Tag Archives: work-from-home

Insurance Tips for the Remote Workforce

First, create a list of questions to ask your HR team.

Before you set up your new work-from-home space or even if you’ve already left the office to go remote, circle back with your HR team to understand how you’re covered if you experience a work-related issue at home. Start with these questions:

  • May I take my work equipment with me? If so, what is covered in case of an accident?
  • What happens if I get injured during my time working from home? 
  • Am I covered through my work?
  • If so, how do I file a claim?

Start to separate business equipment from your personal electronics.

Typically, headsets, desktops and screens that are owned by your company would not fall under your homeowners insurance — even if you’re working remotely. However, if you’re doing work on a personal computer for business use and have a theft or loss, there may be limits on personal property coverage.

Enroll in a comprehensive homeowners insurance plan.

Most Americans are required to purchase home insurance with their mortgage, but the home office coverage limit may not cover the range of equipment you’re bringing home from your employer. If you’re going remote, understand what items your company owns and what is a personal item being used for business. Do an inventory of personal items like laptops, monitors, printers and voice headsets to make sure your coverage limit lines up with what your stuff is worth. We’ve found that video logs work great for this.

Or, do a thorough review of your existing homeowners policy.

When you go remote, the occupancy of your home may shift drastically from 30% of your time to 100%. And, during the day, you’re up and moving around, while at night you’re usually asleep. The increase in activity could increase the probability of a claim in your home, especially if you’ve got kids home from school. 

See also: Does Remote Work Halt Innovation?

Request an increase in your personal home office limit (if you need it).

The average homeowners policy in the U.S. has a $2,000 limit for home office equipment. As more people have office setups at home, homeowners can request higher limits, if necessary.

  • Storage of business inventory could increase your personal limits. If you’re unable to make it into the office and must begin storing your company’s products or materials at your home, then speak to your company first or call your homeowners insurance company to make sure you’re covered before you take on the responsibility of business inventory. 
  • Increases in foot traffic could boost your personal limits. If you’re going to be remote for an extended period and are thinking about bringing clients to your home, then you’re assuming liability for those guests as they come onto your property. Check with your insurance company to make sure you’re covered appropriately.  

If remote working turns into a permanent thing.

Home-based businesses usually require more coverage than standard personal limits. If you decide to stay remote, check with your homeowners insurance company on what coverage limits it offers and ask for endorsements. 

Remember, adapting to a new work environment takes time.

If you’re already thinking about your insurance coverages, then you’re ahead of the game. But be sure you’ve set up your new working environment in a safe way. Think through the different scenarios that could lead to physical harm or injury, like loose electrical cords or leaving the stove on when you have the ability to cook lunch instead of buying it. New environments take some time to get used to.

See also: Navigating Security in the Remote Paradigm

Finally, know your home’s limits.

Energy costs may go up when your family members are home during a time of day when your home is usually at its lowest point of energy consumption. Try offsetting the drawing of power and energy throughout the entire day with some energy saving devices and LED lights.

Why Work-From-Home Threatens Innovation

The world is entering month eight of the pandemic and the complete disruption of the personal and business lives of virtually every one of us. While the timing and response to COVID-19 may have varied by country, region and city, nobody is unaffected. And the timeline for a return to anything resembling pre-COVID-19 life remains elusive and unclear. But while we continue to live and work in a state that feels like some surreal form of suspended animation, there is still much we could and should be doing about conducting the business of insurance and the enormous number of people it employs, supports and protects.

Personal and Organizational Growth

Whether we realize it or not, work-from-home (WFH) is dramatically stunting our growth, both personally and organizationally. And even when the pandemic ends, it is now widely anticipated that a majority of workers will be offered, and most will eagerly accept, the option of continuing to work from home permanently or partially.

Though working from home may seem to make life somewhat easier initially, it can become detrimental to employees’ mental health; people are basically social creatures, and working from home can make employees feel disconnected and cause anxiety. An Accenture survey of insurance industry chief human resource officers conducted in June 2020 reveals that, while 80% agreed that workforce engagement and productivity is high, the combination of global pandemic and WFH may be taking a toll on workers’ mental health; 55% noted that employees were reporting an increased amount of anxiety and depression; and 73% said employees are feeling a greater degree of pressure due to the pandemic.

Furthermore, social interaction and interpersonal communications enable learning of all kinds: the value of teamwork, leadership styles, job skills, work styles, the art of communication, friendships, diversity and a sense of mutual purpose. WFH impedes organizations from developing and instilling their company culture, which is fostered, in large part, by employees coming together and engaging in team-building activities and company-wide meetings—so having disjointed teams makes this harder to accomplish. And when employees can clearly identify with a company’s values, they’re more likely to engage with their work.

We need to become more aware of these impediments to personal growth and develop strategies and procedures to replicate some of this personal growth and development. Employees highly value the flexibility of remote work, and the success of fully distributed companies has proven that the model can work. A personal touch is added by setting explicit expectations, conducting consistent and scheduled check-ins and promoting “show and tell” virtual sessions within work groups or even company-wide. Effective team building exercises, even “small talk,” can help create personal connections, build empathy and strengthen working relationships. The organizational chart will need to be redesigned and become more agile.

Partnerships, Alliances and Acquisitions

Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, the insurance industry was undergoing rapid change in the ways in which it viewed and conducted its products and its business. This included reinvention of all business processes to lower costs and increase agility, embracing and adopting emerging technologies and rewriting strategic thinking about everything from product development to distribution and, most importantly, its newfound fierce focus on customer experience and service excellence.

This transformation was being accomplished through a variety of means, both internal and external. Internal organic transformation resulted from corporate reorganization including the formation of officer-level business units responsible for innovation and data science, and the adoption of formal change management programs.

See also: How to Be Productive Working at Home

Externally, insurers sought out startups and early-stage entrepreneurial companies that could help them not only solve specific operational challenges but also accelerate innovation by stimulating, challenging and motivating legacy thinkers within the company to become more agile and act in new and different ways. Many top-tier carriers funded corporate venture capital units whose mandate included the identification and growth of startups whose people, technologies and solutions could benefit and accelerate insurance transformation across their own and other insurance enterprises.

However, effective identification of and engagement with startups and entrepreneurs is more of an art than a science. Attendance at industry conference such as InsurTech Connect, Insurance Nexus, Dig-In and others provided the best environment for this process. Inviting startups to corporate headquarters to present their solutions and vision to a diverse insurance company executive audience also helped broaden an insurers’ thinking in the “art of the possible.” But, in the age of COVID-19, these opportunities are limited to what can be accomplished virtually, which may be effective for delivering information but provide little in the way of developing personal relationships. The industry has already lost eight months of this valuable activity and will likely lose many more. A lost year of innovation and transformation and the momentum that had been building over the prior decade will be costly to the insurance industry. Non-insurance competitors such as Amazon, Google, Tesla, Comcast, General Motors and many others are not standing still, and neither should insurers. Creative new approaches to reignite corporate development, innovation and transformation need to be found and implemented now.