Crossing Borders with Jeff Roy: Coping with COVID19 Requires Leadership
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In these unprecedented times, we need unprecedented leadership. I reached out to Jeff Roy, President & CEO of Excalibur Insurance Group after he released information on what business owners can do to Cope with COVID19. This is a special edition episode to help agency owners lead the way. No one has ever gone through this, but together we will and it all starts here with this podcast.
- BAIN & COMPANY: COVID-19 Actions To Take Now Report
- BAIN & COMPANY
- Agency Intelligence
- Reach out to Jason Cass
Jason Cass 0:01
Hello loyal listeners. I am here with you with Jeff Roy. And and obviously I’m Jason Cass. In case this is your first time listening. This is an episode of Agency Intelligence. We usually have an episode coming out every Tuesday and every Friday, you’ll notice that this is coming out at just an odd time because this is an unprecedent, an odd time in our society in our world, as human beings. I don’t really want to go into all the things that we’re dealing with, you’ve probably seen the title of this, maybe it may change here or there as I take my notes, but you know, one thing it’s important and I thought was fitting is that some of the information that I get shared in the Mastermind and maybe you’ve had shared out there, it’s overwhelming sometimes and sometimes you can kind of pass it off, but there’s certain people in your life that you look up to that you follow that when they say hey, pay attention to this, you do. Jeff Roy is one of those people for me. Now it seems like it’s ironic that we’re going through this as a world together and he would be in another country. It’s only fitting of how he tries to share with Americans and how the things that there’s really a lot of what I call tangible love that’s happening in the world. It’s it’s love being able to be seen with Uber drivers driving across town for free to deliver lunches to people on the front lines and seeing normal citizens inside of towns, you know, ripping bedsheets apart and sewing it up to make mask and trying to figure out ways that they can reuse trash bags as as covers because it’s just to protect themselves, just the things that are being seen. Neighbors are talking to neighbors, the elderly are finally getting the respect that they deserve. And I think that there’s a lot of beautiful, tangible love. But outside of that, as a business owner, no one’s really talking to you loyal listeners. To you, listeners first time maybe in Canada around the world. No one’s talking to you. And that’s what I, when Jeff shared this information with our Mastermind group and I believe the neon group, I read it and I immediately hit him back and said, Jeff, this is this is really good stuff. And so I wanted to bring Jeff on. For I guess you could call this a special edition of Agency Intelligence. But this is an important time where we need to be serious, we need to think about leading, because that’s what leaders do. They lead and helping our people cope with COVID19. This is our time to shine. This is where time will expose you. That’s a very famous saying. In this time of crisis, we will find out who the leaders are Jeff, welcome to Agency Intelligence podcast, brother.
Jeff Roy 2:40
Hey, Jason, thanks so much for having me on the show. And I hope that your family’s safe and healthy, and all your clients and everybody in your area is good right now.
Jason Cass 2:48
Yes, you too, as well. And we’ll talk about what you know, the last couple of weeks of your life has been while you were out of the country, in Mexico, some crazy stuff. Like, Jeff, I love what you said to me the other day you said, Jason, the world I left when I left to go to Mexico and then I came back into was two completely different worlds. And that’s that way for me living in it. I can only imagine the situation of you being in Mexico and then coming back. Tell me about that.
Jeff Roy 3:15
Oh, it’s crazy. It’s crazy Jason like we’ve decided we had booked this holiday for a while we completely watched every single news source information and whether we should go or not go. And when we left on March 12, Mexico was his own one. Everything was good. There was no travel advisory there. I think Canada had about 150 cases in total, 59 in Ontario, you know, our area had no cases. So we had left figuring we can get our holiday in and get back before anything escalates. And prior to that our management team did have a meeting to kind of go over and get a plan in place before we left because we nobody knows how quickly this will accelerate. And I think one of the watch-outs is everybody thinks, hey, our country is different, it’s not going to hit us. And I think everybody got that false sense that everybody’s going to be different. And it turns out really nobody’s any different. So we got to Mexico and then each day escalated and got worse and worse, to the point on the 16th of March, where our Prime Minister went on and did a national address to the nation and told everybody to get home. And which was quite alarming because being in a foreign country, your prime minister’s asking you to get home, and he means possible, and then trying to secure a flight on a Monday to get home as quickly as possible and everybody else is trying to get home and not get gouged is very challenging. So we’re able to cut our trip short, we did get home on Saturday, which is good. And basically, you know, during that period of time, the border between Canada the US was closed, just to non-essential services. You know, a lot of cases a lot of paranoia, a lot of people getting concerned like just in the area and you know, we’ve you know, one there’s just you know, the self-quarantine we didn’t when we left there wasn’t a mandatory 14 days self-quarantine. And then during our trip that became a requirement which both Boone and I are 100% honoring. We want to make sure social distancing, and we’re following the best practices. So we’ve been sequestered in our house since Saturday. You know, we think we’re starting day four of work from home and being basically quarantined. So, so just basically a real roller coaster and all during that time, I’m out of the country, I’m working on my business, concerned about my people, reading documents, talking to people working business plans, you know, and it just wasn’t the holiday we planned but our team and our community and our clients come first, and we have to do the best you can do as a leader. So we continually worked our plans, which you can talk about later. But really, the turning point in Canada was the prime minister’s wife got diagnosed and he went to self-quarantine. I think that was about the same day we left. And that’s kind of when everything seemed to get real in Canada to a whole different level, and a whole bunch of precautions and social distancing and business shutting down took place. So just a crazy time. I’ve never seen, I wasn’t alive during the Spanish Flu in 1918. I think that was kind of the last time we had any kind of widespread of anything remotely close to this. SARS back in the 2000s wasn’t nearly as significant as this. So there’s just really no other frame of reference for business owner right now.
