COVID-19 and the Innovative Spirits of the American People

Doug Witcher | March 20, 2020

CEO Newsletter

Doug Witcher, CEO of Smart Choice, a network for independent insurance agentsThe last several months have been an unprecedented time in our nation’s history. Certainly, none of us can remember anything quite like it. Who would have thought it was possible to shut an entire economy down in a few short weeks?

We are fortunate in the insurance industry, as we are a commodity that has seen much less immediate impact from the shut downs. Americans need insurance no matter the performance of the economy, and we are blessed to be in a business that allows us to continue working and serving our clients during this difficult time. We have been given the unique opportunity and position to act as advisors during a time of crisis for so many. Be sure to reach out to clients and ensure they are safe and healthy, and their needs are being met. Taking time to re-establish connections and strengthen relationships with clients could be a silver lining for our industry despite the dark cloud hanging over us.

Despite all of the negative impacts we have seen to daily life, it gives us a glimpse of how prepared we are as corporations for such a trial. At any other time in history, we wouldn’t have been able to carry on working from home and communicating with each other with very little interruption. Technology has afforded us so much opportunity to stay moving.

It has also provided us an amazing view of the innovative spirits of the American people. Gyms, martial arts studios, schools, dance studios and the list goes on… have taken their classes online to give people a sense of normalcy and keep them moving. Retail stores are on social media to showcase products and deliver goods. Restaurants and catering companies are using wait staff to deliver food and fulfill take-out orders to keep them employed. I could go on and on, but the fact is I’ve seen more creativity and will to keep going in a few short weeks, than we are used to seeing on a normal basis. It is encouraging and refreshing.

But there is also grace – grace afforded to working parents when schools turned to online learning and they had to stay home and take on the role of teacher, on top of their full-time jobs. There was grace extended to teachers trying to learn how to take lessons online and revamp every lesson plan they had already made. There was grace extended to people who fell ill and couldn’t work at all. There was grace extended to workers learning to work remotely.

Most of all, we’ve adapted. And that’s incredibly important. We showed that we can adapt and be fluid with whatever life brings us. Our spirit of community is stronger, and for this short time we have been more understanding of each other. Perhaps we should take the positives of what we’ve experienced, and consider implementing them as we move forward from this thing. And we will move forward and restore ourselves to where we were before. We will regain a sense of normalcy, even if it’s a new normalcy. Keep your adaptive nature, keep you spirit of innovation, and keep persevering!

Cover of Smart Choice Magazine 2020 Issue 2, The Express Markets IssueThe Role of Excess, Surplus, and Specialty Markets in Insurance Agencies

There's a common misconception that excess & surplus (E&S) and specialty lines coverage is only for business that has been historically rated high-risk or for those one-off, hard-to-place risks that cross your desk a few times a year. But as carriers tighten their requirements for writing standard business, having relationships with E&S carriers can help you provide essential coverage for homeowners and business owners who don't qualify for standard policies. Check out the 2020 Issue 2 of Smart Choice Magazine for more.

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