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The Delta Making the difference in Commercial

Olympic Special Edition 4

Ben’s Olympic challenge Inspecting at the Olympic Park site


Andy Hodge Countdown to the opening Ceremony

Olympic Special Edition

Allianz Commercial’s magazine 2012 Editor Nicola Leslie marketing officer Layout SandisonPay Printed by Banner Managed Communications Editorial address Allianz Commercial 57 Ladymead Guildford, Surrey GU1 1DB The paper used in the publication of The Olympic Special Edition is manufactured from wood from sustainable forests and carries the seal of approval of the Forest Stewardship Council.


High performance – a marathon, not a sprint With the opening ceremony of the UK’s biggest sporting event only days away, all of us can look forward to a spectacular display of high performance as the world’s finest athletes demonstrate many of the values of our business – passion, focus, teamwork and professionalism.

When Team Allianz was launched in April last year, Andrew Torrance asked us all to learn lessons and draw inspiration from our athletes and raise our game to become a high performance organisation. In Commercial, we have taken the baton and run, with a few gold medals along the way, most notably; our CII Chartered Insurer status and our Commercial Insurer of the Year award win for the second year running.

These accolades are the tangible proof of what we already know – we really are a great business with the right strategy and our skills and knowledge surpass our industry peers. The link with Team Allianz is a perfect fit for us and throughout the year, we’ve all had opportunities to engage with our athletes; we’ve had the Team Allianz Live events at every branch, Getting to Know You days, the High Performance event in London and BIBA in Manchester to name just a few.

In this special edition, we take a look back at some of our ‘Gold Medal Moments’ in a Gallery special feature. We also speak to engineer surveyor Ben Turner about his Olympic challenge and what he’s inspecting at the Olympic Park site and Andy Hodge gives us his countdown to the opening ceremony. Finally, we talk to Ian Saunders about our business continuity preparations for our offices which may be affected by the additional millions of people expected in the city during the Games. Of course, when the Olympics are over and people are reflecting on their success, we won’t be standing still. Our journey is a marathon not a sprint, so we’ll continue to seek out opportunities which will bring us more gold medal moments and will ensure we remain top of our game for a very long time to come.

Chris Hanks, general manager, Allianz Commercial



Business Continuity – keeping us running IAN SAU NDERS, BUS IN ES S CO N T IN U IT Y M AN AG ER

For the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, it’s fair to say that the vast majority of us will be glued to our TVs or may even be lucky enough to have tickets, enjoying the sporting spectacular in person. As the host country for an event of this scale there have been opportunities to take advantage of and challenges to overcome. Many businesses will have logistical considerations to take into account and for

Unsurprisingly, transport issues were top of the list. So with help from the Olympic Delivery Authority, we issued a survey to Gracechurch Street (GCS) employees to build a clear picture of how they travel to work. This would identify travel hotspots and how the Games may affect their journeys. We received a 67% response rate, so we were confident that our

those with operations in central London, a business continuity (BC) plan has never been more crucial.

findings would provide an accurate picture for us to work with.

Here, our Business Continuity Manager, Ian Saunders, explains what steps we’ve taken to ensure business as usual for Allianz.

With 630 employees in GCS (including staff working for AGC&S) we also had to consider the implications of everyone wanting to take holidays at once, leave the office early or work from home while the Games are running.

Planning the plan In September last year, our BC team (with representatives from across the business) got together to map out our plan for the Olympics and how we could best ensure we can operate as usual. We identified what the main risks are likely to be


and we scoped out the best way to minimise and work around them.

As a result of the survey we decided the best approach would be to let managers for our various business areas control the requirements for their own teams and raise any challenges accordingly.

Communicating the plan While our aim is to operate business as usual we don’t expect employees to make arduous journeys to work. If it’s easier to walk, cycle or work from another office or from home, then the message is to do so, provided their manager’s consent is given. For those who come into the office as normal, early starts and early finishes are expected and indeed encouraged, provided adequate cover

We’re confident that our IT infrastructure will cope with any increase in numbers working from home. There are also issues with domestic broadband capabilities and this can’t be tested. We can only compare it to situations like the ‘snow days’ we’ve had in the past. To allow people to work from home we’ve issued an increased number of login tokens, so the flexibility is there for those who may need it.

is still provided for customers. We’ve issued various emails asking employees to plan journeys in advance and let their managers know if they anticipate any major challenges. Staff have been encouraged to visit website to get advice on how to make journeys easier. We’ve also asked that people based in other offices, don’t travel into London for non-critical meetings and instead, postpone or use conference calls.

Monitoring the plan While the Games are running, the business continuity teams will have a conference call every day. This is to discuss any issues, alternative arrangements that may need to be made and numbers in the office and at home. As we’re confident we can operate business as usual and don’t anticipate any issues, these daily calls may not be needed after the first week. Everything considered, we’re confident we’re now Games ready!



