Afirm Safety & Contingency Planning

At the start of this week, 29 states have either lifted completely or reduced stay-at-home orders to only high-risk groups while also easing their social distancing measures.

  • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado*, Florida, Georgia*, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma*, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

*Stay-at-Home Order lifted, except for those in high-risk groups. Source: KFF.org

More than likely, additional states will follow in the coming weeks.

In previous communications, we have kept you abreast of the actions Afirm has taken to ensure the health and safety of your policyholders, our staff, and the general public.

During the beginning stages of this pandemic, measures included the removal of our staff from the field and providing you, our clients, with virtual services.

As the national emergency progressed and states, local jurisdictions, and organizations began to make plans to start the transition back to normal daily activities, Afirm made the decision to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) in bulk for our field staff before allowing them to go back in the field. It has been no small task sourcing and obtaining tens of thousands of masks and gloves for our workforce.

However, as a result I am happy to report that as of now, all of our field staff have been equipped with their own PPE, instructed on its use and disposal and are now ready and able to resume physical services where allowed by local governments and of course, you.

Per earlier communications, we have instructed our staff on how to limit their interactions with your policyholders by doing as much as they can by phone before the actual physical audit or inspection.

We are prepared and ready when you are to return back to normal operations. If you have any questions on how we intend to proceed, please reach out to your Afirm representative. They will be more than happy to review our preparations with you to ensure we are serving you and your policyholders in the safest way possible.

 

MAY 7, 2020

Thank you for your partnership. We are truly grateful for your support during this time as we all face this unprecedented challenge together.

With each day, local, county and state restrictions are starting to loosen. Businesses are slowly re-opening and commerce is coming back to life. We are grateful that for the last six weeks you have allowed us to work with your policyholders utilizing our virtual services. Your cooperation has allowed us to keep our staff in place, productive and ready to take the next step in resuming physical operations.

We have obtained a significant supply of gloves and masks for our office and production teams. A personal supply has been sent to each field representative, along with instructions on their use and disposal. We are prepared to supply our staff with protective equipment for as long as needed to ensure their safety and the safety of your policyholders. No policyholder will be engaged by one of our staff without our representative wearing both gloves and a mask.

While our physical offices remain closed—our team will continue to work remotely for the time being—a supply of masks and gloves will be waiting for them when they do return to one of our physical locations.

Next week, our field team will begin making physical appointments as long as these three criteria are met:

  • They have in their possession company-issued/approved personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • The local governing jurisdiction has lifted restrictions limiting travel and access to businesses
  • Our clients (you) have given us permission to contact your policyholders

As referenced in our previous communication to you, in order to reduce the travel of individuals from high-density areas to low-density areas, field operations for remote (area II and III) geographies will resume once the majority of our client base has lifted their physical engagement restrictions. In the meantime, Afirm will continue to service those areas virtually.

We look forward to getting back out and doing what we love, meeting with your policyholders and developing the information you rely on to successfully run your operation.

If you have any questions about our plans to re-engage, please reach out to your Afirm representative.

APRIL 23, 2020

As you know, starting with the week of March 23, 2020 we pulled our staff from the field and began offering “virtual” only services. Two weeks earlier we equipped our office staff so they could work from home, keeping only the personnel required to maintain our office processes. We thank you for supporting us in this endeavor to keep our staff, your policyholders and the general public safe during this worldwide crisis.

As states move to get their residents back to work and businesses up and running (click here to view current “Shelter in Place” restrictions), we wanted to keep you informed of what Afirm has planned.

Please note:

  • Field staff will be taking appropriate precautions and safety measures
    • Operating in compliance with governmental orders and guidance
    • Operating in accordance with our clients directions
    • Operating in a manner that is most protective of our employees, contractors, clients, policyholders and the general public
    • Following CDC guidelines, including wearing personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, etc.)
    • Practicing social distancing and minimizing contact with policyholders or authorized representatives
  • We will not begin any approved field-related services until May 1, 2020
  • Prior to May 1, you will be contacted by an Afirm representative to discuss options and directions
  • Client approvals will be maintained in a database accessible to our field staff and updated daily
  • After May 1, and in accordance with government and client approval, we will begin field operations in all metro (area I) geographies
  • To reduce travel of individuals from high-density areas to low-density areas, field operations for remote (area II and III) geographies will resume once the majority of our client base has lifted their physical engagement restrictions. In the meantime, Afirm will continue to service those areas virtual

Please discuss any questions you may have with the Afirm representative contacting you shortly.

