Business Continuity – What Have You Learned Over the Last Year?

At the time of writing this article, America has reached the threshold of approximately 100 million Americans who have received a least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. We seem to be on our way back to attending sporting events, concerts, and IACON 2021 in October. As you reflect on the past year, what did you learn about your business?

We know that COVID-19 is far from over. As a society we are just beginning to realize how it may have changed our way of life. For those fortunate enough to work for organizations that could provide flexibility and remote work options you’ve probably seen an increase in the quality of your work-life balance or now integration. Technology has made business continuity possible. It’s allowed us to continue our business operations and keep our employees and clients safe.

However, as an industry we have been late the table on embracing technology. It’s unfortunate as the insurance industry operates on deadlines and insurance agents have no choice but to meet them or suffer the consequences. Policies renewals, prospective clients waiting for new business quotes and clients needing to make changes to their current coverage in a timely manner doesn’t stop due to COVID, tornados, hurricanes, flooding, etc.  Even under normal circumstances, getting everything done on a timely basis can be a challenge. But what happens if circumstances are not normal? Did you invest in the technology to keep your business operating?  Do you have a business continuity/ disaster plan for your agency?

According to the recent 2020 Agency Universe Study released by Big I, only 1 in 20 insurance agencies had a disaster recovery plan that included pandemics.

Disruption to the operation of your agency could lead to E&O claims. E&O claims against agents could include not renewing clients’ coverage and clients not being able to add additional property, autos or coverage to their policies.

Business continuity planning allows you to remain open and gives you peace of mind that you can meet the duty to your clients. It also allows you to keep your staff safe and mitigate your exposure to E&O claims.

The Agents Council for Technology (ACT) has great resources available to you through the Big “I” website related to disaster planning and business continuity as well. Here’s a link to access ACT’s guide to help you plan.

No one can predict the future of business, but the last year has changed the expectations of consumers and employees. Moving forward we will be a more virtual society and consumers will expect you to remain accessible without disruption. Employees who have been working remote will want to continue to enjoy that convenience. To remain competitive to both your clients and employees you must plan for a more virtual environment and have a disaster plan ready. Don’t let a lack of planning for business continuity threaten your livelihood and increase your E&O exposure.

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