My crisis PR agency, 5WPR was pleased today to read the announcement that Liberty Mutual Insurance has added a crisis management endorsement to its new commercial lead umbrella policy form –It’s great that insurance companies recognize the vast importance of good crisis communications.

In today’s world, bad communications can cost companies millions – or even billions of dollars. As Liberty’s spokesperson said when announcing the policy “Sometimes a situation is clearly a crisis that needs immediate action.”

Working in PR is often like working the ER night shift on a 100-degree summer weekend. You never know what’s going to happen next. Product recall. Sexual harassment. Not wanting to rat to the police. Involvement in a shooting. Bankruptcy. Corporate merger. Affair with a secretary. Fraud. Government investigation. Protests at corporate headquarters. We have worked through all of these situations and more with our clients. I’ve helped major corporations, small businesses, and celebrities get through a fair number of troubling times, from financial scandals at a Fortune 100 company, to countless indictments and accusations, to arrests at New Jersey construction companies, to trials and legal proceedings for celebrities like Lil’ Kim, as well as average Joes.

One key lesson learned from these experiences is that even though there are times when you can get away with burying your head in the sand, a crisis that brings media attention isn’t one of them. Drop what you’re doing and address crisis situations as they happen; it’s impossible to sit behind a computer and “outwork” catastrophes. Your entire business, or your whole life, can be changed by one article or one rumor, true or untrue.

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The court of public opinion doesn’t wait – and anyone involved in a crisis must understand the need to respond quickly to the media.

Of course, Liberty’s announcement was also good Public Relations by their PR agency – Liberty’s policyholders can use the $50,000 in crisis management work only at Weber Shandwick, the PR firm that represents Liberty – and its doubtful Weber has ever taken any PR clients for such a low fee – let alone a crisis PR client.  But nonetheless, following in the footsteps of Chubb who last year offered up to $300K in crisis PR services in its corporate policies and other insurance companies, this is good for business and good for all of us in Public Relations.

As Warren Buffett has said “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, 1 of the 25 largest US PR Agencies, and author of “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” an Amazon best selling Public Relations book

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.