relaxed but there are still strict limits on numbers able to meet together.
Our New York office in Manhattan is open and available for staff attendance and socially distanced meetings whilst following all state and CDC guidance.
Our California office is also open and available for West Coast meetings and survey assignments.
In The Netherlands all restrictions have been lifted and our office in Rotterdam is fully open with all staff back in the office.
All offices remain fully functional with a mix of work from home and office attendance, as per Government guidelines in each location.
Further to our message issued on 4th August 2020 (repeated below in full) we wish to now update you on the current status of our return to office policies in all W K Webster Group locations.
Our Head Office in Sidcup (South East London) and regional ISA office in Grimsby (North East Lincolnshire) both remain open in accordance with the UK Government’s guidelines on “working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres”.
We have taken five clear steps to ensure we can continue to work safely from the office, summarised below:
As of 5th November 2020 England is once again operating under a national lockdown. All W K Webster offices in the UK will remain open under the Covid secure measures outlined above. Any member of staff that cannot work from home due to their working environment, or they need to work from the office to help with their own wellbeing, is free to do so.
We continue to follow Government advice and accordingly as of 28 September 2020 we have allowed more employees to return to the office on a split team basis, whilst continuing to work from home for at least half of their working time and no more than half of employees are at the office at any one time. We have also implemented flexible/staggered working hours to allow travel to and from the office at off-peak times. Our office is fully COVID compliant with safe distancing measures being enforced.
We remain 100% operational with the added benefit of staff being able to attend the office on a regular basis.
Our Manhattan office remains open for limited attendance in accordance with the New York State and Tri-State’s combined COVID-19 Guidance. The majority of staff continue to work from home but have the availability to attend the office for socially distanced meetings when required. We continue with full functionality of all operations.
The Government in The Netherlands has announced updated lockdown measures, but rest assured our claim adjusters and surveyors are still 100% operational. Our surveyors are able to attend surveys as required and our claim adjusting staff are working remotely. We are operating at 100% capacity.
Further to our message issued on 6th July 2020 (repeated below in full) we wish to now update you on the current status of our return to office policies in all locations.
Our Head Office in Sidcup (South East London) has now reopened in accordance with the UK Government’s guidelines on “working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres”.
We have taken five clear steps to ensure we can continue to work safely from the office, summarised below:
Similar to Head Office, we have formally reopened this busy survey office. We are following UK Government guidelines in the same way as head office but with additional measures being taken to comply with additional requirements from working within a multi-occupier building and of course following building management instructions. Surveyors are following very strict safety and hygiene practices on site and in the office.
In line with current Government advice in Phase 2 of Circuit Breaker, all staff are required to continue to work from home if they can. We have successfully managed our operations working from home since March and continue to do so. However, we do have permission for a proportion of our staff to attend the office where demonstrably necessary and we are doing so where required. As such, until Government advice changes, our default position is to continue to work from home. We remain 100% contactable, offering 100% of our services, including cargo and H&M &MHsurveys.
Whilst we are not yet permitted a formal return to the office, even on a split team basis, we have taken steps to ensure that the office is COVID safe and we are able to meet all required Safe Management Measures, including installation of facial recognition technology allowing remote temperature recording and contactless door opening.
Our New York office has now reopened in accordance with the New York State’s COVID-19 Guidance. Our office space has been assessed and suitably modified in order to provide a safe working environment for a limited staffing capacity that wish to attend the office on an “as needed” basis.
All remaining staff continue to work from home to provide full functionality of all operations for handling Cargo and Liability claims, Subrogation, Cargo Surveys and Investigations as well as our newly opened Hull & Marine Liability department.
Our business is fully operational with all staff attending the office and observing all safe distancing and recommended hygiene measures. Surveys are being undertaken throughout the region and we remain ready to assist all of our clients.
W K Webster is acutely aware of the support we need to provide to you and our colleagues throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global health emergency.
In this connection we wish to update you on the latest status of our response to this global health emergency. W K Webster is fully operational under its COVID-19 business interruption response plan. This response plan allows W K Webster to ensure its global office locations can continue to operate in accordance with all agreed service levels. All clients and service providers should be reassured that 24/7 contact is maintained throughout our global network.
To provide reassurance and transparency we have shown below some of the key elements from our COVID-19 business interruption response plan:
We have deployed our COVID-19 response team managed in London by our main Board with hub support and coordination in New York and Singapore. Our response team is empowered with the necessary resources to make decisive and immediate decisions to ensure W K Webster is positioned to respond to all client, service provider, colleague and community needs. If you would like further information on how we operate our response team, please contact me direct.
Alternative office arrangements are in force for our entire global workforce of 230 colleagues. This consists of long-term remote work capabilities during work from home orders. All company direct telephone lines are also auto forwarded to our work from home colleagues to ensure seamless communication.
We encourage all our clients to embrace remote meeting technology to ensure we stay in contact and remain productive. W K Webster has invested in Zoom remote meeting technology and we can easily arrange an online remote meeting between any member of our global team and any client and/or service provider. Please liaise with your usual W K Webster contact by email, direct line or mobile to arrange an online meeting.
We have issued special COVID-19 health and safety awareness instructions to all of our 290 Survey Agents across the world. We confirm that our agency network is being actively monitored by our COVID-19 response team and our network remains as resilient as ever during this global health emergency.
In order to further enhance our traditional survey network, we have launched a new eSurvey service under our in-house ISA network, whereby claimants will be given the opportunity to join an eSurvey via a Zoom meeting. The eSurvey will be managed and run by one of our expert field surveyors from their remote work location. The e-survey will consist of an interview with the claimant and the ability for our surveyor to direct the claimant in real time to capture video and photographs that can be uploaded direct to the ISA surveyor. The eSurvey report will be completed by the ISA surveyor based upon the information they obtain and submitted as a secure PDF file to the W K Webster case handle
We are pleased to announce our new eCI service for Casualty Investigations. This new service allows W K Webster to manage casualties, conduct surveys and interview key witnesses in collision, grounding, salvage, fire and Constructive Total Loss (CTL)/Total Loss (TL) casualties via remote video conferencing facilities. The eCI service provides a comprehensive solution to the inability of providing traditional casualty investigations in locations where physical attendance is not possible due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
W K Webster is proudly ISO 27001 certified and our commitment to information security will not waiver throughout the COVID-19 global health emergency; so clients, service providers and colleagues can all rest assured that data will not be compromised due to our change in working practices.
We have developed systems to ensure W K Webster is positioned to issue all casualty guarantees in the event of any new General Average and/or Salvage claims throughout the COVID-19 global health emergency.
All payment systems are operational with full sanction checking and we do not foresee any issues in fulfilling all service level agreements on claim payment timelines.
W K Webster is working with its IT and IS service providers to ensure all our targeted threat protection regimes are on high alert, as we suspect an increased level of risk from online COVID-19 impersonation and/or attempted insurance fraud. Our clients can rest assured we will be actively minimising risks at all levels of communication.
W K Webster is also offering a regional and dedicated COVID-19 emergency response service for any client or service provider that has any claim related question or COIVID-19 related request during this global health emergency. Europe, Middle East & Africa: +44 (0)7715 003651 - The Americas and Caribbean: +1 917 520 0635 - Asia: +65 9012 9176 - Email: COVIDemail@example.com
Please rest assured that W K Webster is positioned to fully support you during this global health emergency. Please all stay safe and follow Government advice at all times. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me direct.
Anthony Smith - CEO
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