In the last few years, customers have come to expect streamlined digital experiences from every company they do businesses with.  Companies are evolving to meet these changes, adopting technology tools to reach out to customers through various digital channels. This year we’ve seen the importance of those technology tools more clearly than ever as companies have had to quickly adapt to doing business remotely. Digital transformation is no longer a far-off ideal; it’s a necessity. Read more about creating your company’s digital presence.

For more traditional companies, it may be helpful to think of your company’s interconnected technology tools in terms of the role they play in your digital “office.” Your company’s digital space can augment your physical office and extend your agency’s capabilities. It can make it easy for clients to do business with you even when they can’t come into your company’s physical office.

Websites: your digital storefronts

Your website is where many customers start their digital journey with your company. As a basic starting point, make sure your website is well-designed and easy to use – just like you would want your storefront to look clean and professional.

It’s also a good idea to test your website’s loading speed and mobile-responsiveness. Potential customers are going to bail if the pages are slow to load or if they have to pinch to zoom in to see the website on their phone.

You can test your website’s responsiveness with the Google mobile friendliness test.

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An active 2020 hurricane season combined with coronavirus is likely to present unprecedented challenges for some coastal communities – what happens when a hurricane meets a pandemic?

Meteorologists have been warning for months that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is going to be severe, with estimates this year could produce as many as 19 named storms and 10 hurricanes. And based on early activity, there is little reason to doubt their predictions.

Even before the official start of the season on June 1, two named tropical storms had formed – Arthur, then Bertha, which made landfall near Charleston, South Carolina, on May 27.

What this means residents, businesses, and property owners from Texas to New England is that they need to be prepared for the worst.

In addition to the prospect of spending the next six months monitoring satellite images of cyclones forming over the Atlantic Ocean, they may also have to contend with the added challenge of preparing for and recovering from a catastrophic hurricane amid a global pandemic.

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Technological innovation is revolutionizing one of the oldest professions in the world. Augmented Reality has just broken onto the scene and has already been transforming civil construction. The changes are seen not only in designing and modeling but also in building. Augmented Reality benefits the entire construction team: engineers, designers, architects, project managers, and service providers.

Unlike Virtual Reality, which creates a totally new and independent environment of the real world, AR includes virtual elements that interact with what already exists. It is thus possible to combine virtual architectural designs with the reality of the construction site, increasing efficiency and accuracy, reducing the occurrence of errors, saving time, money, and resources.

Construction sites are often chaotic, noisy, and dirty spaces. Although the adoption of the BIM system reduces many of the incompatibilities and unpleasant surprises during the construction process, it is inevitable that doubts arise and errors occur during construction. And, more importantly, every mistake or redo costs a lot of money and time.

The idea is that AR applications can provide a more accurate view of what will be built, including layers of materials and installations that are often complex to understand through drawings. For this, 3D plans and even virtual model holograms are used to improve the understanding of the project and facilitate the execution of projects. And even during construction, the ability to see through walls and understand the path of the technical installations facilitates the process, reduces the possibility of errors, and even guides the construction of complex geometrics.

To fully use AR you need a device (usually goggles or glasses). Currently, several companies manufacture AR hardware, but the most popular used in construction is Microsoft HoloLens. One of the big reasons why home builders choose Microsoft HoloLens is the price and the fact that it is now certified as basic protection glasses. The company DAQRI has developed a safety helmet integrated into the glasses, to facilitate even more use by construction professionals.

Below are some Augmented Reality technologies that can revolutionize the way companies approach the construction industry:

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The COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented event in modern history, continues to leave its mark on societies and economies around the world and is actively changing the insurance industry. We have learned many lessons so far, the most poignant one being that we weren’t prepared for this.

The impact on the global economy has been devastating. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the global economy will shrink by 3%, the worst decline since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Many advanced economies, including the US, UK, Canada, France, and Germany are expected to enter a recession this year. The Dow and FTSE have suffered their worst quarterly drop since 1987. Oil prices have crashed as lockdowns have brought commuting and traveling to a standstill. In the US, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped below zero for the first time in history.

Amid the outbreak, businesses are trying to stay afloat, scaling down operations or shutting down altogether. The insurance industry, which supports businesses through crises and disasters, is one of the sectors at the forefront during this challenging time. And like everyone else, insurance companies are drawing lessons from the pandemic and learning to adapt.

Insuring against a pandemic is hard but not impossible

Pandemics like the coronavirus outbreak are inherently different from other natural disasters. While catastrophes such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods hit a specific region, pandemics have no geographical bounds. The timeframe of pandemics of highly contagious diseases such as COVID-19 is virtually unpredictable.

All this makes it harder for insurers to assess and accurately model the risks.

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Even if you need to close due to health and safety concerns, there are many ways of retaining customers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing, while good for public health, is bad for small businesses. Foot traffic has dropped steeply since the coronavirus outbreak as more and more customers stay at home and self-quarantine. Many business owners are worried that the impact of COVID-19 will be deeper and more long-lasting than anticipated. As a result, merchants in every industry are looking for ways to keep their customers during the coronavirus lockdown. Here are some tips to keep your employees and customers engaged from a distance.

Communicate proactively with your customers

The situation is evolving rapidly, and no one is quite sure what news each day will bring. Customers can empathize with merchants facing a crisis, as long as you communicate with them properly. Let your customers know if you’re closing your doors, changing your hours, and what steps you’re taking to keep your employees and work environment safe and clean. If your store is closing, notify your customers on your social media channels, through email, and on your website. If your store is staying open, describe the steps you’re taking to mitigate risk. Beyond letting customers know the logistics of your approach, give them a way to stay connected. Customers spending more time at home will still need to shop for things. Direct consumers to your e-commerce store, take orders over social media, and be prepared for more people to view your website than in previous months.

