Flood crisis management: leveraging tools for business continuity

Executive summary

In May 2023, our Customer “BPER Banca” faced a dire situation as over 20 rivers flooded across the Emilia Romagna region. The event posed a significant threat to the bank’s operations and the communities it serves. However, through proactive business continuity measures and the strategic use of advanced tools, BPER Banca not only navigated the crisis but emerged as a beacon of resilience and adaptability. By swiftly activating their continuity protocols and leveraging technology to their advantage, they successfully mitigated negative impacts, ensuring minimal disruption to services and maintaining their commitment to business continuity objectives.

This case study underscores the critical importance of preparedness, agility, and innovation in managing unforeseen challenges, ultimately highlighting BPER Banca’s unwavering dedication to serving its customers and safeguarding their interests, even in the face of adversity.


In May 2023, relentless rainfall besieged the Po Valley, heightening the risk of flooding across Emilia Romagna. BPER Banca, concious of the potential disruption to its operations, swiftly mobilized to safeguard business continuity. The primary objective was to ensure the uninterrupted provision of banking services amidst the imminent threat of natural disaster, thereby preserving customer trust and financial stability.


The crisis management team encountered multifaceted challenges during the crisis response.

Acting swiftly in emergencies where twin units were unavailable posed significant hurdles, requiring agile decision-making and adaptation. The asynchronous flooding of 22 rivers added complexity, with the landscape continually evolving. As a result, preemptive branch closures were necessary, even if some remained unscathed, allowing rapid reopening.

As a result of the intense rainfall, numerous landslides occurred, which not only hindered travel but also compromised telecommunication infrastructure, rendering communication management more challenging. Additionally, landslides created further complications, isolating certain areas and prompting the activation of alternative measures to ensure ATM functionality, such as utilizing 4G-enabled devices.

Finally, the absence of supplier mapping has made it more difficult to mitigate supplier-related risks; however, through consistent communication with key suppliers, the crisis management team managed this aspect admirably.

These challenges underscored the imperative of flexibility and resourcefulness in navigating unforeseen obstacles and maintaining service continuity amidst dynamic circumstances.

Actions taken

BPER Banca’s war room, fortified by its robust testing regime and extensive experience, swiftly sprang into action. The business continuity team initiated a pre-assessment phase leveraging the Orbit Open Platform (Orbit) to anticipate potential impacts. Through Orbit, critical business processes and backup resources identified to ensure operational resilience. This phase was instrumental in directing attention to key processes and initiating backup plans.

In particular, the team focused on 20 critical Business Impact Analyses (BIAs), assessing whether exclusive units or twin units with recovery solutions were in place. Leveraging the comprehensive mapping conducted beforehand in Orbit, twin units were swiftly identified for activation.

Subsequently, BPER Banca utilized Everbridge’s geolocation features to visualize critical resources previously identified in Orbit. This facilitated the compilation of a contact list comprising 226 colleagues, ensuring stakeholders were informed of the impending situation. Everbridge’s Emergency Mass Notification capabilities, alligned with Orbit informations, enabled targeted communication tailored to recipient types, enhancing efficacy.

This coordinated approach, leveraging Orbit’s capabilities in conjunction with Everbridge’s functionalities, underscored BPER Banca’s proactive stance towards crisis management, ensuring readiness and responsiveness in the face of adversity.


Despite the challenges, BPER Banca successfully maintained operational continuity, with only minimal branch closures occurring concurrently. Proactive measures, including resource relocation to secure branches and continuous stakeholder communication, mitigated service disruptions. The bank’s robust disaster recovery protocols ensured uninterrupted cash flow, albeit redirected from unaffected regions. Additionally, the swift post-flood response, offering tailored financial assistance to affected customers, underscored the bank’s commitment to business continuity and customer welfare.

Lessons learned

The crisis underscored the criticality of comprehensive assessment and contingency planning to mitigate disruptions to business operations. The absence of supplier mapping highlighted the importance of vendor resilience in ensuring overall business continuity. Moreover, the experience emphasized the need for flexible contingency measures and enhanced interdepartmental collaboration to address unforeseen challenges effectively.


BPER Banca’s proactive crisis management approach during the 2023 Emilia Romagna floods exemplifies the paramount importance of business continuity planning in mitigating risks and preserving operational resilience. By leveraging technology, strategic planning, and collaborative efforts, the bank not only navigated the crisis but also emerged stronger, reaffirming its commitment to maintaining uninterrupted service delivery and fostering customer trust amidst adversity. Demonstrating remarkable resilience, BPER Banca managed simultaneous branch closures, peaking at 2-5, ensuring continuity of services. Despite challenges, the situation remained manageable, obviating the need for a formal crisis declaration as control prevailed. The Bank’s proactive stance garnered recognition, prompting outreach from the European Central Bank to confirm stability. Furthermore, the post-flood phase saw effective management, with the Bank offering specific financing tools/plans to aid the affected population. BPER Banca’s adept crisis management, combined with its proactive response and dedication to customer welfare, showcases its unwavering commitment to business continuity and community support.


Information provided by Marco Gatti, Business Continuity Manager at BPER Banca

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