Our Gold Medal Moments some Team Allianz highlights

11 athletes, 19 locations visited, 3000 employees engaged





• Has an 80,000 capacity • Is the lightest Olympic Stadium ever built • The 14 lighting towers are needed because these will be the first Olympic Games with HDTV freeze-frame coverage • Has over 700 rooms inside, including changing and prayer rooms • A hawk named Willow flies around the stadium to stop pigeons from nesting! • Over 800,000 tonnes of soil was removed prior to construction - enough to fill the Albert Hall 9 times over! AQUA TICS CENTRE

• The wave shaped roof measures 12,000 square metres: one and a half times bigger than Wembley’s football pitch. P RESS CENTRE

• A 24 hour media hub for around 20,000 broadcasters, photographers and journalists who’ll bring the Games to 4bn people worldwide. • Is the size of 6 full-size football pitches • Inside is a catering village serving 50,000 meals a day • Big enough to house 5 jumbo jets placed wing-tip to wing-tip • The UK’s biggest fork lift truck was used during the erection of the steel frame. AT HLETES VILLA GE

• Will be home to 23,000 athletes and officials • Total budget for the Village is £1.1bn • Will be transformed into flats for local residents post Games.


Ben’s Olympic Challenge Our Engineering Inspection division is the appointed inspection provider for many of the Olympic venues, including the Athletes Village, the Olympic Stadium, the Aquatics Centre and the Media Centre. All are impressive venues which bring their own set of challenges from a safety inspector’s point of view. BEN TURNER, E N G IN EER S U R VEY O R

One man fit for the challenge is our engineer surveyor, Ben Turner. With hundreds of lifts, escalators, lighting rigs, suspension devices and cranes to inspect, this is no walk in the (Olympic) park, even for the most experienced of surveyors. Ben is no stranger to inspecting large, complex structures; ExCel, Westfield and London City Airport are just a few in his region. However, his Olympic appointment has required him to learn new technical skills (around escalator and building maintenance inspection units) and scale new heights. One of his toughest challenges was being on top of the stadium in bad weather conditions, examining the 14 floodlight towers. There’s been heavy security in place for three years on the Olympic site. There are tight checks similar to

those in airports, with metal detectors, bag searches and sniffer dogs. Inductions are required for each venue as well as the Olympic Park itself, with passports needed for day passes. During the five year construction phase, Ben has been to the site every week, sometimes two or three times a week. But when the games actually start, his job is mainly done as we’ve been instructed by our venue clients (the management

One of his toughest challenges was being on top of the stadium in bad weather conditions, examining the 14 floodlight towers.

companies) to ensure all examinations are completed before 27 July. With his work complete, Ben can enjoy the Games just like the rest of us. But when the closing ceremony has taken place, he’ll be back at the site, continuing his examinations.



If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail These Games are like no other I’ve been to. But then again, Beijing was nothing like Athens either. Each time presents new opportunities, new pitfalls, new highs and new lows, and indeed each final phase of preparation is vastly different. A ND Y HOD GE MBE, O LY M PIC G O LD M ED ALLIS T

I can take a few things from each of my previous experiences to try to help my preparation for this Games but for the most part it’s a constant process of adapting and evolving what I know into a new environment, team, or occasion. I think that’s the key to repeating success, as opposed to finding what works and religiously sticking to it.


For instance, I’m currently up a mountain in Austria. I can actually hear cowbells as I write this! We’ve been to this camp many times but each time something is different; whether it’s a new angle for training or adapting the programme to the new teams’ strengths and weaknesses, no two camps are ever the same.

However, what lies over the horizon is huge, intimidating, and equally our goal. The Olympics, always the same in name, but never the same, is the one event we aim for during the whole four year Olympiad.

or two, but there’ll be no interviews except for post race. We have one simple task, that’s to row at our best. Unless it’s going to make the boat go faster, it gets excluded. And that’s why everyone’s support now means so much.

It’s our one chance to justify every success and failure, every sacrifice, all the pain and glory along the way. So much hangs on getting it right.

That support is invested into every stroke in training and I’ll carry that onto the start line. But when it comes to preparing to race, I’ll need space, I’ll need to be able to relax and be calm. This is a solitary affair, and an environment that I’ll only share with my crew and coach.

Tapering (the period of rest before a competition) comes two weeks before the games while we’re in the pre-Olympic camp in Portugal. This is always an odd experience. Our bodies and minds are adapted to training hard, it seems all we know is the feeling of fatigue, so it’s a once a year treat where we can wake up without the feeling of a hundredweight on our legs, realising we’ve more flexibility in our backs than we ever thought possible, and, positively, having a nagging feeling that we’re not doing enough. During this process moods change, as there’s a lot more energy in the camp. This can be an explosive mix, especially when pranksters come across people who don’t necessarily enjoy pranks. For me however, I assume I’ll be rooming with my age-old rowing partner Pete Reed. Luckily we know each other well enough to know what will annoy the other. Something that’s fun to use, but only after the Games!

The world melts away when it comes to racing. The only people who exist are my crew and my competitors. Those I love and those I want to destroy. While I have a huge amount of respect for everyone on the lake, it’s business. The only aspect that penetrates this focus is the roar of the crowd, mainly as I won’t be able to hear the calls from my bowman. When this comes it’s just time to go.

When the Games start, we’ll be staying in a hotel near the Olympic rowing course in Windsor. Our support staff pride themselves on leaving no stone unturned when it comes to preparing. For the last three Olympics, we’ve not stayed in the village during the competition. I think this is a very positive aspect, despite the grievances felt by the Aussies! The village is full of distractions and things that can compromise performance, as much as it’s inspiring. Within the rowing team we’ve all the inspiration we need. While the Games are running I’ll be keeping a pretty low profile. From time to time, I’ll send out a tweet


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Delta - Olympic Special  

Olympic special magazine produced for Allianz UK.