I remember the first call I received from a client on the COVID-19 pandemic. The question asked was something entirely “out of the realm of benefits,” and very different from the typical inquiries I have addressed over my many years as a broker. “Why am I being asked this question?” was my initial knee-jerk reaction, followed by, “and how do I respond appropriately?”
So, I phoned a friend, asking how he would handle a question on a subject matter that did not fall under the realm of his expertise.
My friend said, “the questioner does not bear in mind whether it is something you do or not. He is your client and respects you, your integrity, and the trust he has gained from you over the years. He knows you will do your best to answer it or lead him in the right direction to find a solution, and you will do it without hesitation.”
And, there you have it, his response was right on point and non-negotiable. At that moment, my friend knew me better than I knew myself. Our mutual agreement was – I would be who I have always been, a broker who treats his clients like family.
We are all in unchartered waters during this pandemic. Political views promoted within the variety of perspectives from MSNBC, CNN, and FOX-News, are not going to improve our situation. For many of us, it became apparent how many things in life we took for granted before the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, we worry about interaction at shopping centers, walking/bike paths, and any place people may gather. Our reduced access to doctors and hospitals has never felt so stressful.
Being that said, I refuse to let the virus change my point of view. Our world, our environment, and our priorities have changed, but we live in an amazing world where extraordinary people rise to the occasion during crisis. I remember my mom whispering to me when I was a boy, as she thought I may be overwhelmed, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” In times like these, I still need to hear it, so I call her.
While at times, it is a daunting task to disseminate all the information on the Federal & State level, from carriers and associations providing industry perspectives, I relish in the challenge. Keeping all my clients informed with easy-to-read updates regarding legislation, compliance, and pertinent requirements subject to employers due to COVID-19, is a responsibility I demand of myself. Keeping an eye out for other disciplines that involve ensuring a business continues to thrive during these difficult times, my desire to respond to my clients’ needs remains paramount. I spend my days absorbing a variety of content, my nights spending quality time with loved ones. Only then can I have a good night’s sleep, knowing I will be ready for whatever the next day holds in store.
What is the role I have to clients who have always relied on me during standard times, but now face uncertain times? With all the hand washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing, it becomes difficult to perceive how we can get closer to one another and make a difference. Therefore, by addressing my clients’ concerns, regardless of my domain, I can make a small contribution to our current plight. If answering a question removes a burden, even for a moment in my clients’ day, it unquestionably defines my role as a broker during the COVID-19 pandemic. If an answer provides an opportunity to inch closer to our broker-client relationship, even though it cannot be within 6 feet at this time, I will seize the moment.