Jason Cass 6:18
No, there’s just not. And that’s why I think that this podcast is essential to a lot of business owners out there. You and I have talked about this, and we’re going to discuss some things that this works for insurance agents, but this actually came from Bain & Company, and it was their COVID 19 actions to take now. This is from March 20. This is a very within the last year or month or I think with last, let’s see, I’m trying to look I don’t think it specifically says it’s for March.
Jeff Roy 6:49
We I literally got this from our tech Vistage group in Canada. I’m in a group of CEOs and it’s been a great support and they send this document through and that’s why I shared it with you.
Jason Cass 6:59
The reason like this though, is this is going to be really good loyal listeners, just because there’s the Goldman Sachs minutes out there, there’s a lot of different corporations that have produced their thoughts on it. And they have like their predictions, right like of, of this is probably going to happen this might be likely to happen. Expect this, expected downturn here. But what I liked about this, Jeff was the Bain & Company was saying, hey, let’s look at this from an overall and as a business like what can you do? What should you do? Maybe for some sized businesses, some of this is not doable maybe for a lot of businesses, these are common threads that we all need to do. And that’s why I really kind of liked it and they actually even broke it down into what we call the CEOs checklist. Now so everybody knows we have we’re going to just stay focused on two different things we have. We have the Bain & Company report, but then we also have Excalibur that wrote their own. Jeff took his own as he was talking about when he was on vacation and stuff and he had also had a little bit Have one before they left, brought this thing together and has been meeting with his team to kind of execute his “CEO checklist” of things that need to be done. Um, and so, Jeff, is that the best way to frame that?
Jeff Roy 8:14
Yeah, I think it’s just, I would say as BAIN puts, it’s basically you have a war room and you’re working your continuity plan and you’re executing it. And you know, you can have a plan in place, but until you actually have to pull it out, dusted off and use it. That’s the real stress test. And I don’t think anybody thought this type of scenario would happen. Seeing businesses forced to close people being forced to isolate, nobody projected this would happen in our area. And, you know, a lot of plans, you know, this you have to adapt to them. So, you know, I’ve kind of came up my own plan. You’ve got your own plan, Jason, I’m not sure the best place to start. Like, you know, I think one of the best places any plan is the safety of your staff. You know, that’s our that was our number one priority. We got to make sure our team and staff is safe, and if our team and staff are the safe people that mean everything to us, nothing else matters. And we can’t deliver the great outstanding service under different conditions to our clients. I think that’s the foundation I found. What do you think?
Jason Cass 9:11
I agree, Jeff. And I think that there is no exception to this rule. And to any loyal listener who’s out there and their office is still open. I feel this falls in line with you. And I just have to say this because at no point are we taking sides here, this is just what we’re doing because it’s our job as humans, whether it’s blown out of proportion or not. Step one in the CEO checklist is protect your employees and customers implement the best known guidelines available for both employees and customers over invest it says literally says that word in there. Over invest meaning you should be shutting your businesses, you should not be doing you should be doing everything you can to not accept cash. A lot of insurance companies I’ve seen have come out with ways of saying hey, if you don’t want to accept the cash, have them call us. We have ways to get that cash to work that process so you don’t have to accept it. There’s numerous ways. There’s no reason why someone should be coming into your office. In my opinion, there’s too many digital reasons. And I understand that maybe you’re a non standard shop and you have a lot of payments that come in.The CEO checklist says, number one, you should protect your employees. And so I feel in this time of need, that’s not a maybe that has to be checked. Step one. That’s my thoughts on that Jeff.
Jeff Roy 10:27
100%. And what we did is we shut the doors last Monday. So while before we needed to, but you know, as soon as we deemed the threat had risen to a level where people were exposed. And again, everything kind of happened. The Monday when the Prime Minister addressed the nation. That’s when it became really real and apparent to everybody. So at that point in that day, we did shut the office to the public. Our staff were in but we made sure everybody was social distancing, you know, at hand wipes sanitizers. Basically we’re trying to follow best practices at that point, because at that, you know, and also looking at that point two or phase two, where everybody could work from home. You know, we get into that later, but we kind of broke it into kind of three phases. Phase one, we shut the doors to the public. Phase two, we get the staff working from home, and we have a skeleton staff in the offices, and phase three where everybody is working from home 100%. And, you know, we can talk about the differences between Canada and the US in regards to like, you know, so we’re going to touch on that.
