When Anthony Pomilla started his career in the independent insurance industry in 1998, he could not have foreseen the crisis we are all facing now with the COVID-19 pandemic. His goal was to make sure LPL Risk Management could provide a wide variety of protection options for businesses and families to help them succeed. It is having this kind of risk management expertise, built from years of experience, which gives him confidence that, even in today’s uncertain climate, his agency can provide advice and solutions to clients.
Although much of the pandemic news is disconcerting, there are positive developments. Many businesses have transitioned almost seamlessly to home office, remote environments. This has helped tremendously for business continuation, maintaining jobs and services to the community. Restaurants have successfully implemented curbside pick-up and food delivery services which are “distance” friendly. Again, providing a needed benefit to neighborhoods all over Long Island.
In the last few weeks, Anthony and his staff have been fielding a lot of calls from clients about premiums and grace periods. The New York State Department of Financial Services, which oversees insurance in the state, has issued an emergency regulation easing grace periods and cancellation policies. A few important highlights for the property casualty segments are that insurers:
- Provide a 60-day grace period for the cancellation, conditional renewal or non-renewal of a policyholder’s insurance policy.
- Allow premiums due but not paid during the 60-day period to be paid over the course of the following year in 12 equal monthly installments; and
- Waive any late payment fees, and not report late payments to credit rating agencies, during the 60-day period.
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When asked what businesses and individuals can do to mitigate their risks when a disaster occurs, Anthony had three best practices to share:
- Focus on cash reserves. Having an adequate amount of emergency funds helps to ease the stress and burden of meeting basic expenses during a disaster. Although it may be difficult, especially those with small profit margins, it is critical. So, take the time to inventory your expenses and set aside enough to build three to six months of monthly expenses as a reserve.
- Make sure your business is able to function in an offsite location. This means making sure that technology infrastructure is in place to communicate with employees and clients. Nothing tells us more that this is necessary, than what we are all living through now.
- Get advice about your risk management from a qualified professional with expertise in this area. It is easy to go for the least expensive mix of coverage, but in reality, many of the events that can interrupt your business may not be included in a cookie cutter policy. What one business needs, another may not and so your coverage needs to match your specific needs. Additionally, reviewing your policies regularly to reduce uncovered exposure to losses, is as important as studying your revenue stream.
Although this is an unprecedented time that is new territory, there are other disasters like weather or a personal health crisis that we should be prepared for. Implementing these best practices will give any business or individual immediate protection which is pivotal for success.