March 23, 2020
To: All Premier Staff, Premier Agency Owners, and Premier Insurance Carrier, Broker and Vendor Partners,
We begin by wishing you the very best in these times and giving you assurance that the Premier Home Office and Field Team remains fully operational through our virtual means with most of the staff working remote from home again this week of March 23-27. Please read this notice closely as there is important information throughout.
This past week it is readily apparent how important our business of insurance is during these times. The business of insurance companies, which includes distribution and servicing, is included in the Financial Sector of essential businesses by the Federal Government. This is relevant as various states take additional measures at the state level with regard to work force and safety with some states mandating by executive order that many businesses shut down normal operations or take other measures. Please see https://www.cisa.gov/financial-services-sector and the attached California state regulator body notice for our business of insurance as it pertains specifically to California. As actions have been and may be taken by other states, Premier Agency Owners will want to source out your own state executive orders for where you are domiciled and see your specific state parameters as all states may not follow the same interpretation and/or will have their own executive orders state by state as they feel the need to in conjunction with any Federal Government executive orders.
Some quick but IMPORTANT NOTES:
Premier Home Office Front:
- Hats off to the Premier Commissions Department for processing our commissions received in March, again out on time and deposited last week to Premier Agency Owners! We remain one of the very few groups that pays commissions in the same month received. And did so with some staff a bit under the weather.
- PL and CL agency and licensed staff trainings continue. Premier Agents, be sure to see the March Training Calendar atwww.PGIAgents.com and remember the Premier Learning Center also at www.PGIAgents.com as a tool you can use to help develop your staff working remotely. More than two thousand sessions have been utilized on the Premier Learning Center!
- New agents continue to join Premier at a strong rate, and have their welcome calls, are getting licensed w carriers and trained, etc.
- Our mutual growth demands a continued influx of top talent. We brought on two new hires these past two weeks, both from the carrier side of the business. Both of their respective onboarding has been a bit different given the times, but like all of us, we adapt, and “do what it takes”.
- Premier is also getting closer to launching a personnel finding, vetting, and hiring resource center for Premier Agency Owners, an initiative that gets right at the #1 pain-point for the broader Universe of Agencies – staffing. Phase 1 of that initiative for early Q2 is on track.
Insurance Carrier Front:
- We see our insurance carrier and broker and vendor partners notifying us of their preparedness as well, and continuing their operational effectiveness and stretching as we all need to do, to take care of our own staff, our agency distribution partners, and the reason we are all in business, to service and fulfill our promise to our policyholders.
- Some are making underwriting accommodations.
- Some are exercising flexibility with payment options.
- Some are helping agencies by broadening their consumer and agency support lines to help clients be served.
- Some – we will be reaching out to individually, as we continue to receive an abundance of mail at our home office. As a matter of preparedness and contingencies for contingencies, and quite frankly productivity, NOW is the TIME to reduce as much mail as possible and use digital means. Carriers, please know in some cases it may be that we are not fully utilizing the self-admin selection option to have notices sent to us electronically, in other cases it may be that respective state regulations require a mailed notice, etc. However, in other cases, we must respectfully request enhancements to digitize as much mail as possible, including commissions statements to excel. This includes brokers as well.
Premier Agency Owner Front:
- Agents I have talked to around the country, continue to do business, albeit in a different way, practicing social distance with not only staff but w customers.
- I hear of agents postings signs on doors regarding Safety and Social Distancing First. Some are using customer intake forms or in-office countertop PCs for client engagement, to keep distances with customers within offices. Others have set up special phone rooms with carrier or agency #s to call. I hear that all customer engagement is done with an effort to not only do social distancing, but with the appropriate sanitization before and after every transaction.
- As a safety measure, agencies that customarily take cash payments are advising clients who may cash their pay checks at grocery stores and pay their cable and cell phone bills there, to concurrently obtain a money order and to get their payment in the mail to the carrier a week in advance of the due date.
- Agencies are adapting, and we know it is work my friends. The volume of information can be overwhelming as you must check each carrier’s sites for their own respective carrier payment stretching and accommodations. Again, below for your quick reference are important site links for you. *Coming separately in a matter minutes is a spreadsheet of carrier links to their respective support and messaging along with phone #s you can use in-office or on your door as needed.
- Please know we continue to offer to you an auto-dialer outreach program should you want to send a message to your customers by voice. The program prioritization is first in/first out. For detail and information about that contact our Manager of Technology Chris Bixler atChrisB@PGIAgents.com
Three Special Notes:
- PGI SPECIAL LAPTOP ASSISTANCE - Premier Agency Owners – If you do not have laptops for your staff, in 48 hours Premier will be ready to purchase them for you and send direct to a location that you, the Premier Agency Owner, designates. The cost would still be yours but would be deducted from your next commission deposit. We are looking at 3 models to fit your budget. If interested, contact me for program information at RexH@PGIAgents.com
- Remote Desk Top – Access. See the attached word doc. Action Item to first do at your desk top at work to access remotely by you and your staff. Email Chris at ChrisB@PGIAgents.com if any Qs.
- BUSINESS INCOME LOSSES - Premier Home Office and many agencies have been contacted by clients about business income losses. The attached link, https://www.independentagent.com/vu/insurance/commercial-lines/property/endorsements/boggscoronavirusbiendorsement.aspx. and more articles at www.InsuranceJournal.com speak on the matter and the issues… Some states are getting involved as are politicians, etc. At this point as a general overview guidance, agencies should know that the insurance carriers will make their own decisions about coverage as claims are filed with them. Most are saying that the respective client may submit the claim for evaluation and formal determination of coverage. It is especially important than no agency or agent speak on the matter definitively about coverage when there is an actual claim. That duty rests with our insurance carrier partners and their staff.
For any questions on the contents herein and anything else related to our mutual business, please feel free to contact me by email, phone or text. In closing, I share with you one of my favorite quotes - from Winston Churchill, during another period of history affecting the globe and how we live; it goes something along the lines of “when times are tough you give it your best; and when your best isn’t good enough, you do what it takes”. It is likely many of us have had friends or loved ones impacted by employers shutting down. But as Americans always do, we fight the fight and we win. Hopefully what each of us does helps the curve to soon flatten.
To All of You from All of Us at Premier, our best wishes for your safety and continued partnership.
Rex, Young, and Shawn
Rex Hickling, President
Cell: (303) 818-6218
600 17th St. Suite 1425N
Denver, CO 80202