Jason Cass 11:29
No and I like that. I think that just seems silly when we got all these emails from the CEOs, and they were like, our foremost, utmost important is to protect our employees. And sometimes that just becomes like, you just hear it all the time. Right? And it’s how we are as humans, we just kind of, we discount it because everybody’s saying the same thing. It’s like, yeah, yeah, yeah, but they were following the CEO checklist. You are a CEO. Even if you don’t own your agency, you’re the CEO and your clients are looking forward to you. This is valuable information and also, keep in mind on the show notes, there won’t be any show notes, because this is going to be immediately edited and released. But you will have a link there to this Bain company. And then if Jeff wants to release any of his stuff, we’ll put it there as well. So you’ll be able to see this. I thought this was interesting. The next part, which is something we don’t think about, but so simplistic, and I’m going to go back to the Bain thing here. Jeff, you did break it down into three or four sections, as opposed to the Bain they broke it down into seven sections. So I think that’s a lot. But I think this goes through and through no matter the size of your agency on number two, according to his model, your exposure, stress tests, your P&L and liquidity. Very, very key there because what they’re saying is you should outline scenarios by and that can happen in the market and translate that into revenue decline, based on what your P&L says now. So looking at your P&L or looking at your book of business and looking and designing and saying, Hey, I have a bunch of non standard clients that pay $30 a month and you know, they don’t pay a lot, it’s just that that type of business. You may be more susceptible to having a bunch of back charges rather than somebody else who may have a more preferred book of business. You may be having more calls, though on the board preferred book of business than you will on some other things. So it depends on where your stress is going to come on that P&L. And then they also said, Jeff, which I thought was, which I thought was crazy, is it says build extreme downside scenarios that have potential to be 100 year event. Now, once again, this is CEO talk. But what is scenario Can you predict to say, What if this happened, and this is my book of business? What would that look like in six months in a year and how would I adapt my P&L to that, Jeff, any thoughts on any of that?
Jeff Roy 13:49
Yeah, and we’re currently and just before I jumped into that question, I just want to point out on the terms of the make sure the staff’s safe. The second extension is your customer safety communication with your clients. We stopped doing client visits, we basically do everything by phone, remote, which saves our staff, but also protects our business clients. God forbid we send a staff member with COVID19 into their organization and start an infection. That would be a horror story. And no business owner would ever want to have that happen. And everybody’s trying to avoid that. So customer safety and communication with your clients, letting them know that you’re putting in all the emails to them. We sent out 9000 emails twice, once explaining, you know, that business interruption is not going to protect people from the virus. It’s not designed to protect that. And also explaining what the virus is and updating them, then we let everybody know, we have shut the doors to the public, but told them how they could do business with their office. So really important to communication. I just want to point that out. I didn’t want to jump over that. But it’s really critical to make sure that you do and I know all of the great agencies and brokers out there have been doing a great job that I follow on social media. I’ve been following them a lot. So back to the P&L stress test. We’re going through that right now. And nobody knows. But one stat that just came out in Canada, they figure, one-third of all small businesses will shut their doors after 30 days, if this continues on. Now, there’s a big debate, I’m not going to get flew here, because there’s a debate going on. I read in the US about whether it’s the economy versus people’s lives, and I’m not going to comment or get into that, you know, it’s quite of issue and I know my perspective on it. But, you know, there’s people that have different perspective, which is quite blows me away, but, you know, I have to respect people’s line of thinking, I guess, but it is very concerning that people you know, when it comes down to the economy versus people’s lives, that’s actually a decision but that seems to be an issue right now.
Jason Cass 15:48
Very true dude.
Jeff Roy 15:50
Yeah, so basically that happens so I’ll leave it at that. I don’t want to get into that. We want to focus on people’s businesses and try and keep this very positive in nature. And you know, if you look at your- imagine if a third of your small business, your bought policies are gone what would that look like? You have chargebacks you know, if you’ve got, you know, your goal for your revenue for the year, and all of a sudden, in two months you have 20% of your book of business, figure out the revenue for part, you know, in term cancellations. Do you have the cash flow to handle that as an agency? And do you have money set away and you need to start looking a credit to get that to make sure that shored up if that event happens. That’s what agencies need to look after. And, you know, some people go, you know, if you look at back to the Bane plan, they talked about level one where you just miss your plan. So let’s say your new business is off, people aren’t shopping, or you know, there’s just very little activity and that’s quite possible, you’re going to see a big reduction in the new business. And then you’ve also got business canceled coming off. So you can start seeing a decline in your book of business. That would be level one missing your plan, you know, severe downturn. Let’s say people were shut down for two or three months. You know, China, I don’t know if it was 40 days, 45 days where they locked everybody down. So you know, you saw, you can see the number of businesses adversely affected by the shutdown like the retail, the realtor, the sports teams, the travel, the airlines, the cruise ships, the casinos, you know, the hotel industry, the gas, and petroleum, you know, manufacturing automotive. Like so many industries that are affected, and there’s a substantial downturn, and people don’t have revenue, the revenues down 30 or 40%. Insurance is one of those bills that may not get paid. And Canada will let you know, most of our insurance companies have stepped up and have been very positive and said, Hey, we’re going to let people weigh with 30 days of missed payment. And we’re going to look at reducing or minimizing some of the NSF payments or policy fees with that and then the next month we’ll break it over the remaining term. So companies are working with them, like the bank say they’re working with mortgage owners. I will point out the banks have a lot more of an asset and something go after afterwards to be able to do that versus an insurance company