By
Travis Dent, Holmes Murphy Vice President of Employee Benefits

At the current moment, I know three things — first, I know my mom is probably the only person who will actually read this blog and I’m good with that. She’s been a big supporter of my work since my macaroni and glue days, and in true mom fashion, that encouragement has not waned over the years. I make that comment not from a place of self-deprecation, but from one of absolute honesty.

You see there are two competing factors that drive me to my initial statement.

  1. The first is the fact that the world changed for all of us a few weeks ago, and writing about anything other than COVID-19 seems hard to fathom.
  2. The second fact is that everyone is seemingly following this same path, and the sheer volume of COVID-19 information, communications, speculative pieces, and breaking news is hard to navigate. It’s a lot, and in equal measure, it’s important.

Details Are Important When Making Decisions

The second thing I know is with the deluge of information, like with anything else, the devil is in the details. While the design, strategy, and risk management of employee benefits is a business built on details, the pace with which decisions are being made around the coverage, testing, and treatment of COVID-19 are truly pressure-testing that model.

Employers are trying to make real-time decisions to protect the safety and financial wellbeing of their workforce, all in an environment of minute-by-minute updates.

Waiving cost-share, opening telemedicine to all, negotiating disability coverage for infected members, working through furloughs, and trying to project business interruption is a herculean task for any employer in an isolated environment. However, none of this is isolated, and seemingly “everybody is doing it.”

While it’s all absolutely critical to keeping things on track, what is equally important is getting it right. Being a step slow while accurate is, in my opinion, far superior to being fast and wrong.

Said differently, allow yourself time to think through both the near-term and long-term impacts of these changes with a trusted employee benefits advisor. Seek counsel on the things you are unsure about, and make certain you have a second set of eyes on all things that will be material not only in the immediacy of the pandemic crisis, but far after the pandemic subsides.

Ask yourself:

  • What impacts does this have on your employees — good and bad?
  • Are their unintended consequences from a discrimination standpoint?
  • What does this do to near-term and long-term budgeting?
  • Will the insurance company support the direction of your decision, and will this carry forward through your employee benefits renewal?

These and countless other balance points are things that Holmes Murphy is thinking through with our clients on a daily (okay, hourly) basis at the moment. If we currently work with you, we’re locking arms and figuring out the best path forward for both your immediate and sustainable success. If we don’t work together, should we? Our teams are nimble, accurate, and kind — simply put, our people were made for this.

Call us as a resource, reach out where we can help, or visit our COVID-19 Resource Center (updated daily with the latest information). Most importantly, remember, we’re all in this together!

The New Normal

Oh, the other thing I referenced currently knowing in my opening statement but failed to mention (you know, the third thing)…well here goes. I now also know my 2-year-old is prone to unprovoked and certainly unrehearsed outbursts of “Let It Go” from Frozen. Her favorite stage being my home office, typically when I’m on a business call.

It is brilliant in the levity it brings, and in this “new normal,” I find it more widely acceptable than I ever thought possible. Nicely done Blakey — you have a beautiful, if not pitchy, rendition of the original. 

And of course, thanks for reading, Mom, and please tell Dad I love him (and to wash his hands).