Episode 101 — The Digital Broker Podcast

COVID-19 and Insurance: What Your Agency Can Do


On this episode of The Digital Broker, Ryan Deeds reflects on the impact of COVID-19 on the insurance industry. By listening to this episode, you will learn:

  • What kind of stress COVID-19 is putting on insurance agencies and their customers.
  • What you can do to put your agency in a position to keep helping customers during this time.

At the time of this recording, COVID-19 continues to devastate the global economy. Nobody seems unaffected—certainly not insurance agencies. If anything, insurance agencies have a front row seat to the fallout. They’ve been watching their customers drastically reduce staff, hours, and locations. Other customers have had to shut down their businesses completely.

All their lives, people have turned to insurance as a lifeline against hard times. This is the hardest time that many people have ever known, so they’re turning to their insurance agencies for help—only to find that the extent to which insurance agencies can help is being tested. Business interruption insurance offers some relief in the event of natural disasters, but not necessarily for outbreaks like what we’re seeing. Even if you’re covered, there is only so much a carrier can do. We’re seeing losses of an unprecedented size. No carrier could foot so heavy a bill.

The coming months are going to be a time of incredible uncertainty. Every agency will have to grapple with the same questions. What is within our ability to control? What can we do for our customers? How are we communicating with them?

But one thing is for sure: you cannot help your customers if you don’t help your employees.

Your employees are probably working like crazy right now, fielding calls, pleas for help, and angry outbursts. This is on top of their own worries about their health, future, and livelihoods. To enable your agency to help your customers as much as possible, you have to think about what you can do to help your team offload that stress.

Talking about it helps, even if it’s on conference calls. Pretty much everyone is using collaboration tools right now, whether they want to or not. If you’re the leader of your agency, consider giving your employees time to talk about this crisis on group calls. Let your employees blow off some steam about what they’re worried about and how they’re dealing with it, even if it doesn’t have to do with work—in a way, it does. Letting people talk helps to relieve some of the stress and tension, the release of which will help them focus on work a little better. Furthermore, hearing other people’s stories reminds us that we’re not alone, and this creates a feeling of unity and connection that is the basis of a great support network.

It goes both ways: if you’re an employee, take it easy on your leaders. We’re big fans of strong, decisive leadership here at the Digital Broker, and that’s the kind of leadership that will see us through this crisis. But there is unprecedented pressure on leaders right now. Leaders are used to thinking ahead, seeing the big picture, and hiding personal vulnerability—but how far ahead can you see when nobody knows how long this crisis will last? If you see your leaders struggling, try to be supportive and forgiving. Everybody deserves a break right now, including leaders, who have the added worry of what’s going to happen to everybody they work with.

We would like to hear your stories. How are you dealing with this crisis? What is your agency going through? Do you need any help? Find us at the Digital Broker LinkedIn group and tell us what’s on your mind.

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