Dear friends and partners,
It’s hard to believe that four months have passed since COVID-19 suddenly upended our lives. On behalf of the entire team at Purves Redmond Limited, I hope you have been staying safe, healthy and connected with your loved ones during these difficult times.
The pandemic has impacted countless lives and businesses across the globe, and the insurance industry has been no different. If you are a business owner, you’ve no doubt been blindsided by a sudden interruption to your livelihood, and have many questions about how to weather this storm. Rest assured that we are here for you, ready to assist every step of the way.
As we begin the road to recovery, I wanted to provide you with an update on the changes we’ve made to our own operations, how we’re protecting our staff and our plan for business continuity moving forward.
HOW WE’VE ADJUSTED
Since March 16, the PRL team has been working from home in compliance with social distancing measures, available via phone and web.
Some changes were easy—delivering technology and home-office equipment and increased online training sessions were simple fixes that helped everyone to stay comfortable and productive wherever they were. That said, the virtual office can take an invisible toll. That’s why we acted quickly to support the mental health of our staff with two enhancements to our group benefits plan: an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers free, confidential counselling 24/7, and increased annual coverage for services from a registered therapist, psychologist or social worker.
The people are what make the culture so special here at PRL, and I’m thrilled to see that spirit stay intact. Our social committee is still doing an incredible job planning fun group events (like our annual year-end celebration following the close of our May 31, 2020 fiscal year, which they transformed into a purely digital affair in early June), and many of our Leaders have organized after-hours hangouts that have stayed alive through the magic of video conferencing. They’re little things, but they’ve gone a long way towards wellness in our organization.
HOW WE’RE SERVING YOU
Thanks to a lot of hard work and decisive action, there has been no change to the quality of service at PRL. The most noticeable shift is perhaps our elimination of paper in favour of electronic communication, which in some cases, actually made us more efficient; crucial documents, such as certificates of insurance, are now delivered faster (and with less environmental impact).
While it’s still “business as usual” for the most part, we know that personalized, face-to-face service has been the core of what makes our firm unique. Luckily, PRL’s representatives have maintained an impressive open line of communication, staying responsive and engaged—regardless of the time of day.
OUR PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
Like many of you, I and my colleagues have missed coming to the office, seeing friendly faces, meeting new people and connecting with our clients. We’re itching to get back to normal, but the health of staff, clients and the larger community will always be our top priority.
On May 29, Toronto Mayor John Tory and city health officials urged local employers to continue remote work until at least fall. Based on that guidance, PRL is aiming to reopen physical locations no earlier than September 2020.
Our approach will be slow, steady and nimble. We’ve put together a cross-functional task force that’s developing a strategic framework for reopening—one based on the latest government and public-health guidance to protect both staff and visitors. Some changes we’re working on include:
- Augmented seating arrangements to facilitate proper social distancing between employees
- Directional-flow arrows and visual guides that encourage one-way movement throughout the office
- Boardrooms retrofitted with full video-conferencing capabilities, allowing in-person and remote teams to connect
- Thorough cleaning and frequent disinfecting of all high-touch surfaces and common areas
- Renovation of our previously shared washroom spaces to limit human interaction, along with increased supplies of soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels
- Minimized (but flexible) opportunities for travel, assessed case-by-case to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort while providing necessary service to our clients
We will continue to monitor the latest official recommendations and keep you informed of any changes in our plan.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR NEXT RENEWAL
This is an unprecedented, uncertain time in the insurance world—rising rates and complex risks have only been amplified by a global pandemic. At PRL, we’re tackling these conditions with proactive conversations to help you make thoughtful, well-informed decisions. It may be more challenging than usual, but we’re committed to uncovering every opportunity to deliver the best possible coverage at the lowest premium available.
A FINAL THOUGHT
Despite how hard the last four months have been, I’ve honestly never felt more proud to be a part of the PRL family. Our people have demonstrated a knack for resilience, adaptiveness and positivity that has consistently surprised and inspired me.
As a father, I’ve definitely learned the struggle of juggling school, chores, work and play all under one very cramped roof. But no matter how overwhelming it gets, I remain optimistic that this will all pass; we will rebound as an industry, and as a society, more capable than ever of doing great things.
Years from now, I hope that we can look back on COVID-19 as a blip in history. Until then, I’m counting the days until we meet again. See you soon, and thank you sincerely for your continued partnership.