We hope this communication finds each of you well. We also hope Afirm has been one of those trusted resources you have been able to rely on during these uncertain times. We have no doubt we will get through this together.

 

APRIL 3, 2020

First, with my utmost gratitude, let me thank you on behalf of Afirm and its almost 900 members and staff. Throughout March, while in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, you have shown your support of our organization by providing a greater inflow of new work on both the Audit and Loss Control sides. For that we are extremely thankful!

As you know, last week we took steps to temporarily discontinue our physical audit and inspection services to keep our staff and your policyholders safe and healthy. Thank you for supporting us in this action. Since our announcement, we have appreciated the many positive comments from you about our approach and care.

We have successfully been able to “virtualize” our entire operation, remaining committed to providing the quality of service you have come to expect from Afirm. At this time, 100% of all premium audits and loss control inspections are being completed safely from the individual homes of our staff. Our IT Team has ensured that all exchanges of business and personal data are secure.

Like you, we are hopeful this current situation will soon pass along with the needed restrictions. Please be confident in knowing that additional contingency planning is underway and will be implemented should this situation last longer than anyone expects.

We remain committed to providing you with service you can rely on at all times, especially in these most turbulent of times. We truly appreciate your partnership. The trust you place in us is felt by all who call Afirm home.

We look forward to the day when we can go back to “business as usual.” In the meantime, please stay well!

 

MARCH 24, 2020

In an effort to protect personal and public health, Afirm is continuing to take extensive actions in response to COVID-19 as the situation evolves. We remain open for business; however will cease all physical field inspections and audits, starting this week.

Over the past 10 days, we have had discussions with a majority of our clients, and have received approval to complete physical visits by other means. In order to provide you with the best possible service at this time, we will complete any inspection or audit using our virtual services. If we have not yet spoken to you about these services, please contact your Afirm Representative to discuss a plan that works best for you.

We are grateful for the relationships we share with you. While we continue providing services that are vital in the insurance process, we are prioritizing the health and safety of our associates, policyholders and the public.

Our representatives remain dedicated to providing the same level of service, expertise and responsiveness you have come to expect for over 30 years.

We will continue to keep you updated on any operational changes as the situation evolves. Thank you for your continued partnership.

If you have additional questions about the temporary precautionary measures we have put in place, please contact your Afirm Representative.

Please stay safe and well.

 

MARCH 11, 2020

Afirm is focused on the health and safety of its team, as well as providing clients a high level of service and responsiveness regardless of the severity of the disruption.

To help safeguard the well-being of our team members, while ensuring our field operations remain uninterrupted, Afirm is implementing the following temporary precautions, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19):

Advised office and field representatives to stay home when they are ill or suspect they are ill.

  • Initiating Additional Appointment Protocols

When calling to make appointments, Afirm representatives will ask policyholders if they, or any members of their household, are sick, have recently been sick or traveled internationally to any of the countries of concern.

– If yes, the inspection or audit will be delayed by at least two weeks.

– All specifics of contact with the policyholder will be recorded in the Progress Notes.

  • Performing Preventative Actions

Should a physical survey be conducted, field representatives have been informed to avoid physical contact with the policyholder and to limit touching any surfaces while on site.

– Hand sanitizer should be applied before and after each audit or inspection.

  • Increasing Virtual Audits & Surveys

To reduce the risk of spreading the virus via face-to-face contact, field representatives have been advised to minimize human contact by conducting audit/inspection interviews via phone.
In a Virtual Survey, interviews, documents, and photos/records are requested and reviewed with the policyholder by phone. 

  • Early Release of Our Self-Inspection Application

During the past few months, Afirm has been working on a Self-Inspection App. The App provides an alternative to physical inspections and keeps underwriting information moving, while at the same time, eliminating the risk of coronavirus spread via direct contact during an inspection. For more information, please contact your Afirm representative.

We will be monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis and will issue further updates as needed. Our goal is to maintain business operations as normal.

Thank you for your continued commitment. If you have additional questions about the temporary precautionary measures we have put in place, please contact your Afirm Representative.