During times of adversity or uncertainty, a strong community can provide a safe place to learn, share resources and most importantly, uplift each other.
June 2020 has been an unprecedented time in our generation’s history. Not only are we dealing with a global pandemic and economic downturn, but we’re also experiencing a worldwide cry for justice against racism.
In this episode of For Advisors, By Advisors, our CEO, Aly Dhalla, speaks to some of the common challenges business owners face while leading a company through some of the most challenging moments of our generation. We cover topics such as strengthening company culture during a pandemic, reinventing what it means to build relationships as advisors, and using our collective voice as a community to drive social impact.
Episode 2: Highlights
We started this episode by asking Aly to summarize what the past 3 months (April – June) have been like. His response in one word: difficult.
We’re experiencing a sequence of events the world has never seen before – and trying our best to interpret what this means for our future. We started by reviewing what the transition to working remotely was like for Finaeo — including the importance of making quick decisions to prioritize the safety of the team. Aly also shares some tips for maintaining transparency, cohesion and collaboration in a way that’s conducive to a digital environment.
We also touched upon on a few ways companies can add value to their customers during a crisis. At Finaeo, we took a three-pronged approach:
- Continuity of content, communications and community
- Revisiting our product/service offering, and making adaptations where necessary
- Introducing new ways to add value in the current climate
As a business owner, leading through a global crisis involves taking a holistic view of your business to determine if what you’re offering is still relevant and adds enough value today. This requires getting comfortable with the idea of unlearning what you thought you understood about your customers. The best way to do that is to get on the phone with your clients and ask how their needs might have changed, given the new economic and social climate (the equivalent of “getting out of the building”, as serial entrepreneur Steve Blank would describe it).
What does a post-COVID world look like for insurance?
As COVID-19 prompted a wave of panic and uncertainty for all of us – including policyholders – one theme became increasingly clear. The pandemic reinforced the role of the advisor and the importance of building trust with your clients. Advisors have a unique role in addressing those humanistic emotions we all share in order to help their clients come up with a plan that makes them feel more secure.
Although the life insurance industry saw a spike in customer demand, restrictions and process inefficiencies made it very difficult for clients to actually purchase life insurance policies. In some ways, COVID has expedited the need to remove administrative barriers for advisors so they can more effectively serve their clients. Aly shares examples of this, and why he believes we’ll see the insurance industry adopt new ways of conducting business and strive to help advisors scale.
What can organizations do to take a stand against social injustice?
As business owners, we must acknowledge the fact that each of us has a platform. We have a voice. It’s up to us to use our audience to raise awareness about causes that are important to us.
At Finaeo, we decided to take a phased approach to address the racial injustice that was unfolding around the world:
- Start internally. Immediately after protests started organizing around the world, we wrote a memo to our team expressing our thoughts and unwavering support of racialized groups. We also provided educational resources to help our team further educate themselves on systemic racism.
- Be impact-driven: Even as a small company, our contributions matter! We agreed that racial injustice is an incredibly important cause that needs more support. We decided to use a percentage of the money we saved in June by working remotely to make donations to two incredible nonprofits: Black Legal Action Centre and Campaign Zero. We also shared these links with our team and encouraged them to do the same.
- Make a public statement: After making these donations, we used our public platform to raise further awareness about racial injustice and provide links and educational resources to our community.
Although these past few months have been emotionally heavy, they have given us perspective and forced us to have crucial conversations. We have rallied together as a society to take as many precautions as we can to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s important that we treat the fight for equality the same way.
As one person, or even one company, we may be a drop in the ocean, but together we can turn the tide and start to drive real change. This is why it’s so important to use our collective voice to take a stand about things we believe in. It’s important to remember that change is possible when we stick together. That’s the power of a strong community.
To end this episode, Aly shared one final appeal to the advisor community: “Use this time to your advantage and drive your business towards a digital future”.
As advisors, a good question to ask ourselves is “If I were to revisit my customer journey map today, what roadblocks exist that are preventing my clients from getting the coverage they need?”
COVID-19 has added more complexity to the insurance supply chain. One on end, carriers and MGAs will be using this time to introduce new tools and processes to address those roadblocks. However, this is also an opportune time for advisors to rethink how to give their clients a seamless experience (read our recent blog about e-signatures in the insurance industry for starters). Use this time to build your competitive advantage, become familiar with tools that are available to you and ensure you are set up to scale as a financial advisor.
To learn more about the topics discussed, watch the full episode below: