January 2012

Spotlight – In international business, almost every market around the world does things in a different way. This often leads to misunderstandings and unfulfilled expectations. However, different does not need to mean difficult and knowledge of the needs and characteristics of specific geographic markets is an advantage to those who are active in the global economy. These articles help you understand different aspects of the insurance industry around the world, enabling those who do business there to feel more “at home, abroad.”

In this edition of WORDSTM we have a different Spotlight article and would like to introduce our WORDSTM Personality of the Year: Bob Parker, Mayor of Christchurch.

In February 2011, the city was savaged by a significant earthquake causing thousands of casualties and widespread damage to buildings, communications and the countryside.  However well prepared Christchurch was, with emergency procedures, rescue squads, stand-by teams, back-up facilities, etc, all in place, someone had to coordinate this and reassure those in trouble what was being done, why certain steps were being taken and help keep people’s spirits high. Bob Parker did that. At ease with the media and aware of what the public needed to see and hear, he worked with search and rescue teams, civil defence, the police, the army, hospital and first aid support personnel and became the linked with all activities relating to the recovery effort. The aftermath of the earthquake has seen considerable disruption and for many people, acute discomfort and worry. What the city and, indeed, the whole country needed was for someone to oversee the recovery operation, who was in town, in place, all the time. Bob Parker did an outstanding job in juggling the time it took to handle the many aspects outlined above. His handling of the emergencies relating to the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes has been widely praised. As other world events push Christchurch into the middle pages of newspapers, work continues with site clearance, health and safety reviews of buildings, plans for reconstruction – or not – and talking to the people. Lessons have been learned and safeguards tested. There is a lot of information in the internet and we will restrict ourselves to two sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Christchurch_earthquake and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Parker_%28mayor%29

These provide detail of the gravity of the emergency confronting the whole country and will help understand how Bob Parker’s role as “the face of the city” has earned him the distinction of becoming the WORDSTM Personality of the Year