where it’s a contract for 12 months and it’s earned and you have no asset to go after. So different industries, but we got people discussing that. So, so those are things you have to look at is how’s it gonna affect you? And then you know, you have different industries, are those business clients going to go bankrupt? Are they going to be severe downturns? You know, you have renewals coming up next year where you know your liabilities receipts are based on what your receipts are not. The receipts are down 35, 40%, the renewals will be down that much. So you also have this affecting your renewals next year, when people start sending in revenue estimates and stuff like that. So this has a longer-term effect. And at this point, if depending on which report you look at is this going to be 15 to 30 days is going to be 60 days, it’s gonna be 90 days. And you have different investment firm saying, Yeah, this was like 2008, where it’s going to go down, it’s going to take three or four years to get back or it’s like 2001,9/11, where it went down, but it came up fairly quickly. We don’t know at this point, and there’s a lot of uncertainty and, you know, it depends what the economy does, because insurance is a reflection of the economy. Yes, we do have renewables. People are renewing it. We don’t want For we’re fortunate that we’re not like manufacturers that if we don’t actually go in the plant and make something, we have nothing to sell, we have a renewal that renews, which does insulate us a little bit. And people required to have insurance but doesn’t mean everybody has the money to pay for it. So these are all scenarios as a CEO, or business owner you have to look at. And then if you’re, you know, you look at different scenarios, if your revenues affected 15 or 20%, can you absorb that? And if you can’t, you have to start looking at what can you cut? How do you become liquid? What areas? Do you reduce your advertising a bit, you know, do you have to lay some stuff off? Do you have to do work sharing, there’s a lot of different levers you can pull. And again, we’re hopeful that we can weather the storm for an extended period of time with our planning, and we want to make sure our staff are employed and looked after the best we can do. But these are all scenarios you have to look at. And more importantly, your business clients are having the same conversation. So as a broker, if you can share a document like this and help work through the plan with your clients, it’s not about insurance it’s about survival. That’s a huge value-added service that a lot of brokers aren’t doing right So I looked at this document is something that my clients need some help. We’re providing resources, we can start looking at things for them.
Jason Cass 20:06
Yeah. And you’re so right. See, I don’t think it’s, it’s not 2008 because the banks have cash, right? It’s 2008. And it’s 2001. And the fact of the way it hurts our consumer, you’re so right about this. This is a double wave thing for especially commercial insurance agents. Because we have that, as you said, Now, we have the downturn, the client gets back to paying. But also keep in mind, a lot of these accounts sometimes are earned commission. So as the customer pays, so do we get paid. So if you have a book that’s really larger than that, then that could adversely affect you. But as you said, in 12 months when the person’s payroll was a million dollars, but now it’s only $500,000. And you’re now getting back charged on that that’s happening 12 months from now. And, not just 12 months, once that’s happening with every renewal coming in for 12 months after the first renewal. So I think you can see some of, you are very right about that. And that’s where sometimes I didn’t understand this when I was younger as a business person. And I think this is a good time to have this conversation, Jeff. Happens to be with the difference between a P&L and a balance sheet. Because those who have not built a balance sheet, and I’m not saying I’m perfect or Jeff’s perfect loyal listeners, we’re just talking out there in general, the agents and business owners that have built a balance sheet with assets rather than a good P&L with strong profit in the times that are down right now they’re the ones who are able to leverage those assets to get cash to be able to float themselves through this would have liquidity, also able to jump into things like the stock market, which is like on an all time everything is 60 to 70% off on on wall street right now. I think sometimes that those who come through this business, one of the things we need to look at for the next crisis is I need to build a p&l that’s profitable, but I need to build a balance sheet. That’s going to create assets so that in the time of need, I’m able to, to, to to use those assets to carry me forward, but also to take advantage of situations where others can’t. Does that. Am I right about that Jeff? Is there anything we can elaborate on that?
Jeff Roy 22:15
I think hit the nail right in the head is that there’s always going to be a rainy day at some point. And, you know, the future is not a linear extension of the past. So everything doesn’t go up forever, and things will go down. And then basically, it’s how you handle yourself and what you do. When things get difficult when everybody’s watching that makes all the difference. So those are great strategies about getting some assets, having some money and stuff put away to do that, you know. Some people, they make $1, they spend $1 10. And that’s part of the problem with the world. There’s a lot of people, the credit limits have never been higher. And we actually watched the demonstration from one of our vendors that said, 50% of people that own a car, or two to $300 were one paycheck away from bouncing checks. That was their prediction. So if that’s the case, and we have an unemployment rate, you know, we had 500,000 people in Canada file for unemployment in a week, which we had 27,000 people, I think last month ofthis year. Last year at this time on unemployment, now, there’s 500,000 a year later, and that’s just quickly in one to two weeks. So you start doing the math, it’s very uncertain. So you need to need to as an owner, you need to look at these things. Again, and again, I think one of the best things that Bain said is, it’s a different time and you have to prepare for the worst and be thankful if it doesn’t eventuate. You know you have to wait and see approach. You got to stay fluid because information is changing daily, even by the minute and you have to be looking at stuff and that’s why you need to have you know, I call it a war team or a team of your management team and your also your staff, keeping up to speed on what’s happening and continue looking at scenarios that could happen and make sure that you look at things. I call it up river because you want to be decide and have things in place before you you’re ready to go over the falls and you have a decision to go down the right Fork of the river right and you need to be great at these things as a CEO and your staff looks at you to be forward-looking as a leader, you have to look ahead and do the best job of seeing what can happen. And the best way to deal with it.
