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Zurich teams work in agile ways to serve customers amid COVID-19

April 6, 2020

Amid coronavirus disruption, Zurich’s teams are collaborating to serve customers, distributors and colleagues. Our flexwork culture and technology help.

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Zurich’s teams are collaborating in creative ways to help customers, distributors and other stakeholders navigate the uncharted territory of coronavirus and COVID-19. Zurich’s flexwork culture, technology resources and innovation mindset are helping to make it possible.

“Our team is working to provide seamless, undisrupted, high-quality service,” said Kathleen Savio, Chief Executive Officer of Zurich North America. “We are working remotely at normal capacity and have full, uninterrupted access to the systems we need to serve and support our customers.”

The priority is to demonstrate care and deliver on commitments to customers, distributors and communities. Here are just a few snapshots of how Zurich Underwriters, Risk Engineers, Claims professionals and other colleagues are delivering during a difficult time.

Our history

While many challenges associated with the coronavirus are unprecedented, Zurich North America draws from over 107 years of experience managing the complex and the unexpected. Founded in Switzerland in 1872, Zurich expanded to the U.S. in 1912 and has operated through world wars and other periods of adversity. We’re committed to helping our customers, distributors and communities through this difficult time too.

Adapting courses for brokers
: In New York, Zurich Business Development Leader Patricia Galeotti and Zurich Academy Director Bart Shachnow were in the process of planning a Continuing Education (CE) cyber insurance class at one of our Select Broker’s offices when the city implemented its stay-at-home order. Fifteen brokers from New York and Boston were concerned they wouldn't be able to complete their CE requirements for their broker license. Shachnow quickly went to work adapting programs and petitioning state insurance departments to allow online and virtual presentations to qualify for credit. Shachnow and Galeotti have since converted a cyber policy training for a team of middle market brokers. “They were impressed with our responsiveness and rapid ability to meet their needs on this,” Galeotti said. Zurich Academy is scheduling more events like this with other brokers.

Convening auto dealers: An auto dealer customer of Zurich’s Direct Markets team had a question: What are other dealers doing to navigate COVID-19 challenges? "We immediately thought to bring our Customer Council members together to talk about the challenges,” said Zurich North America Head of Direct Markets Vince Santivasi. “They asked questions of one another, from discussing what is deemed essential business to adapting their delivery and service, and keeping customers, employees and communities safe. At the end of our time together, the unanimous feedback was 'When are we doing this again?'” Acting on the feedback, the Direct Markets team set up another Customer Council meeting, this time inviting Zurich North America’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, Gregg Sheiowitz, to share perspective to help auto dealers manage through a strange time.

Servicing claims inquiries: Zurich Claims Customer Service Executives have been fielding customer and broker inquiries on COVID-19 and its possible effects on claims. "We have 4,200 customers nationally, and our team is reaching out to them all," said Claims Head of Relationship Management Wes Shiplett. “We want to assure them we're available to address their concerns and serve their needs.” Zurich North America's RiskIntelligence team, which manages a web-based system that provides daily updates of claims and loss information, has been reassuring customers about the status of our operations. "Our customers are telling us that they are grateful for our online system and support," said Senior Business Analyst Paul Abramiuk, "and that they can get what they need from us in a timely fashion."

Connecting on telehealth: Zurich’s Healthcare team, Underwriters, Risk Engineers and Claims professionals are collaborating to provide timely insights and protection related to the surge in demand for healthcare. Many healthcare providers are looking to expand physical or telehealth capacity to care for patients. Others are navigating changes in provider license requirements between states, or enlisting retired or clinically inactive providers to supplement staff. Crisis management coverage sometimes comes into play, and customers need information quickly. "Service is key," said Zurich’s Head of Healthcare Professional Liability Joe Sullivan. "By being easy to work with, we can help our insureds focus on what they do best, which is treating patients."

Coordinating resources: When a construction customer contacted Risk Engineer Ben Ghormley about providing their employees with a COVID-19 telehealth resource, Ghormley quickly contacted Zurich's Claims team and coordinated a call with the customer to provide cost-effective options. Other customers have contacted him regarding vendor resources for COVID-19 sanitation services. “Our Risk Engineers are responding to our customers’ needs with valuable resources to help them navigate our changing work environment,” Ghormley said. “Our collaborative approach means more than ever.”

Onboarding new talent: Newly hired talent is being onboarded virtually with help from Zurich’s Talent Acquisition and Information Technology teams. Our flexwork culture, dating to 2016, is helping make it possible. “We’re sending our new people what they need and helping them get situated so they will have the capabilities their teammates do, including the ability to begin connecting with their manager, colleagues and the people we serve,” said Jessica Aguilar, Head of Talent Acquisition for Zurich North America. “We’re all energized by the opportunity to make a positive impact during a really important time.” Recruitment for programs such as Zurich’s Underwriting Training Program and Apprenticeship Program is proceeding.


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Read our other coronavirus (COVID-19) resources.