By
Dan Keough, Holmes Murphy Chairman and CEO

The difficult thing about managing risk is that, typically, you think you understand it, how it impacts your company, and what to do to avoid it, but then you get hit. Maybe you have more risk than you thought, or there’s an event that occurs that you simply couldn’t have anticipated (for example: 9/11). Taking it a step further in light of what’s going on in the world right now with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), maybe it’s the risk of the unknown — not knowing how bad this situation will get and what can be done to address it.

Managing risk through times of uncertainty is tough. We know and understand this. Right now, not only are we all dealing with fear and how we can ensure the wellbeing of our greatest asset — our employees — but we know our clients are also struggling with how to react to this rapidly changing risk. I think Den Bishop said it best in his recent blog, “Insurance is about protection in times of unexpected events and circumstances. COVID-19 has clearly created one of these unexpected times. We are made for this, and we will be here to help you, our customers, navigate the insurance and risk questions and actions so that you, your employees and families, and our communities can bounce back to normal as efficiently as possible.”

With this in mind, we are working closely with our clients to tackle how you can get your products to market (despite the economic uncertainty), continue to serve your own customers, and connect with your employees about this topic.

Here are just a couple of ways we are doing this:

  1. In addition to verbal conversations with clients, we have created a COVID-19 Resource Center, which contains the latest information on this threat as well as a Business Continuity Checklist and other materials that may help you make decisions.
  2. Our ethOs team is dedicated to helping you navigate this situation with employees. If you aren’t sure how to talk with your employees, ethOs President Ali Payne offers this advice:
  • In today’s world of uncertainty, we recommend thinking about how human your workplace is. Do your employees feel fully supported and empowered to make the right decision? It starts with your leaders — all of them. Do your leaders have the skills and tools to help navigate the fear your employees are feeling? As a leadership team, be sure you have a consistent message that shows you are human and caring.
  • Making sure employees understand all the resources you provide for them in a total wellbeing strategy could help them in a number of wellbeing areas — career, financial, physical, emotional, and community. The really cool thing about a strategy that includes all the wellbeing dimensions is it allows your employees to personalize their experience, and they value the resources you provide more!  
  • We know mental wellbeing is an area we need to put front and center at time of uncertainty, like this. In addition to our ethOs team, we do offer a program called Joyages to help employees manage their mental state and connect to great resources in the mental wellbeing space.  

From Holmes Murphy’s own business perspective, we have a Business Continuity team that meets daily to ensure we’re able to operate at optimal performance at all times. They are tasked with several items, including but not limited to:

  • Assessing the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation
  • Updating policies and procedures to ensure employee safety
  • Updating Business Continuity plans to reduce or eliminate disruption to our clients
  • Providing recommendations to our leadership team
  • Communicating actionable steps to employees, when necessary

Additionally, we have been continually monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). They are both excellent sources of up-to-date, credible information.

Viewing this kind of worldwide issue through a risk management lens is difficult, but the great thing is you’re not alone. We are all in this together. One thing is certain, during times of turmoil, anxiety, and risk, we have a track record of overcoming!