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International Fidelity Insurance Company Weathers Hurricane Sandy With a Sound DR Solution and a Dedicated IT Staff

Barbara Kissner, IFIC CIO and Senior VP Photo by Bill Bernstein


Customer: International Fidelity Insurance Company
Headquarters: Newark, N.J.
Business: Surety, bail and other types of bonds
Challenge: Dealing with a potential system outage during Hurricane Sandy
Solution: Having a dedicated IT staff and a disaster recovery solution from Maxava
Hardware: An IBM Power Systems 520 Express and an IBM System i5 250
Software: Maxava HA Enterprise software and DAPREX Inc.’s general ledger package

No matter where one lives or does business, the potential for life-changing weather events exists—tornadoes, cyclones and hurricanes, torrential rains or snowstorms. In extreme cases, entire regions can be inundated with water or knocked around by high winds, sometimes resulting in the loss of power.

When Hurricane Sandy plowed into the U.S. East Coast in 2012, its effects were felt up and down much of the seaboard, perhaps hitting New Jersey the hardest. Even now, the impact of the damage can be seen, and it might be years before the area is truly up to speed again.

Residents bore the brunt of the high winds and tidal surges, enduring days and even weeks of gas shortages, empty food shelves and power outages. And that wasn’t the worst of it— homes and other buildings were destroyed by the high waters and ferocious winds, forcing many into makeshift evacuation centers.

Businesses were also impacted, with lost power being the most obvious consequence. International Fidelity Insurance Company (IFIC), based in Newark, N.J., was among the many businesses to lose electricity, leaving the company reliant on a co-location center. Thankfully, however, it had a sound disaster recovery (DR) plan in place, which included DR software from Maxava.

As a result, even a storm as wicked and widespread as Sandy couldn’t keep IFIC down. Working around the clock with the assistance of Maxava, it continued to operate despite darkened offices and silent hallways.

A Simple View

IFIC is one of the biggest independent and privately owned surety companies in its industry. Barbara Kissner, IFIC CIO and senior vice president, puts surety in context by saying that it’s essentially a three-way agreement.

She explains: “For example, let’s say you own a large piece of property on which you want to build a shopping center. Per the usual, you would get a contractor who would hire subcontractors. You want to ensure, however, that the contractor is going to be able to deliver the job and pay those subcontractors because, as sometimes happens, the contractor might go bankrupt or run into problems, leaving you with a hole in the ground.

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.

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