ACN’s Tri-State Epic Lays the Groundwork for Success in Virtual Events
| Collin Passman | Jun 16 2020
Over the past several months, COVID-19 has altered the way insurance industry professionals — and all of us — connect. The Tri-State Epic Chapter volunteered to help lead the way into transitioning Applied Client Network (ACN) chapter meetings to an online atmosphere by holding its first-ever virtual chapter meeting on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. This was in response to the necessity created by the COVID-19 pandemic that has prevented us from meeting in person.
The use of modern-day video conferencing allowed the chapter to open its meeting up to ACN members from across the U.S. The technology also accommodated 77 participants and allowed everyone to break into smaller chat rooms, each hosted by a chapter officer, so that everyone could be heard. The smaller groups helped make the meeting seem personal and made participants feel comfortable.
The meeting topic dealt with how agencies and brokerages are planning to reopen their doors as local and state/province regulations allow them to do so. As a starting point, the chapter provided a return-to-work checklist from Zywave as reference material. The truly amazing feature about the virtual meeting was that the subject matter presented allowed participants to hear varying opinions from agencies and brokerages of different sizes and makeup. They heard from one- and two-person agencies or brokerages as well as those with over 100 employees. Participants also heard from ACN members who are part of agencies or brokerages that own their buildings, and those whose offices are part of larger office complexes and banks and credit unions. Each person gave a unique perspective on how their agency or brokerage plans on dealing with the following topics:
- Social distancing in the office and how they plan to maintain a 6-foot rule. Ideas ranged from rearranging office furniture to staggered work schedules.
- How employers plan to handle unique employee situations whereby an employee may continue to have to work from home because their school- or camp-aged children may not be able to go back at the same time as the employee, and how employers will look at working from home as a very viable alternative to sick days.
- How employers are planning to deal with clients that want to come into their office or who request an in-person visit to review insurance needs
- New technology that can be or has been used to address connecting from home in a secure manner. This also includes the use of technological advances in securing signatures from clients and delivering documents electronically, as well as how clients have begun to accept the new way of doing business. Finally, about the group discussed third-party products that are being used and the fact that everyone present felt lucky to have Applied Systems and all of its available products as a partner in this venture.
- Employee mental health and well-being, and ways to address the situation of employees not taking vacation time because they feel “guilty” about not working when they are working from home.
The overall success of the meeting leads us to believe that the virtual format can and will be very successful in the future. The overall feeling that we got from all of the participants was that they were happy to know that ACN was still there to help attend to our needs as members and that we are not alone in the issues we’re experiencing. It gave us a sense that ACN's focus on education, networking and advocacy is still alive and thriving.
Are you an ACN Chapter officer? If yes, visit the Chapter Officers community for resources on hosting a virtual chapter event. If no, check out the events calendar to find an upcoming virtual meeting hosted by your regional leadership or covering a topic you’re interested in.
Tags: Commentary , Chapter Profile , Virtual , Virtual Events , Update