Jason Cass 24:08
COVID19. is unlike any previous crisis, traditional Crisis Response approaches will not be sufficient. That’s number one of their thing. And I think that that’s something we all need to think about with our own governments, local, state and federal, or in Canada. However your government system is, is understanding that our leaders are in times that they’ve never been in, there’s no way that they could have predicted that we would need just to be simplistic, this many masks, right. No, I mean, yeah, we can have as much stockpile as we need if there’s a major disaster in one or two or three states or four or five states. But when it takes over 50 states and continents and countries across the world, you can’t plan for that. And so we sometimes have to think the 2 million/ $2 billion stimulus bill last night. Jeff was just passed in America, they pass it at like one o’clock in the morning. They’re signing it today. I’ve already reached out to my CPA, they’ve got like two big webinars that they have to sit on today to really learn it. And there’s some really, really good things that are coming out in it. Mitt Romney actually did a report for, for his, for the state of Utah. And whenever they were doing a report, he gave some, some specifics to it that, once again, could have been changed a little bit, but they’re giving up to two and a half times payroll in loans that are forgivable if at the time alone, versus certain period of time if you don’t lay anybody off. So if you can keep if you have five employees right now, and you take out the loan, and in a year just making that up loyal listeners, you still have five employees, you don’t have to pay back that loan of two and a half payroll. So just so you know what your payroll is Jeff and take that times two and a half. That’s what you could get as far as a forgivable loan. If you play your cards right and you really take it vantage of the situation, I don’t want to say take advantage of the situation, but you understand what’s going on. And you’re using your CEO checklist to plan accordingly. Not only will you be able to expect and be able to see losses in revenue and changes in the market going forward the best you can with your team as as Roy is talking about, but you also may be able to take advantage of it to actually come out of this and say, Wow, that allowed me to see my agency different. I shook off the things that really, we should have shook off a long time ago, I now have this extra capital to actually invest. Jeff, there really could be maybe not in all countries, but there really could be a huge upside to some of the things that we’re being forced to do. What is it they say necessity breeds invention. And that could be we’re in times that are unprecedented. We’ve never lived before. Invention is rampant right now.
Jeff Roy 26:55
Yeah, no, I think I think one of the things that on Canada, they have found Government and again, in Canada, we have 39, 40 million people. So we’re quite a bit smaller than us. But I think our government released $82 billion. We’re not at 2 trillion. But we one of the incentives we have is they’re honoring for smaller businesses 10% of payroll up to a limit of 25,000 to help whether the immediate storms. So that’s something that’s helpful for us at that point, because that’ll, you know, give us we’ll be able to apply for that, that helps us they’re trying to make credit available to, and I’m not sure that I believe the interest rates are going to be ultra-low. There are some discussions whether if you were still in business a year later, and Hello, and whether there be any forgivability or not. I’m not aware that it is but there’s some talk from different countries about that, that they’ll give you some money to help you out. And then if you survive a certain period of time, that you don’t have to pay that back. So there’s a lot of different things being done to help the government you know, to help businesses out right now. And, you know, our job is to help businesses that you know that the business interruption isn’t designed to cover it, what other things can they do, how can we help them and buys them and provide other ideas for them.
Jason Cass 28:02
Absolutely, absolutely. One of the things that they also talk about is defending against revenue declines that was kind of their next stage that they talked about. (And what it)I mean really got down to this was very basic part to me, which was proactively was one of the things was taking a customer-centric view, to build trust, loyalty and market share. I really thought that that was pretty good. I, I think we do terrible job sometimes, Jeff, because we’re so busy, we’re so concentrated and focused on what’s in front of us that we don’t take the proactive personal touches that we probably should with our clients and I’m okay to admit that myself and we just, we just don’t, it’s something we always strive to do better and, but this is the time where you’re not bothering them. They’re looking forward to you just calling and saying what can I do to help you know. I was talking to one of my social services the other day, and they do delivery meals to these elderly. Well, the people who always do the deliveries are the elderly as well. They’re like 70 year old and that they’re retired. And so they they shouldn’t be out and the people who they deliver to kick them out. So I was just like, do you want me like, I’ll send me or my staff for three or four hours, just give me the meals, load them up in my car, and I’ll just go deliver them, you know. Probably gonna get taken up on that. Um, I want to do that just because I think that’s part of me being human. But this is also a part of me being able to leech out and really show where I’m proactively trying to let my clients understand that I’m here more than for just insurance. I’m here for your betterment. What can we do? What questions can I answer for you? I bet you there’s a lot of agents that aren’t doing that. And that seems like a very, very simple thing to me Jeff. What do you, how are you guys countering that?
