Is your insurance business prepared for a swine flu outbreak?

nofluAccording to a new study released last week by the Harvard School of Public Health, two-thirds of businesses would not be able to persist with normal operations if half their employees were absent for two weeks due to swine flu.

Wow. That’s a pretty significant number. This is something we’ve been thinking about not only for the safety and health of our team here, but also for the thousands of agents and millions of consumers we help every day.

Our Chief Financial Officer and co-founder Bob Klee was interviewed yesterday by The Tennessean about this study and about the plans we have in place should an outbreak occur in our company. Here is part of the article from The Tennessean:

Many Nashville CEOs said they would try to be flexible, although some said workers might end up having to use vacation days as their sick time runs out.

The Centers for Disease Control is asking companies to permit their workers to stay home if they’re sick or if their children are sick without fear of losing their jobs. Larger companies have an advantage there because they typically have more resources to draw from, said Thomas Li-Ping Tang, professor of management at Middle Tennessee State University.

Some small-business owners here insist they’d be more nimble in adjusting their policies.

“I think smaller companies are going to be harder hit than larger companies, but larger companies, your Fortune 500 companies, can’t adjust their (human resources) policies like we can,” said Bob Klee, chief financial officer and co-founder of Internet-based HometownQuotes, a company that compares insurance rates.

Klee said the firm would be willing to adjust company policy so workers would still have time for vacations later in the year, if they used up all their paid time off battling swine flu.

Because we’re a Web-based company, most of our interactions stem from a phone call or some other type of electronic communication. While this reduces our chances of an outbreak, we have the capability to allow many of our team members to work from home, should one occur. In addition, all of our departments are cross-trained with other departments, so we have plenty of back-up assistance.

Do you have a plan in place to ensure your insurance business remains operable in the event of a swine flu outbreak?

Click here to read the full article titled “Swine flu bout would cripple most businesses,” in The Tennessean.

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