I'll be quick this week. It's my older daughter's birthday, and she tells me I have more important things to do today than spend a bunch of hours hunched over my computer writing a commentary. (We're going hiking in the canyons along the coast near Point Reyes, just north of San Francisco, on a beautiful, sunny, almost-spring day. I know: Life is tough.)
But before I go I did want to call attention to a story on home-based businesses that I think exemplifies the sort of opportunity that is arising as we start to come out of the latest wave of this awful pandemic and head toward a new normal.
The article says half of the 30 million small businesses in the U.S. are already home-based, and loads of surveys and analyses have suggested that the allure of working from home has only grown in the pandemic. These home-based businesses offer an opportunity both for new products and for education-based sales by agents and brokers.
The piece says small businesses tend to be treated as monolithic for insurance purposes, even though the home-based businesses can be very different than ones based in an office or store -- a survey of 1,000 home businesses found, for instance, that 24% were based on e-commerce or home crafts. So, there would seem to be opportunities to tailor products better.
The survey also found that 91% of the small business owners know they need insurance coverage but that 44% either do not have coverage or do not know what liabilities are covered by the insurance they have -- a clarion call for agents and brokers.
The opportunity with at-home businesses will be just one of a myriad of adjustments that we'll see this year and beyond. Allstate recently said, for instance, that its auto repair costs are up significantly because of supply chain disruptions that relate, in part, to Covid. Workers' comp carriers are having to adjust to changes in work locations, tasks and schedules. The gig economy is getting a boost because Covid has required much more flexibility -- plus all those drivers to deliver all those items we decided not to buy in stores. And so on.
I'm sure I'll return to the post-Covid opportunities and complications many times in coming months, but that's enough for now.
Until next time, repeat after me: Happy birthday, Shannon!