Jeff Roy 29:45
Well, I said right now I said I think most agents defense, everybody’s just trying to make sure they can keep everything going with all the different things going on right now. Like just making sure their staff’s safe making sure everybody’s working from home. Again know we’re still working, improving our work from home strikes. It’s way more intensive. And there’s, you know, a few more snags to get it working as well. And you know, I know some broker friends that over the weekend, they said, hey, guys take your computers home, we’re going to work from home. And they built a strategy. And they’re able to bootstrap and get a minimum viable product up and each day, they’re perfecting it. So there’s a lot of energy put into just making sure your operation, your people are safe and your clients are getting traditional service, that to go the extra level and start reaching out and being proactive, is a little more difficult. And we’ve been using email, and we’re trying to make sure that we still reach out and contact your clients and not skip a beat. Realizing that you’re gonna have some productivity, it’s when people go home. It’s difficult because you’re in a new environment, you got to get used to some flow, and you’ve got your kids, all the kids are off school here. They’re at home. If you got kids at home, you want to focus but they need your attention. And there’s times when you have to go and do stuff with them work on their homework and answer questions and stuff like that. So, you know, it’s about, you know, creating the new normal, I guess we’re kind of jumping ahead about maybe the next slide. I thought that was maybe the next thing is about stabilizing your operation and creating the new normal for right now. Right?
Jason Cass 31:04
Correct. Correct and crazy. And that’s, I think that’s what we’re doing here. We’re stabilizing it into the fact to let people know and then also Jeff Roy, or not Jeff Roy. When I think of sometimes my… the people I listen to sometimes they just fly out. Brent Kelly, which is a good piece person to be compared to Jeff . Brent Kelly talks about how 80% of our business comes from 20% of our clients. This is a good time for us to be able to get laser-focused into say it rather than spreading it wildlife shotgunning it maybe taking approach as they talked about it about specific mitigation of actions due to just core revenue streams. So looking at some of your largest clients and making sure that they’re there, maybe you can’t get to everybody in your agency. But look at that 20% that’s driving in that 80% of revenue, and make sure that you’re there doing everything that you can for them and also making sure that there’s not other coverages that they may be needing. Other types of policies that they may be needing. Not right now to buy, but you’re kind of listening to their concerns, you’re listening to their thoughts and their questions of what they’re asking you. Do I have this? Well, what if this happens? A lot of things that we’ve got from our social services that I really hadn’t contemplated was cancellation insurance. They’re all asking me like, hey, Jason, I have to cancel this fundraiser, I have to cancel this. I’ve never been in a time where I’ve had so many come in and that Westbend does have coverage for that. But in some of my other non for profit companies don’t. So we’re like, holy cow. So that’s something we’ve had to learn. And we’re putting that on the books to say that’s something we’re going to make sure that we get coverage on them next time. It’s looking at those segment markets and saying, How can we reach out to those to have the biggest impact but also how can we listen to them to be able to help them when this normalizes? I guess I should say.
Jeff Roy 32:52
Yeah. I think one of the things that really you know, people need to look at is when there’s a lot of people have gone remote, and there’s a huge Cyber exposure and a lot of people have not bought the right cyber coverage. Yes. And there’s a number of examples, you know, all of a sudden employee go, I got my employee set up remote great on their own computer. Well, if that computer, doesn’t have a virtual private network to protect the data going back and forth, it’s possible that their drive could map into your server and all of sudden malware goes on your server and crashes everything. You know, that’s an example without employee doesn’t have virus checking on it and it’s up to date. They could have a keyword logger. There’s currently a malicious software out there right now disguised as Corona, or COVID19. where people get your attention, there’s a COVID map, people click on the map and all of a sudden it loads malware in your computer, and it starts getting your keystrokes. So imagine an employee logs into your terminal server into the office server, they clicked on that map to check out the virus wanting to see the updates. They got the virus in their keyword is being compromised and all of a sudden they’ve got into your system and all sudden you got a cybersecurity breach that you may or may not have coverage for. So that’s an example of stuff that there’s a lot more exposure and companies are starting to look at their cyber exposure, with all the employees working at home, you know. The other thing, you have to make sure that buyer structuring is up to speed as they said, because a lot of times they haven’t done and the last thing is double authentication. A lot of people when they log in remotely, and you notice that on Amazon, you can act that you put your password in, they send you a text, and then you have to put the text password in to make sure it’s you. So there’s a couple levels of security that people probably haven’t put in place and those who just pick up their computers and go home with the corporate computer. You know, generally we have no data on our computers at all. It’s just all on our, our main server so we’re protected if that computer gets into the wrong hands, but we do have the security we have everything set up. So that kind of thing can happen when they’re at home. So these are things that a lot of business owners haven’t thought out. They’re getting people working, there’s trying to keep the doors open answering phone calls, but that there’s a huge exposure there that people need to look after. Right?
Jason Cass 34:56
Absolutely. Absolutely. So many different opportunities. out there for us to think about. I put this in my notes, Jeff. We should never ever have an issue selling business income and extra expense. Okay. And the reason why I say that is is because sometimes it’s hard for our customers to fathom them having some type of disaster that would shut down their business or, or it could, it’s like they don’t understand it. Business owners who’ve had major losses, whether it fires or tornadoes or something with direct physical damage to the property, that, those people understand how important it is. So it’s really weird. I used to always say it was a statistic and I can’t remember when I was selling a lot I used to use Katrina they said that guess 30 or 40% of the businesses and hurricane during Hurricane Katrina went out of business and vast majority was because they didn’t have any business income at all. And and I mean that that was a that was pretty, pretty major when you think about that. I think that the business income we can go over all those questions of why that should be and why it shouldn’t be. That’s not what we’re here for here. But it’s it’s interesting to look at all these different coverages and start listening to where business owners are saying they’re having issues and start using that my buddy Billy Williams says it that Cass, your gold is in your book, there’s gold that they’re telling you about. You just have to listen to it and then supply them the gold that they’re wanting when the time is when then we get back to normalizing. Yeah, so where are we still doing stabilized operations to a new normal? Is that where we’re at?
