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3 min read

The Lessons I Learned From COVID-19

By Susan Combs on 6/12/20 9:00 AM

I need to hear something good.”

This is what a friend of mine said to be about 4 years ago, when we were having a trying time in our industry and just needed an influx of positivity.

 Fast forward 3 years and some odd months later, I found I was the one who needed to hear something good.  My husband and I both tested positive for Covid-19, and although the symptoms for us were mild, I found myself being the one that was bummed out.  Days upon days of seeing emails about Covid-19 and what to do and what not to do, and suffering from information overload , and I just needed to hear something good….

This made me hit pause and remind myself, “Innovation is born from necessity.” What a bold statement that just rings so true today!

I’m in New York City, the epicenter of Covid-19, and it is definitely not business as usual .

Making the connection

But we have found new ways to connect with family, friends and clients and also support them in ways we never thought possible.

After doing some brainstorming with my peers, these are the things we started to do to feel more connected:

*We did not actively sell.  If people come to us and need coverage, we help them.  We got so many calls at  the  beginning of the quarantine from people who had been laid off and were in need of Individual Insurance.

New York City doesn’t pay brokers for their advice; so, instead of our normal $185/hour, we are dropping it down to $100 flat. But we are finding out that we are using more leeway on just answering some general questions from people and pointing them in the right direction without their retaining us.

 

* We reached out in kindness.  We had a lot of prospective clients who were in the process of setting up new group plans or business insurance policies and we reached

out just to check on them, tell them we know things have changed, and want them to know that we can pick things up whenever they are ready

 

*You know those 4,712 emails all of us received about Covid-19?  We pulled out a lot of important information from them , put it into one blog posting, and reached out to all our clients with just a “Checking In” email.

We got a positive response from this email and our clients shared with us what they are going through and what they are doing. 

 

One client is writing a new book, one is shifting their cooking classes to online classes, and some have created disaster relief funds for their own staff.  So, what we did with these responses was to ask them to share with us links or information, and then we passed that information on to others.

 

*Whenever a client reached out to us about a fund they have created, we made a donation and shared the information on our Social Media accounts.

 

One of the things I learned from all of this is that you have to let people do things for

you, too.  When my brother was sick with cancer when we were kids, the Chaplain at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital told my mother, “You have to be a gracious receiver.” So, I have eaten a little piece of humble pie and let people do for me.

I can’t tell you how many industry friends have reached out to me just to check on me and offer support.  I have had people send us masks, go food shopping for us, and just “Face Timed” with us to see how we are doing.

 It’s been amazing to have Zoom dinner parties and Happy Hours and be able to feel connected when we felt like we were on an island.  There are truly so many incredible people in my life, including many men and women in our industry.   These peers of ours are working hard to make an impact on our industry during this difficult time.  They all serve as a shining light in such a dark time, and I am grateful to all of them. 

Stay strong, my friends. 

Bio:

Susan Combs, PPACA, ChHC, is president of Combs& Company, LLC, a full-service insurance brokerage firm. She is a past recipient of NAIFA’s Four Under Forty Award, and past president of Women in Insurance and Financial Services.

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