Redefining protection: Integrating technology and business partnerships into insurance strategies

Is your business insurance strategy as robust as it needs to be? Let’s explore how technology can protect your interests beyond traditional policies, and why connecting with a capable solutions provider that aligns with your goals is key.
Andy Kepes

The best we can do is size up the chances, calculate the risks involved, estimate our ability to deal with them, and then make our plans with confidence.
- Henry Ford (1863 AD - 1947 AD)

The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms,” said Socrates nearly 2,500 years ago. Let’s take the word insurance as an example. Many people purchase insurance policies that deliver a premium that protects against a possible loss in personal, property and business settings. However, a broader definition of insurance can include safeguarding against negative outcomes. 

Insurance is often seen as an overhead, a necessary cost of doing business. But what happens when an insurance claim cannot be made due to exceptional circumstances, or worse, is even denied? In such scenarios, having useful experience and a trusted business partner in your corner becomes critical. 

A costly wakeup call

A recent case occurred in Adtran’s backyard involving Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative (NELPCO). Jeff Churchwell, GM of NELPCO, recounted how a motorist attempting to avoid an animal in the road lost control of their vehicle and plowed into a pole-mounted NELPCO midspan node.

The accident caused over $100,000 worth of equipment damage and disrupted internet service to private residences and businesses in the surrounding area.  

The following hardware was destroyed:

  • Adtran Total Access 5000 (TA5000)
  • Adtran SmaRT Series cabinet
  • Pole mounting hardware
  • Several DC rectifier cards
  • Three Express connectors linking to another cabinet
  • Fiber cable and existing wiring

The driver of the vehicle was uninsured and lacked any real assets. Due to several factors, including potentially massive rate increases, NELPCO decided to absorb the costs of the accident and, as a gesture of goodwill to customers affected by the service interruption, provide each of them with two months of complimentary internet service.

Damaged cabinets
From left to right: four photos of the damaged NELPCO Adtran cabinet/mid-span node.

An expensive insurance policy might not always give you the protection you need, but NELPCO solved the challenges of this situation by leveraging the type of insurance that comes from partnering with a trusted solutions provider. Adtran handled the speedy hardware replacement for Jeff, who’s been a long-time customer. While hardware replacement is crucial, rapid and accurate system configuration driven by software is equally essential to get up and running quickly. This is another key capability where Adtran delivers value. Everything Adtran manufactures has proper software recovery stitched in at the core. 

Adtran advantages

Replacement Adtran hardware can be reprovisioned in as little as 10 minutes, including billing system reflow data. Without adequate software recovery capabilities, reprovisioning just a few thousand customers could take days to weeks, and any mistakes could haunt the network for months. 

TA 5000
Featured above: The Total Access 5000 (TA5000) Series is a 10Gbit/s fiber access platform that supports 10G Combo PON, GPON, XGS-PON, point-to-point, Active Ethernet and dedicated Carrier Ethernet services, among others. Unmatched software capabilities get you up and running in minutes.
Adtran delivers other key technology advantages over the competition that help customers gain solid footing after natural disasters, accidents and theft. ALM fiber monitoring solutions by Adtran incorporate an optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR), that monitors fiber connections 24/7 and quickly alerts the operator when disaster occurs. It employs solid-state technology, which means there are no moving parts, and it provides headache-free operation. Operating on a Linux-based system, ALM runs on only 10 watts of power, delivering stable, reliable, non-intrusive monitoring and low opex costs.
Featured above: Leading-edge ALM fiber monitoring solutions from Adtran deliver instant alerts (including location) to disruptions in fiber connections.

In today’s fiercely competitive market, internet service providers (ISPs) must operate with maximum efficiency. While some may prefer to purchase and configure their cabinets in a somewhat boutique fashion, the reality is that they can no longer afford to operate with any inefficiency. Purchasing a completely engineered all-in-one broadband deployment solution from Adtran saves money over individually sourced components. In addition to the upfront capital savings, a preconfigured Adtran cabinet also reduces the expense of human resources required for hardware configuration and troubleshooting due to pre-engineering and stringent testing. ISPs also gain peace of mind knowing all Adtran cabinet configurations meet Telcordia GR-487-Core, Issue 3 compliance standards for outdoor equipment. Service providers require compliance with GR-487 to ensure long-term reliability and complete protection of outside plant communications equipment. 

Since its founding in 1985, Adtran has guaranteed that all of its solutions work correctly from the start.

Featured above: The SmaRT Series is one of many quality cabinet enclosures manufactured in the USA by Adtran. Increase deployment flexibility while streamlining installation, maintenance and support. Learn more

As business owners and operators, ISPs face many challenges. Insurance is an important cost of doing business, but don’t let an expensive policy lead to inaction by not diligently formulating a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.

A comprehensive disaster recovery plan can be successfully handled in-house with a modest budget of $25,000. This would encompass developing a simple disaster unit:

  • Enclosed, towable trailer to hold a cabinet ($8K - $10K)
  • A replacement cabinet used in emergencies ($6K - $12K)
  • Necessary electronics and cabling (about $3K)  

Fast hardware and software restoration are essential in disaster recovery, but all ISPs should have a solid understanding of their state and local laws. Some areas have strict Public Utility Commission (PUC) laws that mandate that a service disruption can last no longer than a certain period before fines are incurred. This does not include how a service disruption can negatively impact a company’s reputation with its customers.   

Takeaways and lessons learned

Everything yields to diligence.” - Antiphanes (408 BC - 334 BC)

A recent analysis by Bankrate reported that while insurance can provide short-term financial relief, long-term disadvantages from a single insurance claim can include premium increases from 20% to 50%. What’s more, it can negatively affect your ability to acquire adequate coverage in the future, even by switching carriers.

Jeff at NELPCO devised a practical solution for protecting all current and future outside cabinets installed around motor traffic. Working with a contractor, Jeff is having steel retaining barriers that resemble bridge guardrails installed in special high-strength/high-impact concrete and more robust pole mounts. Each new security installation costs roughly $2,500. To keep things looking nice and minimize homeowner association concerns, each barrier will be landscaped with greenery planted to cover it. Most importantly, Jeff tells people to keep their eyes on the road.

It’s been said that education is what you get from reading the small print; experience is what you get from not reading it. When disaster strikes, insurance companies often respond quickly and settle claims. But this might not always be possible or the best solution to a problem. Having a trusted technology partner like Adtran can help safeguard your interests and resolve challenging problems quickly and efficiently, getting you and your customers up and running again when the unexpected happens.

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