Jeff Roy 36:27
Yeah,well, just if you want to I know we have a limited time. I know it’s crazy right now and I want to fit you in and have a quick shot and you know, basically as to share some more stuff.
Jason Cass 36:38
Loyal listeners he so big time he’s literally getting off Cass’ podcast. Can you believe that? Like this guy’s trying to –
Jason Cass 36:43
No I’m not. I’m not trying to do that.
Jason Cass 36:45
No, no, no. No, I thought you’re the nice Canadian Jeff, what the h***’s going on?
Jeff Roy 36:50
Yeah, no, no, I just want to be aware of time because…
Jason Cass 36:53
I do. I get you.
Jeff Roy 36:50
…and just there’s a lot, unfortunately, I want to make sure there’s a lot of things pressing right here. So I’m again, we been to 13 hour days. And the one thing working from home, it’s you know, you don’t, make sure you have some separations, take a break and do stuff. Because before you know what 13 hours go by. So we’re in an hour trying to make sure we get outside a little bit and trying to break. We can’t leave a property, but we’re getting outside walking around the pool, trying to get exercise and trying to keep things somewhat normal in keeping them balanced. But yeah, so I think I think some of the big things like I think the Bain, I think the biggest thing for everybody is to take a look at the Bane document. It gives some good ideas. I think it’s really important to look at as you’re a business owner, as an agency, and you’re a brokerage when you’re going through this or your clients. So there’s a lot of things that you have the same problems that are universal between all industries. And that’s what-
Jason Cass 37:43
Jeff Jeff, let me let me get one of those universal things. I want you to explain this. You talk about doing the things we hear in America and probably your place about essential employees and unintentional employees. That’s not this. Yeah, but you talk on your agenda about non essential versus essential service. Would you give us some thoughts of what did you explain to your team? What did you mean by that?
Jeff Roy 38:03
Yeah, well, what happened is our government actually came out I got home Monday and they said, our premier Ford said that he’s gonna announce what was essential and non essential. And the non-essential businesses have to shut their doors, they’re not allowed to be open. And the essential ones are still allowed to be open like people can go into the building. So at that point, we had to look at by the next day, we had to make sure our doors are completely shutting we’re 100% remote at that point in time. And if at that, if we were deemed a non-essential service, luckily, insurance was deemed an essential service. And there’s a list of 60 or 70 businesses in Canada that are essential, some of the non-essential they deemed and by no means am I commenting if they are honest, the government’s decision, they talk about retail sales, they’ve got, you know hairdressers, counting in some situations, you know, tattoo parlors, certain things, businesses that they feel can be closed and to help provide to prevent to spread and create a social distancing. So they’ve legislated as of yesterday or last night at midnight, these businesses have to be closed for the next 14 days. So we’ve got at least 14 more days in Canada, you know, I believe it’ll be longer. It’ll all depend on when that curve of new cases flattens out. And each country is different, each country’s taking different steps. But that’s kind of what the essential is now. There was some misinformation going around that, hey, if you’re not an essential service, you don’t even have to operate your business. So some people thought, well, we’re not essential. We’re just going to shut down. In insurance, you know, we would never leave our clients like that. And we would always continue to operate our regulator rebo, you know, requires us to do that. But it’s not so much the regulator. We want to make sure our clients are looked after. So we’re always going to operate regardless of what’s going on. I have a plan to keep answering calls doing the work our clients need us to do. That’s why we’re in business.
Jason Cass 39:50
See, I like that. Yeah, no, I like that. And I wanted to get your feeling on that because I think there’s a lot of agency owners that are trying to figure out, should they be open or should they not be open? You know, and I’ve heard it and we don’t need to get into that. I just wanted people to get your thoughts on it. I agree with your thoughts emphatically. I believe we are part of the essential businesses. To be honest with you, outside of healthcare and a couple other things, I can’t think of something that’s more essential. Because in this type of crisis, if somebody has an insurance issue, like a fire or a claim of subtype, they’ve got a crisis on top of a crisis, you know. And at least at that point in time, we can stabilize that. I encourage you guys to go read this Bain company report. I really didn’t realize it all into that we were already 40 minutes into this as well, because I just this has been some really good stuff that we’ve been doing. And I wanted to give some focus and some leadership to this, Jeff, and I appreciate you sharing this information and then jumping on last minute as you’re in self-quarantine, trying to help us up as well. I think stabilizing the operations to a new normal, we’re not going to talk about that, but I just want to say to everybody, I really do believe that there’s good on the other side of this. There’s always good in all parts of this. But sometimes it takes major things like this for us to look at things differently. Sometimes it’s death. Sometimes it’s a shock. And all this is a shock and awe moment to where I think we can look at our businesses and say, “Where can we cut the fat? Where can we tighten up the customer experience? Where can we start showing more compassion and being involved more in our community? How can we start showing more value to our customers?” There’s a lot of examples out there, businesses are talking. Clients are talking. They’re telling us the way that they think. They’re giving us the problems that we can provide solutions to. And I think it’s important that we listen to it. Wrapping up, Jeff, what are some of your thoughts as leading this industry and helping try to give guidance to what you’re doing but what some agents should be focused on at this time?