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If you’re a business owner you need a plan to shield your business during the coronavirus pandemic. To keep your company healthy during the coronavirus pandemic and positioned well for success when it’s over, take advantage of these contingency and business planning tips.

Put health and safety first

If you’re a sole proprietor, prioritize your health first. Limit your travel and maximize home office communication and collaboration tools.

If you have employees, keep them informed of travel restrictions, government announcements, and offer them work from home options. If that’s not feasible and your business is considered essential, take steps to minimize virus transmission risk at your place of work. This includes social distancing, splitting shifts, and frequent sanitization.

It’s also wise to establish procedures for staff to report if they are feeling unwell, are absent, or if they suspect exposure to the coronavirus or infection.

Assess the impact on operations

What will happen to your business during this crisis? To help answer that question, run best-case and worst-case scenarios and develop contingency plans for each. Include timeframes in your assessment that consider the impacts of the pandemic if it becomes a six-month, one-year problem, or more (let’s hope that’s not the case).

For example, if critical personnel became sick or had to look after family members, how will your business accommodate these changes? Try to identify others who can step in and learn key tasks such as retirees, family members, or independent contractors and freelancers.

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COVID-19 hasn’t just shut down huge swaths of American businesses and sent many employees scrambling to work from home – it’s also driving the acceleration of technological adoption. As people adapt to new modes of life, start-ups and small businesses that enable us to work, study, shop, and interact virtually have skyrocketed to mainstream adoption. Driving these companies are key underlying technologies that have been growing in importance slowly for years and now have become essential; maybe the tech trends developing out of the COVID chaos are a silver-lining of sorts.

“Businesses that had not only developed digital strategies but executed on them prior to the pandemic are now in a position to leapfrog their less nimble competitors,” writes consultancy BDO in a report on how COVID is accelerating the rise of the digital economy. “That isn’t to understate the COVID-19-related challenges they now face, irrespective of their current level of digital maturity. Going digital in and of itself isn’t a panacea to all that ails businesses in the current economic environment. They do, however, have significantly more tools at their disposal to not only weather the storm, but to come out the other side stronger for it, ” stated BDO.

The fact that these companies, since day one, have focused on cloud connectivity, digital marketing and distribution to consumers, and virtual rather than in-person interactions, gives this group an advantage. Many have hired new employees since the pandemic began – that’s a direct result of many of them scaling faster to meet surging demand before the coronavirus pandemic. Some of these companies report demand for their core products has more than doubled since the coronavirus crisis unleashed itself across the world. Being digital-first put many companies in a position to quickly develop and introduce new products or services to meet the challenges of the pandemic.

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The COVID-19 pandemic can feel overwhelming due to new information, long hours working from home, and caring/worrying for your family and yourself. It’s important to pause for a moment and collect your thoughts, as worldwide pandemics are taxing emotionally, physically, and financially. Remaining calm can make a world of difference, and to do that we need to take care of ourselves. So let’s talk about some self care tips for the COVID pandemic.

It’s normal to feel stressed or overwhelmed during uncertain times. Emotions in response to uncertainty may include anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness. You also could feel helpless, discouraged, and occasionally, out of control. Physical responses may include headache, muscle tension, fatigue, and sleeplessness.

Taking care of yourself is important so you are equipped to help your family through this time.

Here are a few self care tips for the COVID pandemic: 

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Whether you’re a regular at the gym or you’re constantly staying active outside, you know that exercise can make you feel good and look great. But did you know that staying fit can lower your life insurance premiums, too? Check out six types of exercises that can lower your life insurance rates and improve your health at the same time.


Strength Training

Virtually any kind of physical activity can improve your health, as long as it works your muscles harder than usual, according to the American Heart Association. When it comes to keeping your muscles in top condition, however, exercises that focus on stretching and strength training are essential. After all, if you lose muscle strength and flexibility, not only will your overall health decrease, but you could also lose the ability to easily perform basic tasks like opening jars or getting out of the car.

Strength training works well in many forms. Try easing into a weightlifting routine to challenge your muscles, or use resistance bands several times a week to increase muscle strength. Going to a yoga class a couple of times a week can also help boost your strength and improve your overall health.

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The global (re)insurance market is undergoing a transformation from manually run processes to a technology-driven business model, enabling companies to tap into the full potential that data has to offer.

A surge in fast-paced innovation and the utilization of machine learning (ML) with cloud-technology has enabled automation, streamlined efficiency, and provided access to more comprehensive analytics fed by this data.

While more than two-thirds of individuals believe that the use of emerging technology trends could transform the insurance industry and increase performance in their organizations, a recent Deloitte Survey noted that less than 30% of organizations are actually deploying these tools — creating a missed opportunity for many (re)insurers.

The industry as a whole believes that these emerging technologies have the ability to unlock hidden value, especially from data, but the complexity and sophistication of these tools have made their use limited to a select few that have the adequate skills and resources.

Now, however, new advancements in ML and cloud technology are helping underwriters, actuaries and executives alike access and use the data, making it possible to achieve business growth and underwriting profitability.

These technologies provide companies with a competitive edge, but the question remains as to how long it will take for data processing automation to become the standard for property & casualty (P&C) insurers.

Looking to machine learning in the cloud

In 2018, net premiums recorded by the P&C industry totaled $618 billion, an increase from the 2017 net premium totals of $558.2 billion. The pressure to grow will continue but there will be even greater pressure to achieve underwriting profitability, especially in the current economic environment.

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