We have talked to several agents over the last few days; and in every single conversation, agents have shared their concern for their clients and the impact that the COVID-19 virus is having on their lives. Agents have shared countless examples of how their clients have lost their jobs, and the impact it is having on those that own restaurants, bars, retail stores, or work for hotels, airlines or conference centers and so many others. Agents have expressed the many ways they are working to help their clients be creative in their businesses, reduce their costs, navigate these unprecedented times. They are keeping their clients informed of the relief that becomes available for them and ensure as they change their business models their clients have the right coverage.
The second topic on the minds of our agents is protecting the health and safety of their teams. In our last survey, over 70% of our agents indicated they would not be transitioning to a fully remote work environment and will continue to have some staff in their offices. In order to keep their staff safe, many indicated they are no longer accepting any clients or deliveries in their offices and are practicing social distancing and temperature practices. The reality is not all agencies are able to transition to a fully remote workplace, as a result of one or several factors below:
- Technology is not in place to support remote access
- Employees do not have internet access to support remote access
- Home office space and equipment is not available to work remotely
- Children home due to school and daycare closures and childcare concerns
This pandemic has clearly exposed holes in our healthcare system, but additionally, it has also exposed holes in our digital infrastructure. Displayed here is a map of Ohio representing the broadband access across the state. It shows over 26 counties in the state of Ohio have limited access and the speed varies greatly in those counties as compared to the 4 counties that have the best service – indicated in dark blue.
For those agencies that have employees that do not have access to internet that will support remote work, it is important for the agency leaders to:
- Identify all critical business processes
- Cross-train employees to cover these critical areas
For agencies not able to support a remote work environment due to their own internal technology – this is a perfect time to put a business continuity plan in place to ensure your agency is best positioned to function efficiently and effectively now and in the future.
The Big i and Agents Council for Technology created a disaster guide and toolkit that you can use to build a business continuity plan that is right for your agency.
For those that need to evaluate and setup remote access for your agency, Hawksoft complied a comparison of the technology and tools that are available.
Hawksoft also provided the following recommendations
Top recommendation that costs money: For the simplicity of setup and range of features at its price point, HawkSoft’s top recommendation for Remote Access software is RemotePC.
Top recommendation that is free: While not as feature rich as RemotePC, Google’s Chrome RDP solution provides an immediately accessible and free option for transitioning to Work From Home.
Your OIA team is committed to helping ensure that you and your agency are best positioned to operate and serve your clients now and in the future. You can contact OIA Technology consultant, Jason Walker CEO of Agency Insuretech for a free consultative call to discuss your technology needs. OIA has partnered with Jason Walker to provide you with the advice and guidance you need to navigate your agencies technology needs.