Bielat Santore & Company gets perspective from representatives from Global Indemnity Insurance Agency on how insurance companies are working with restaurants and small businesses
ALLENHURST, NJ: The spring season has felt very different than recent years since the government mandated lockdown began just over two months ago. Celebrations for proms, graduations, weddings and birthday parties have been postponed while large in-person gatherings are prohibited. Easter and Mother’s Day came and went as families gathered via Zoom calls and Facetimes instead of traditional brunches and get togethers. Beaches and boardwalks are limiting guests making Memorial Day Weekend a potential ghost town for waterfront communities compared to previous years. With such restrictions in place, restaurants and small businesses fear that they may not survive through the summer. Bielat Santore & Company interviews career insurance specialist, Tim Wagner and top-rated salesman, Lou Valenti (LCV 24/7/365) from Global Indemnity Insurance Agency, Metuchen, NJ to discuss how business are dealing with the effects of the global pandemic.
With nearly 40 years in the insurance industry under their belts, Wagner and Valenti have accumulated a long list of trusted clientele. Upon opening a full-service agency in 1988, the business focused primarily as a construction-oriented agency before blossoming to other specialties such as restaurant and retail insurance, manufacturing insurance, home and auto insurance among others. The agency represents well-known carriers including Hartford Mutual Insurance, Travelers Insurance, and Penn National Insurance.
Working around the clock since the state-wide shutdown began, the partners have been doing everything they can to assist all their clients. “Most of the carriers are giving some leeway – 90 days – to make their payments,” said Wagner. Unfortunately, after the 90 days, customers are expected to pay those three months in full. “It’s a reprieve but I don’t know if the restaurants are able to generate enough during those three months with take-out and pick-up to sustain.” The duo does insist, however, that insurance companies are being as accommodating as possible due to the circumstances. “They don’t want to lose the client, they understand the situation,” said Valenti. I have not had one client call me back after they’ve called their insurance company to work payment terms that said, ‘they wouldn’t work with me.”
As a phased reopening is being rolled out by Governor Phil Murphy throughout the state, it will be some time before restaurants can welcome 100% of their customers back into their dining rooms. Without help from landlords and insurance companies, many restaurateurs are uncertain they will be able to reopen. “It’s just like the PPP (Payment Protection Program); give them a small amount – not that it’s even going to get them back on their feet. I don’t see it happening though,” said Wagner. “The restaurant industry is the largest employer next to the Federal Government in the country. How much can we give out as a nation? I don’t have an answer to that.”
While no one can predict what the future will hold post Covid-19, it is no doubt that businesses will be affected greatly. Regarding post-covid business interruption insurance Wagner adds, “I’m sure that they’ll have some sort of coverage,” but the clients are going to pay dearly.”. Ultimately your heart goes out to them,” added Valenti. “Because they’re not only clients but you develop that friendship and relationship with them, and Tim and I have developed that with a lot of our clients. You hope they hang in there.”
To view the full video interview, visit Bielat Santore & Company’s website at www.123bsc.com, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/123BSC/, and Vimeo page https://vimeo.com/bielatsantore and stay tuned for the next “Thursday Restaurant Rap” interview.