Pandemic business insurance, do your clients really need it? And if so, how do you talk to them about it without sounding like you’re taking advantage of a vulnerable situation? After the previous two years, we learned that dealing with the business challenges of a pandemic is no easy feat. So knowing when and how to broach the subject of pandemic coverage with your clients is crucial to providing your clients with the best care and protection.
Whether that means walking your clients through the claims process, suggesting ways to save money on policies, or connecting clients to resources related to business resiliency, your consistent outreach and communication will help strengthen the business relationship and pave the way for you to recommend new and additional types of coverage. In this guide, we will help you and your agents understand when and how to prepare your clients with pandemic business insurance.
Review Insurance Coverage
To start, insurance agents should review existing coverages with their clients routinely. It may be too late to cover COVID-19 losses, but clients may want to know what would be covered in the event of future pandemics or other catastrophes.
Even if current policies do not protect against pandemic-related losses, clients should know that. For example, if a client has a business interruption policy, they may think they’re covered in the event of a future pandemic. But if there’s an exclusion for events like pandemics, it’s better for clients to know that now. That way, they can take steps like creating an emergency fund, rather than relying on a policy that wouldn’t pay out.
If there is an option to provide pandemic-related insurance coverage, share that information with clients. The more they understand what is and what isn’t covered, the more informed decisions they can make to protect their businesses.
But it’s not just about reviewing what’s covered. Insurance agents can also go over policies with clients to prepare clients financially and operationally, such as by:
Identifying Cost-Saving Opportunities
To prepare for the financial effects of a pandemic, businesses might be looking for cost-saving opportunities. So, insurance agents can go over existing coverage and identify ways to save money on insurance. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to bundle policies for a discount.
Or, maybe a client is comfortable reducing coverage in one area to save money while putting those savings towards pandemic protections. Even if that means a client spends less with you, for now, it could be worth it to build client trust and satisfaction.
For example, if their business grows, they may come back to you later for additional insurance needs. They also could recommend other small businesses.
Covering the Claims Process
You can also help with pandemic preparation by easing clients’ operational worries. Odds are, if a pandemic hits, these business owners are going to be stressed. That’s not a great time to learn how to submit an insurance claim.
Instead, walk business owners through the claims process in advance. Whether that’s for pandemic-related coverage or for something else, being able to handle this type of operational area is one less thing for businesses to worry about during a pandemic.
Analyze Business Risks
Another way to help with small business insurance related to a pandemic is by analyzing business risks with your clients. As an insurance agent, you know how important it is to evaluate risk. So, educate your clients, and even prospects, by taking the time to review their pandemic-related risk in addition other risk areas like:
- Cash flow risk: What does the cash flow of a particular small business look like? If things are tight every month, that’s a notable risk. A pandemic could disrupt cash flow, causing a business owner to fall behind on debts, miss payroll, etc.
Being aware of this risk could prompt the business owner to make changes. They might reduce monthly office expenses or switch to more recurring revenue models.
- Business continuity risk: If another pandemic occurs, would your clients still be able to operate? Perhaps they had to pause operations during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they might have made adjustments.
A retailer might have built up its e-commerce presence, for example. Or a restaurant might have redesigned its takeout experience. Whatever the case may be, consider going over this area with your client. Identify any shortcomings. Perhaps together you can identify new ways to reduce the risk of business interruption during the next pandemic.
- IT risk: A pandemic can also create IT risk. If managing business continuity risk means shifting everything from offline to online, that could create new cybersecurity concerns. Or, perhaps a company’s employees are not prepared to work with new technologies that need to be used more during a pandemic.
Here too, insurance agents can help small businesses think about what these risks might look like ahead of time. That way, they can take steps like investing more time and money into employee tech training.
Insurance agents can’t prevent every risk from becoming a reality. But talking about risk with clients can help them figure out where their gaps are. Then, small businesses can prepare ahead of time, rather than trying to manage everything during the height of the next pandemic.
Connect Clients to Helpful Resources
Related to reviewing risks and insurance coverage, agents can connect clients to helpful resources on pandemic preparation. Pandemic risk management, for example, can be a great content marketing topic for agents.
Creating blog posts, email newsletters, webinars, and other resources can provide value to current clients and new prospects. Sending these materials to small businesses can improve your brand perception. That way, when a business has new insurance needs or wants to recommend others, they’ll be more likely to think of your agency.
In addition to your own content, you can connect clients to helpful third-party resources. If you see materials from governments, nonprofits, educational institutions, or others that you think your audience would benefit from, share them.
Another way to connect clients to helpful resources is to focus on networking. Perhaps you have several clients in the same or related industries but who do not directly compete (e.g., a hair salon and a nail salon). Connecting them to one another can be useful.
That way, they can share pandemic preparation tips with each other. Maybe one salon has good lessons to share on obtaining government assistance during a pandemic. Another might have good tips about maintaining strong customer relationships if the business gets interrupted.
You can also leverage your network to connect clients to different types of business owners. Maybe you have strong professional relationships with financial advisors, lawyers, accountants, etc. Introducing small business owners to these other professionals could be helpful.
These new connections might help businesses find other ways to prepare for pandemics. Plus, getting to know these professionals could come in handy for other business needs, like improving financial management.
Predicting the next pandemic is difficult, but you don’t want to get caught unprepared. By taking these steps of reviewing insurance coverage, analyzing risks, and making connections to helpful resources, small business owners can at least improve their odds of successfully navigating the next pandemic.
Meanwhile, insurance agents get the benefit of forming stronger relationships with these small businesses. That can take time to pay off, but in the long run, both you and your clients can be in a better position.