Apple was the only Fortune 50 firm to foresee the risk of a pandemic and insure against it ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak. That’s according to a recently released report by the research firm Forrester (via The Register).
Apple’s COVID-19 Pandemic Warnings
COVID-19 wasn’t a black swan; any infectious disease expert could have told you a pandemic was inevitable. Yet when we reviewed the Fortune 50’s current 10-K reports, we saw that while 50 per cent mentioned a pandemic in their risk profiles for investors, they classified it as an ‘act of God’. Only Apple had insured the downside.
Indeed, Apple’s annual reports now seem rather prescient. In its Form 10k for the fiscal year ended September 24, 2016, the company said that it “may be impacted by political events, war, terrorism, public health issues, natural disasters and other business interruptions.” These explicitly included a pandemic:
Should major public health issues, including pandemics, arise, the Company could be adversely affected by more stringent employee travel restrictions, additional limitations in freight services, governmental actions limiting the movement of products between regions, delays in production ramps of new products and disruptions in the operations of the Company’s manufacturing vendors and component suppliers. The majority of the Company’s R&D activities, its corporate headquarters, information technology systems and other critical business operations, including certain component suppliers and manufacturing vendors, are in locations that could be affected by natural disasters. In the event of a natural disaster, the Company could incur significant losses, require substantial recovery time and experience significant expenditures in order to resume operations.
Almost identical warnings have appeared in equivalent documents in the years since.