April 16, 2020
How to Lead During the Pandemic
by Lewis Fein
The pandemic presents the insurance industry with a chance--and a demand--to personalize its mission and humanize its spirit.
The insurance industry is in the midst of a crisis as bad as the Great Recession and possibly worse than the Great Depression.
The crisis worsens each day because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We do not know when the worst will end.
We cannot predict when the pandemic itself will end.
But we can choose what we say and do; what we must say and do for the good of the insurance industry and the economy as a whole.
We must choose to lead.
The choice is just that: a choice to fight fear with facts, because the insurance industry must not let fear be the face of the pandemic. Not when the faces of the heroes among us cover their faces, but show us their eyes.
Their eyes say many things.
Their eyes speak to feelings of loss, depression, doubt and frustration. Their eyes also speak of the resolve to continue.
David Albanese of Ameraquest Financial Group shares the same resolve. He says:
“The insurance industry must be a voice of clarity and wisdom. People need to hear from experts and executives they trust. Communication is essential to success.”
Albanese is right about trust. Insurers need it, customers demand it and the public deserves it. Which means the insurance industry must work to preserve and protect it.
See also: What Effective Leaders Do in Tough Times
The industry must convey what it believes and be true to its most fundamental belief, that trust is the basis for everything a business does.
Acts strengthens trust. Put another way, good works are more effective than good words. The works speak for themselves—up to a point.
The moment comes when insurers must speak about their works. The moment is right—now is the moment—for insurers to lead by speaking to the public, about the needs of the public, for the safety of the public.
Each day is a new moment for insurers to offer news, answer questions and address the public. Whether insurers use traditional media or social media to communicate is less important than what they deem to be of importance.
The medium is not the message; the message is the message, regardless if it is a post, a comment, a column or a tweet. Substance comes before style, especially during a pandemic.
The substance of what insurers say should be direct, just as the information they provide—the directions they give—should be correct.
Does this mean insurers must be perfect, that they cannot afford to make mistakes?
On the contrary, mistakes are inevitable, and misstatements are unavoidable. Admitting one’s mistakes is, however, critical to maintaining what too many companies do not enjoy in the first place: trust.
The insurance industry has a chance to personalize its mission and humanize its spirit.
The industry has the chance to reach hundreds of millions of people worldwide, thanks to the power of communication and communications.
Thanks to clear speech, on the one hand, and technology, on the other, the industry can be a voice of leadership.
The insurance industry must speak to us, now more than ever.