February 1, 2021

Will Insurance Agencies Let Account Managers Work Remotely After COVID?

by Kris Gibson

Will Insurance Agencies Let Account Managers Work Remotely After COVID?

How Client Service Professionals Create and Negotiate Flexible Schedules in 2021

COVID-19 threw a lot of insurance agencies’ notion about remote work for a loop. You know that old school owner, the one who was adamant about five days/week in the office, right? Pretty soon, that executive was faced with an immediate transition to work-from-home. No planning. No preparation. No idea if, or how, it might work… whether they liked it or not!

As we start to see progress with the pandemic, the question I receive from account managers more than any other is, “I like working from home. Will insurance agencies offer remote jobs after COVID?” If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone.  A Gallup Poll study found about 2/3 of people working remotely want to keep doing so post-COVID.

Talking with our agency clients, it seems most of them will start a ‘return-to-work’ transition in 2021. The unknown is how extreme that goes. The ‘old school’ owner is chomping at the bit to get back to 100% capacity. However, I think most insurance agencies will embrace hybrid schedules.  That’s good news if you want to maintain some flexibility working from home. Here are options you’re likely to find and how to get what you want.

What schedules do insurance agencies offer account managers?

  1. Full-time in the office. Despite being the most rigid schedule you can still find some bend in the rules.
    1. Play with start time (early riser at 7 am versus night owl at 9 am).
    2. Shorten lunches to 30 minutes.
    3. Create 10-hour workdays, M-Th for a shortened every other Friday.
  2. Hybrid. Agencies will let you pick 1-2 days at home on a weekly or ‘staggered basis’. For example:
    1. Every Monday you work from home; T-F is 8 am-5 pm in the office.
    2. Two-week rotation- Week 1 is M, W & F in the office; Week 2 is Tues & Th.
  3. Fully Remote. In this instance you are never in the office with any regularity and are expected to hold no office hours. Hours of work can still be discussed of course.

How much do agencies allow 100% remote jobs?

100% remote jobs were uncommon at prior to COVID and figures to return to a similar level of scarcity when things calm down. Generally, full work-at-home opportunities are reserved for one of two instances:

  1. Admin/Processing. Where many agencies have outsourced this, those who keep it in-house tend to be a little more flexible allowing remote work.
  2. Specialty Skillset. The other is in cases where they need specific expertise. For example, a broker in Indianapolis is looking for an oil & gas specialist. That’s a tough ‘ask’ locally, so to hire an experienced account manager, they allow 100% remote for someone in a geography where oil & gas is prevalent.

How do account managers ask for and receive a flexible schedule?

You can approach your boss about a work-from-home schedule. Remember, the most important thing to keep in mind: It is less about what you say, and more about what they hear. These Three Steps To Ask Your Boss For A Flexible Schedule will help you start the conversation.

Step 1: Fight Negativity With Transparency

Perception is key. If the message your employer hears is, “My employee is focusing on all of the ways to not work, to be less visible, to be less accountable and ultimately to make work a secondary priority,”…..well, you’re doomed. Reinforce the optimal times you like to work and how you’re set up for a home office that will look and feel just the same as being in the office.

Step 2: Play to Their Humanity and Emotions

  • Do you have pick-up and drop-off responsibilities for kids?
  • Does your partner’s role not offer any ability to meet the demands of your family’s daily needs?
  • Do you live in an area where commutes drain precious hours that could otherwise be spent productively working?

Offer insight on why you need a flexible schedule. Ask your boss for help and understanding. Take away the guesswork. Let them be a resource personally and professionally.

Step 3: Anticipate Resistance. Have a Backup Plan.

There are 1 of 2 outcomes when you have an open and honest discussion with your boss.

  1. You Get a Flexible Schedule…And So Much More.
    1. You and your boss are on the same page.
    2. Your boss understands your wants and needs & can provide customized solutions.
    3. You discovered that you work for a company that listens to and cares about its employees.
    4. This could very well be a company that you retire from.
  2. You Don’t Get a Flexible Schedule….And Start a Job Search.
    1. Your boss’s resistance becomes a defining moment.
    2. You see their true colors and perhaps a new shade of disinterest or lack of empathy.
    3. You decide to seek out a more progressive, forward-thinking employer.

Many insurance agencies consider flexible schedules to be a benefit or perk which means you can negotiate this part of your employment the same way as PTO, title and compensation. Check out Is This Offer Negotiable? Get the PTO, Perks, & Pay You Want! for more insight into negotiating benefits & flexible schedules.


You may also like