A world map, with the countries looking like the countries' flags (Credit: Transparent 6lue/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)

You are a successful advisor or insurance professional. You attend conferences. You qualify for MDRT. Over the years you’ve made connections across the country and around the world. This gives you an unprecedented opportunity to learn about day-to-day life during the pandemic in their corner of the world. Not news headlines. First-person accounts. This provides great material for client conversations in your local market.

(Related: 8 Ways to Build Relationships While Social Distancing)

My wife and I love to travel. We cruise. We fly. We meet people, exchange contact information and keep in touch. Here are some highlights from recent emails:

1. England. Those over 70 with particular health conditions have been advised to stay home for three months! No exercise. No shopping. A friend with a relative in a coastal city reports receiving weekly food parcels delivered free of charge. It’s an incentive to keep you indoors.

2. Dubai. A hotel friend still goes to work occasionally, yet his wife and children are at home. His wife runs “school” for the children. The children are required to wear their school uniforms while they are being taught and address their mother as “Miss (first name).” This keeps up the structure of “we are going to school now.”

3. Holland. A Scottish friend works on a drilling rig in the “Dutch sector” in the North Sea. He’s on the rig for three weeks, off for three, and back on again. The company advises he stay in Holland for the middle three weeks because he might not be able to get back to Holland if he returns home and the borders close.

4. Scotland. Friends retired and bought a village shop and post office a few years ago. Does that sound like a brilliant strategy today!!! They are obviously an essential village service.

5. China. Life is returning to normal. Once people were able to move around the country after restrictions were lifted, people returning to the big cities from the countryside were required to quarantine themselves in their apartments for 14 days upon arrival. You bring a two-week food supply in with you or order home delivery. If you flew in from overseas, there are quarantine hotels where you spend your 14 days until you are cleared to circulate among the general population.

6. Slovenia. They had problems when some people thought a 14-day stay-in-place order meant it was a holiday, an ideal time to head to the beach or mountains. That likely spread the infection.

7. Canada. Furlough takes on a different meaning when you work on a cruise ship and the lines have suspended operation, keeping empty ships at their home ports. With Air Canada talking about suspending service, no one is going anywhere.

8. United States. Over to us. My wife sewed face masks. Other friends sewed too, giving us extras. A British friend remarked it’s the only time you are allowed to walk into a bank wearing a mask. We are staying home for the foreseeable future. We think milk in an unopened container can last for three weeks. Gardening has replaced going to the gym. We have discovered virtual cocktails.

Reach out to your friends, especially those at a distance. It will add perspective to the pandemic experience. Hopefully it will be behind us soon.

— Read What Can Insurance Agents Do During Stock Market Declines?on ThinkAdvisor.


Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.