Listening to the news, reading reports, and navigating the waters of this COIVD-19 pandemic is often described as “unprecedented times”.  If you had told me twelve months ago we needed to prepare for a global illness that would essentially shut the world down, I wouldn’t have believed you.  Now that we are several months into this social distancing environment, I’ve come to learn how “emergency orders” effect not just myself on a personal level, but the business of insurance at an industry level.

Over the last several months you have seen almost every state issue an emergency order.  Shortly to follow those orders, you have seen Commissioners and Superintendents issue bulletins and data-call requests.  Many of these bulletins have required communication of how insurers are not only putting their pandemic plans into action, but to describe in detail the relief efforts to their insureds.

I have found many of us have experienced the frustration of “urgency” these bulletins have placed on our corporate duties.  The Departments of Insurance want this information quickly, often times with a ten day turn-around due date, or in few cases less.  They want a descriptive narrative of what your company has done to inform your insureds about their options, how your company has responded to insureds’ requests, and how your company plans to navigate these waters in the future.  Sure, these types of request are common in small areas that have suffered whether related catastrophes, but I personally can’t recall a time where these types of questions, rather demands, have been asked of us on a nationwide level.  The situation is truly unprecedented.

I’m sure insurers have been able to comply, but I often wonder if the Departments of Insurance are aware of the strain it has placed on the insurers to provide such detail, as we too, are working in a “new” environment.  Yes, our plans were in place and launched and we have been able to proceed without missing a beat; however, it hasn’t gone unnoticed in our areas of expertise that employees of insurers are also an insured!  We’re mothers and fathers playing teacher, spouse, parent, and employee- expected to get our tasks completed in a not so familiar environment, as well.

The last six months has taught us a lot about the expectations placed on us as insureds.  Perhaps your teams have adjusted and improved your outdated data systems sooner than you originally planned.  Hopefully, we have taken these lessons to build a better plan than the previous that was drafted prior to this experience.  We now know what it takes to keep this business of insurance running during a pandemic, while showing true empathy for our insureds.  We are now aware of the wide arrange of tasks and expectations that could be placed upon us at a moment’s notice. Will we be better prepared for the future? Absolutely!

While you are reading your daily notices of bulletins and data calls, I encourage you to use the resources available to you through AICP, such as AICP Online Communities. Many have asked questions in the membership discussion forum.  Maybe you’ve even been able to assist someone by providing suggestions.  AICP has a library of knowledge available at your fingertips.  If you can’t find it there, you can reach out to one of our great sponsors.  Remember, you are not in this “situation” alone.  There is a large group here with you.  We are all going through this together and we support each other.  You don’t want me teaching your kids, but I can share with you my take on the latest California requirement.  Maybe there is a math tutor here for your kids?  If you are having questions, concerns, or can provide suggestions—reach out!  Reach out to your chapter. Reach out to one of the committees. And if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, reach out to me. I don’t know it all, but I do know I am a member of a great organization that has people that can assist navigating these waters of these “unprecedented times”.   Last question…When, not if, there’s another pandemic, will we still call it “unprecedented”?

Dana Sewell

AICP South Central Chapter

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