Jeff Roy 41:55
Well, as I said, big thing that the number one safety of staff servers to clients. That’s going to be priority one, you know, start looking at different scenarios, as they pointed out, and start working with your team ahead of time before anything happens. And start looking at some of the events we talked about today. And realize there’s no perfect way. I don’t know any agent or broker across Canada that turn the switch and said, “yeah, we were running perfectly. Everything went great. There are no problems.” There’s going to be stuff that happens every day. That’s new, oh, we’ve never tried this combination with this company. With this situation. At this time, there’s going to be things that will happen and services are going to be slow. Like you all of a sudden have hundreds of kids and people laid off at home watching Netflix, accessing the Internet, and you’re also trying to access remotely from your house. How good is your service going to be? There’s going to be disruptions, it’s going to be slow on the server, phone lines and circuits could be overloaded. You know, there’s a lot of different scenarios and they keep popping up. And the biggest thing is to have some patience. Be courageous and basically try and stay as positive as possible. Because stuff is going to go wrong. You’re going to get frustrated. We have to all be in this together, we have to share, we have to communicate, we have to problem-solve. And you know, my good brothers and sisters in the US, I’ve got this really tight relationship with hundreds of agents in the US. And I really feel lucky to be connected with the people of Agency Intelligence. You know, I’m part of the Greenwich group down there. You know, I’m part of the Canadian Broker Network in Canada, Group of Eight, we’re, luckily as Excalibur’s part of bigger groups where everybody’s sharing information and helping everybody through this. So you can’t get through this crisis yourself. You’re not an island. reach out for help. Ask for help from people, listen, and try and keep getting better every day. That’s all you can do. And expect the unexpected and come up with some ideas to find a way to win and try your best of the day. Keep your head up, you know, as long as you can look yourself in the mirror and pass the mirror test that I did the best job today to help my team, my staff, my industry in my community. That’s all I can do and get ready to go out the next day. That’s what it’s going to take. We’re going to get through this together. We got to stay positive. We got to stay fired up. We got to do everything we can. And it’s not a great time, like ever. It’s really easy to sail the boat when it’s calm, but it’s when it’s rough, it makes the true sailor, you know, we’re becoming true sailors right now. So everybody give it your best. There’s a lot of great agents out there, make sure you reach out and connect with each other and help each other right. This is the time to be helping people. You know, we’re getting a ton of help here and people bring groceries to our house. People have reached out to us to help us in measurable ways. So we’re very thankful to everybody in our community. And we’re being respectful to make sure that we stay in for 14 days and make sure that we are good and everything else so and our staff is amazingly stepped up and worked really hard and been there for us 300%. So I just want to point out that you know that that’s kind of some advice and a few thoughts.
Jason Cass 44:43
That’s right. Thank you very much, man. Thanks for your words and we’re very well articulated. I greatly appreciate it. Loyal listeners, as I wrap this up, I just want to remind us that coping with COVID19 requires leadership. Leadership is something that sometimes not seen, like, as I mentioned before, with tangible love, sometimes love is, it’s tough to see. And it’s able to be seen right now. So is leadership. Leadership is sometimes not seen and by the eye, and it’s not necessarily respected or for what it’s worth. And I think right now that this is the time that you really truly have to lead because here’s the way that I look at it. Your employees, your team do not have this. They do not have the same mindset that you and I do as an entrepreneur. They don’t have the mindset to be able to weather storms, they like things very secure. They like things very calm natured. They don’t like wild swings up and down. They don’t like walking around on eggshells. It gives them stress. They’re looking to us right now. Even if you know that your leadership skills are weak it’s your job to do your best. They’re looking for us. And it’s in those times when everything goes back to normal, that they’re going to be able to say, “you know what? I’ve known this guy, or I’ve known this lady, and they’ve led me for this long.” But when things got tight, things got tough. This is how they responded. Sometimes we always say it’s not the crisis you’re in. But how do you respond to the crisis? Because the crisis will go away, but your character is being shown today. And I encourage you to get out there. Care, show some compassion. Let people know. You already do this. I get it. But today, you’re not doing it for a dollar. Today, you’re doing it because you’re part of the human race. This has been Jason Cass and with Agency Intelligence and Jeff, you wanted to say something?
Jeff Roy 46:47
Amen Cass, that was well said and all the loyal listeners and all my friends and everybody out there, stay safe. We’ll get through this together and prayers are with you.
Jason Cass 46:56
See you later. Thank you.
Jason Cass is a thought leader, speaker, agency owner and champion for the independent insurance industry. He is the founder of Agency Intelligence (AI), a place where insurance agents and agency owners can connect, share knowledge and work together to improve their agencies and move the industry forward.
Jason hosts two major insurance podcast series, Agent’s Influence and Agency Intelligence where he talks with those that influence the insurance industry and connects with independent insurance agents all over the country. He is also the author of the Amazon Bestselling book, Customer Service is Just Foreplay, and is working on his second book titled, The Great Separator.