With nearly 6 in 10 nonprofits negatively impacted by COVID-19, independent agents have the opportunity to counsel their nonprofit clients on the issues they face.
Nonprofit organizations provide essential services to communities across the country. With restricted access to critical resources, the importance of these organizations for people in need was further emphasized during the coronavirus pandemic.
Nonprofit organizations are highly vulnerable to economic uncertainty, with 81% of nonprofit decision-makers concerned about their organization's ability to make it through the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19, according to new Agent Authority research from Nationwide.
With nearly 6 in 10 nonprofits negatively impacted by COVID-19, challenges are steep. At specialty health care nonprofits, 1 in 3 specialty care nonprofit decision-makers believe mental health problems and opioid use among the patients they serve are increasing. Additionally, 83% report the pandemic has exacerbated challenges associated with treating patients with opioid addiction. Overall, 80% of specialty health care nonprofit organizations are struggling to find enough employees or volunteers to administer their services.
Despite the mounting challenges facing the sector, nonprofit decision-makers are optimistic for the economy and their business' improvement over the next six and 12 months with 72% of nonprofit owners believing the economy will improve over the next six months and 60% believing it will improve over the next 12 months. Four in 10 owners believe their fundraising and volunteer counts will return to pre-pandemic levels
To overcome the burdens they face, many nonprofits have adapted their operations or brought on new strategies to keep their business going. Many organizations are investing in technology and it's important for agents to understand how those investments may change clients' operations and the risks they face.
Through the pandemic, 1 in 5 nonprofits didn't have proper technology in place to maintain operations or accommodate social distancing among employees, patients, or community members. Today, these organizations say they've invested in technology in the past year to keep their organization going (92%), to meet the changing needs of their clients (91%), and to monitor employee or volunteer efficiency (91%).
These investments and the pandemic's lingering impacts have caused nonprofits to rely more on technology now than ever before. For instance, since the pandemic started, nonprofits are relying more on wearables (82%), Internet of Things devices (81%), voice-activated devices (80%), and telemedicine or teletherapy (78%).
Interestingly, a top concern for nonprofit operators is the safety of workers driving company vehicles, yet less than half are taking advantage of vehicle telematics to monitor and improve safe driving behaviors.
The survey also revealed multiple areas of opportunity for insurance agents serving nonprofits to counsel clients on the pressing issues they're facing. Two such issues include:
1) Assisting nonprofit owners in understanding their insurance coverage. More than 80% of nonprofit owners say they have difficulties with following insurance terminology or understanding the best coverage or level of protection needed for their organization.
To help with these worries, nearly 90% say it's important that they work with an agent with specialized knowledge and training in their industry who's able to meet their complex needs.
Agents should look for ways to demonstrate their unique understanding of their client's needs and their ability to offer the combination of insurance solutions and loss control services needed to adequately protect them.
2) Advising clients on the safe and efficient use of technology as reliance grows. One-third of nonprofit owners are seeking an insurance agent's guidance on implementing new technology in their operations. The survey also revealed 65% of nonprofit business owners have been victim of a cyberattack, and more than half say the attack had a financial impact on their business or jeopardized confidential patient information. Although 80% reported having cyber insurance coverage, 33% of those without cyber insurance say they didn't know it was available.
With cyber threats increasing, especially as work takes place from homes, agents will play a key role in helping clients understand their current and future cyber risks as clients rely more on technology.
A lack of protection can be incredibly costly for these budget-strapped businesses, so it's critical to work with a carrier with deep expertise and a breadth of solutions to be able to cover the wide-ranging exposures nonprofit clients can face.
Cheryl Tamasitis is regional vice president, specialty care at Nationwide.