Pooling Perspective on COVID-19 (April 27, 2020)

  

By Ann Gergen, Executive Director

I’ve been holding off writing about pool staffing and operational issues, knowing most pools are highly focused on addressing the needs of their members, managing coverage uncertainties, reconsidering reinsurance needs and more.

Two emails this morning helped me realize it’s time to directly address a significant organizational and operational issue for pools: long-term plans for remote work. 

Both emails came unsolicited from pool directors starting to consider longer-term staffing and operational practices as a result of COVID-19.

The first email included this insight: 

I’m quickly realizing that we can indeed operate in a mostly (if not entirely) remote manner and it’s going to be hard for me to now say we have to have everyone at the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

The second email was a copy of messaging from a pool director to their staff, which included this comment: 

Just because the governor says we can go back to the workplace doesn’t mean we should. 

Just three months ago, I described the public entity pooling community as reluctant to fully adopt remote work options. Slow adoption has been in part due to the fundamental importance of relationships within public entity pooling. The personal connections you hold with members, among your staff, with service providers, with reinsurers, and with state agencies are critical to your pool’s success. 

Pools are quickly learning how to build and manage these key relationships from a distance. Shifting to remote operations amid the coronavirus crisis has allowed pools to test alternatives, adjust and adapt workflows, and embrace new work realities over the longer term.

Pools won’t replace all in-person interactions with video meetings and virtual coffee breaks. Not every pool staff member can work remotely on a permanent basis. But like the two pools that emailed me today, it might be time to reexamine your views about remote work.

Check out this starting list of resources about effective long-term remote work, including materials from other AGRiP member pools and QEI Patrons.

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Ann Gergen is AGRiP’s executive director and a former pool administrator. She has worked closely with and for pools, public entities, reinsurers and related service providers throughout her career.

Each week, Ann will offer insight into COVID-19 issues AGRiP members are experiencing and related trends to monitor. For more, access the full series of COVID-19 perspective posts.

Access AGRiP’s COVID-19 Resource Center for coronavirus information, links and news relevant to pools. Email us with questions or comments, or connect with us on LinkedInTwitterYouTube and Facebook.



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