Resources for Insurance Agencies
Managing Your Agency During COVID-19 & Quarantine
One of the business risks presented by the growing threat of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is the possibility that one and potentially all your agency employees may need to remain at home under mandatory quarantine for 14 days or longer.
Should this happen, being prepared to continue to operate your agency will ensure that your business doesn’t suffer and that your client’s needs are taken care of.
We have put together a list of actions you should consider as a guide to stimulate your thinking and planning. While it is not an exhaustive list, we hope it is helpful for your preparations.
There are three groups you should communicate with regarding your plans, and who you should have a plan for communicating with in the event of a partial or total closure of your office:
Consider a formal written notice to employees (like the one OAA sent to you previously) that lets them know that:
- They should not come to work if they are sick or have symptoms of illness.
- What your sick leave policies are.
- What your plans are for business operations in the event of quarantine.
Your Insurance Carriers
You should consider having an email prepared and ready to send to all relevant insurance company contacts in the event of an office closure. The email should include instructions on your plans for continuing operations and how to contact members of your staff during the quarantine.
You should consider proactively communicating with all clients (as we have with you) regarding your plans for business operations in the event of quarantine. You should let them know how to take care of all necessary service needs (more on that further down).
Looking to get your employees started on working remotely?
Download the working from home guide!
Even if you become ill, or your entire office must close due to quarantine, insurance clients will still have car accidents, fires, tornadoes and the need for policy changes, etc. How will you get these things accomplished? Possibilities include:
Insurance company service centers.
If you are already contracted with service centers, continuing client service is as simple as turning daily service over to them and advising clients. If you are not contracted, we strongly encourage you to do that immediately. Consider it insurance!
Service remotely from employees’ homes.
If your employees all have home computers with internet connectivity and cell phones you should be able to continue service remotely. In order to make sure this will work you should ascertain whether your various software programs require IP addresses in addition to logins. If they do this is a task that should be taken care of immediately. Even if you plan to continue to provide service with your own staff remotely what happens if all of you become ill? Again, we suggest that you contract with service centers even if only for back up and even if only temporarily until the threat has passed.
Be sure your clients know how to contact you and your agency.
How will you handle mail while you are closed? At a minimum you may simply want to suspend delivery until you are open again.
The USPS service “Informed Delivery” is not available for businesses but there are commercial services who can assist with this. You may want to consider subscribing.
Almost everyone can receive email on personal devices and home computers. But do your employees? Now is the time to be sure so that they can work from home.
Accounting & Banking
You will need to continue to pay bills, make payroll and perform other routine tasks to ensure that your business obligations are timely met. Most accounting systems can be accessed from anywhere, but some do require IP verification in advance. This is something to take care of now.
You may want to make certain you have a supply of checks, envelopes and stamps at home in the event you are quarantined and need to pay bills. Keeping a list of addresses of those you typically pay by check at home is also a good idea. An even better way to pay bills is with online banking services and services like Billpay which can send checks out on your behalf.
OAA sends all payments to you electronically so those deposits can still find their way into your account. Do you receive other payments in the mail? You may want to plan to contact those who do with an alternate address or plan to deposit those items when you are able to return to the office.
Is your payroll system set up for direct deposit? If not, how will employees receive compensation if payroll falls during a period when the office is closed?
There are probably several other things that you will want to do to prepare your business for the potential of disruption due to illness or quarantine, but we hope this list serves as the basis for your starting to put a plan in place.
If we can be of assistance to you by sharing our planning or in any other way as you prepare, please let us know. An Agency Growth Coach is happy to help.
Need a business continuity plan?
This packet was designed to help you and your agency implement a proactive and successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Use this Business Continuity Preparedness Plan as guide to help you with your response.