A recent webinar from Insurance Business focused on what insurance brokers need to do now, to keep their businesses running during the current Covid-19 crisis. There were lots of interesting comments and below is a snapshot of some of the areas that were discussed.
Keeping brokers businesses running
Key Insights From Insurance Business Webinar 9th April 2020
Katrina Shanks - CEO, Financial Advice New Zealand
Understand revenue streams that are coming, look at expenditure.
Make your P&L as strong as it can be. Work on this.
Develop a worse case scenario cashflow.
We're in the business of assurance to customers not advice at the moment.
How many clients have you reached out to today?
What revenue opportunities are there for your business? Spend time finding and applying for any relevant government support packages.
Big structural changes are accelerating. Your operational models will adapt.
Investments in technology have been vital - Insurance Advisernet
have done a great job over the past few years to build up the technological capabilities and functions. They are now enjoying those capabilities.
Paperless office; you're there now.
Focus on what the industry is all about, it's not just transactional, it's all about helping; helping with claims, helping with transferring risk
Push the message that we are here for you, we feel the same things, have the same concerns as you do.
Ask your clients, hey how are you going, is there something I can do to help.
Physical and financial challenges in setting up working from home:
People are central to this, the human element, mental health, connectedness - we don't want our internal team to feel isolated.
Challenge around time, work requirements and work-load at the moment - it is what everyone is feeling.
Kevin Singel, Senior Advisor, Pivotal Consulting
Moving to remote working, the work experience is so different for so many.
Calls to take care of clients and coworkers are aligned.
Your team want clear ideas about what staff can do to make the business successful.
Turn focus outwards, not inwards.
Working from home:
Create a dedicated workspace - a quiet, uninterrupted space.
Recognise that your day is going to be more complex than you'd like it to be.
Everyone is trying to juggle this stuff at the moment. Everyone.
1: Establish a routine - get up, get dressed, get to it.
2: Be ok shifting gears during the day - between work and personal as you fluctuate, adapt and adjust.
3: Option to be on at what is normally off hours - sometimes working at night or when time allows etc.
4: Agree as a team how you'll be reachable and how you will connect - text, whatsapp, slack, microsoft teams etc.
5: Start your workday with intentionality - eg "I'm going to call 5 clients today before lunch"
6: Check in with co-workers - are you feeling ok about the balance at the moment? How are you going being productive etc?
7: It can take a while to find a good routine, keep trying a few different ways and mix it up. Find ways to connect with colleagues informally and not just in a meeting. Experiment.
8: Regular exercise - get the blood flowing.
Dale Hansen - CEO, Austbrokers Coast to Coast
Challenges: How well we get through this period, is measured by how well our staff will get through this. We looked to control the things we could control.
Some staff who were looking forward to working from home, haven't enjoyed it as much as anticipated. Some who were not excited by the prospects have been surprised at how they have enjoyed the change.
Typical days have changed - 8.5/9 hr day over 12 hrs - has really worked for some staff and was an unexpected outcome.
We're looking to leave some of these new ways of working and will keep them in place after this is all over.
Staff - working from home
Thought we had good work from home policies. Had a pandemic plan in place, happy to share if people are looking to understand what one looks like.
Hadn't checked software people had on different devices.
People used to working on two screens, now had only one. Chairs, desks, setups etc. These might seem mundane, but are important for your staff.
"We've become furniture removalists!"
Cyber issues were also a concern.
Backup plans when turned on, were not as effective as anticipated, they simply hadn't been fully tried and we made the assumption that it would work, but it ran into a few hick-ups.
Try your systems now, if everyone can work from home and how to make it work and work well.
Long-term effects of the pandemic
Some parts of the workforce have become disengaged to insurance as a career path due to need to care for kids and ageing parents.
Skills shortage in the insurance industry, now is an opportunity for people to come in and join a more flexible working environment.
Re-engage new talent into the workforce. Ex staff members who might be able to adapt to a new working / operational model will be brought back into the fold.
Some new changes, some new requirements for recruiting staff who are flexible. 2 days in the office, 3 days at home. Can be a lot more flexible from now onwards.
Seen the advantages of working from home and the flexibility and will adapt it to our workplaces.
Show more trust in your teams and reinforce the value of the work that they are doing.
Grab the positives out of this situation.
WHS - we now have that for home offices and be aware of the additional challenges that staff might be facing. Business owners will have to adapt to it.
Recruitment Opportunities within Insurance Brokerages:
The challenges have opened opportunities to find new or different people to bring into the industry. Now employees can come from across Australia, not just local talent that are 20 minutes down the road.
Life and business is always about relationships. These relationships need to change a little in the current environment.
Diversify or focus within Brokerages:
Growth imperative is critical, now more than ever - help your current clients and ask them for a referral.
Client reductions or cancellations from clients?
Set up a code in your broking systems to track clients who are reducing or changing policies based on Covid-19 impact and then you'll be well placed to know which customers to re-engage with at the right time.
Follow Insurance Business to keep across more of their Webinars in the coming weeks.