Pandemic sees big changes for insurance industry

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CODY, Wyo. (WyomingNewsNow) - When the pandemic hit this spring, one of the first effects was the halt of traffic on the roads - and fewer people driving meant a slowdown for the insurance industry.

Jen Talich is the State Farm agent in Cody. She said her office was surprised by the suddenness of the shutdown.

“My peers that are insurance agents and people around the country start saying, like, ‘Are you closing your office? Are you shutting down? Everyone’s going remote," she explained. "I mean, I didn’t see that coming.”

In Torrington, Lisa Richardson’s agency covers auto, home, life, and health insurance. She said their office started fielding phone calls shortly after the effects of the pandemic hit Wyoming.

“I just had a few phone calls, with people asking, ‘I’m not driving as much, you know, what are they going to do?’" Richardson reported. "And I said they are right now issuing rebates, you don’t have to do anything.”

Both Talich and Richardson reported that the insurance companies - and their own offices - stepped up to assist their policy holders.
“People were not driving as much," Richardson said, "and so those insurance companies all stepped up right away and gave rebates, fifteen to twenty percent, for the months of April and May.”

“We did end up running for some prescriptions," Talich added. "We stopped at the grocery store to deliver things for some people who really felt like they needed help."

And according to Wendy Curran with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming, things are starting to return to normal.

“We have seen a decrease in claims for things that weren’t really essential," she notes, "and we’re seeing that people are now able to get back in and see their doctor safely and have some of those procedures done.”