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7 Tips for a New Environment – 3/23/2020 Update

From The Desk of Richard Ollis 3/23/2020 Update

March 23, 2020

As we begin our week, we thought it was important to provide you with an update. We realize you are receiving many updates from many sources. Our goal is to provide you with timely, meaningful information, tools and resources.

Ollis/Akers/Arney implemented our business contingency plan last week (Monday). We are fully operational, and all of our staff is working from home. Our phone system, technology, and deployed staff are working extremely well together. We are, and will, be able to serve our clients without interruption. We can be reached through phone, email, and video conferencing. Since we are fully operational, we can answer questions, provide advice, change/bind insurance coverage, normally process renewals, and write new business. Last year, we began preparing for the implementation of flexible (work from home) arrangements – that preparation has enabled us to deploy from home and serve you without interruption.

Many of our insurance companies are offering modified billing arrangements. Some have suspended billing and others are working to modify billing on an as-needed basis. Please contact us and we’ll work with you to provide any financial resource available. Speaking of resources, we plan to provide you with a financial resource toolkit later in the week.

Many insurance companies are modifying coverage to react to our changing environment. Examples include people delivering food/supplies, companies retooling to manufacture hand sanitizer, and restaurants offering new delivery services. Please check with us on any changes you’re making personally or in your business and we’ll research coverage implications. Don’t assume you’re covered if you change personal or business operations.

Loss of Business Income Coverage provisions are being discussed and challenged. As we communicated earlier, this coverage is designed to be triggered from a direct physical loss (i.e. fire, wind, etc.) Several legislators are suggesting that the government provide funding (financial backing) and mandate that insurance companies then pay loss of income claims. Attorneys are, and will, challenge policy language, primarily associated with Civil Authority Shutdowns. Each situation will be reviewed on a case by case basis and could be altered if the government and/or legal community alter the intent of this coverage. We are happy to file a claim and begin this process for you.

This week our communities will inevitably encounter further restrictions. To make matters more confusing, the State of Missouri is issuing guidance that is less restrictive than many municipalities and counties. As I write this correspondence, on Monday, March 23 – April 6, the State of Missouri issued guidance to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people and prohibit visits to nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Offices, religious institutions, and workplaces can remain open. Essential businesses such as grocery stores, health care organizations, gas stations, pharmacies, banks, and governmental services can remain open. Again, State of Missouri guidance is likely less restrictive than local municipal or county regulation and will be confusing for many.

Kansas City and St. Louis are issuing new mandates for their citizens. Springfield and other communities will likely follow suit. These regulations will be more restrictive than State of Missouri guidance. These two municipalities will issue “shelter in place” mandates for their citizens. The confusing part is since the State’s guidance is less restrictive, each community will have exceptions for essential business operations that are unique to their citizens. Here’s what to expect:

  • Regardless of where you live or work, this week will bring further restrictions.
  • Most of us will “shelter in place” at our homes.
  • Some will continue to work and perform essential functions for our communities.
  • You’ll still be able to leave home to obtain supplies, gas, money and other essential items.
  • We’ll all be adjusting to a “new normal”. This will become a reality for several weeks or perhaps months and will evolve as the situation changes.

Our organization is ready, able, and willing to be of assistance. Although this is new territory for all of us, it reminds me of a military deployment. Many things will change for a period of time and we’ll need to adjust to our new environment. I’ve crafted 7 Tips for a New Environment for our staff and firmly believe in using these principals to not only cope but thrive in our “new normal”. We’ve included the link for this above – I hope you’ll find it valuable.

Lastly, I want you to know that we care deeply for our employee owners, families, neighbors, clients, communities, and you. Together, we’ll adjust and get through this. Please be safe, healthy, and helpful.

With Gratitude,
Richard Ollis

Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance & Business Advisors | 417-881-8333
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