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National Big ‘I’ survey on ongoing pandemic impact

A national survey of Big “I" members shows that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the day-to-day operations of independent insurance agencies as the crisis lingers. The survey was conducted between Aug. 4-12 and collected 365 responses.

Almost half of responding agencies transitioned all or most of their staff to remote work, the survey found, while the same amount report decreased revenue in 2020 so far. Additionally, 46 percent of responding agencies have experienced a loss of commercial lines clients.

The survey also found that about 70 percent of agencies have received a Payment Protection Program loan or financial assistance or grants during the pandemic. In more than 41 percent of responding agencies, the majority of the staff is still working remotely, while 43 percent of respondents said most of their staff is currently working in their offices.

“This research shows that, like the many small business clients they serve, independent insurance agents and brokers around the country have been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the difficult economic environment it has created," says Bob Rusbuldt, national Big “I" President & CEO. “Our members have had to show resilience in adapting and adjusting to a changed business landscape that may be our reality in the foreseeable future. The Big 'I' continues to help them in their time of need with financial assistance and an array of other resources to support them through the pandemic."

Survey respondents identified areas they would find help most beneficial during and after the pandemic to continue agency operations. Top responses included: assistance with building an online presence for marketing, guidance and talking points about the crisis and coverages for their clients, and assistance with home-based technology and online business tools for remote workers.

“The Big 'I' has resources and expertise to help our members in these areas where their businesses need it most," says Madelyn Flannagan, Big “I" vice president for agent development, education and research. “Despite their challenges, independent insurance agents are proving they're strong and nimble during troubled times, working hard to sustain their own businesses while at the same time assisting many of their clients who are in crisis."​