Coronavirus Update for Agents - Western Asset Protection
Illustration of a coronavirus with a scull superimposed

Coronavirus Update for Agents

Your insurance clients may have a lot of questions about the coronavirus that’s spreading around the world. You probably have a lot of questions yourself.

First, we understand that people may need to stay home because of a possible exposure to coronavirus or to take care of loved ones. Western Asset Protection has a remote service plan in place to ensure that there will be no business interruption regardless of how things develop.

Understanding Coronavirus

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, emerged in China and quickly spread to countries around the world.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 can spread from person-to-person and through contact with infected surfaces. Common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and these symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Some people may be contagious without showing symptoms.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. If you think you may have COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider, especially if you have traveled to an area with widespread infection or live in an area experiencing community spread.

Stopping the Spread of Coronavirus  

If you have COVID-19, you should stay home and avoid contact with others. Call your healthcare provider before going in for an appointment. The CDC recommends that people who are sick wear a facemask when around other people, such as when going to see the doctor.

To avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19, practice good hygiene.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol is also effective.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces, such doorknobs and phones, regularly.

As an insurance agent, this is a good time to check in on your clients remotely. Elderly individuals are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, so you want to avoid accidentally spreading the virus from client to client. Consider conducting client meetings by phone or video conference.

Watch out for Scams

It’s a sad fact that many con artists like to target seniors, and major events tend to spawn new schemes. The coronavirus outbreak will likely do the same. In fact, some of these scams are already being seen.

Possible scams could include offers for fake vaccines, cures and tests. The FTC is reminding people that there’s no vaccine, and charities should be researched before donations are made. Watch out for fraudulent messages that appear to come from the CDC or another respected source.

Additionally, the FTC recommends the following:

  • Ignore online offers for home tests or vaccinations.
  • If you get a robocall, hang up.
  • Watch out for online sellers offering high-demand cleaning, health and medical supplies that they might not actually have.
  • Don’t click on links from unknown sources.
  • Fact-check information carefully.

Beware: Scammers often claim to be from legitimate agencies, such as the CDC or the IRS. You can go to the webpage for the Government Response to Coronavirus for reliable information.

If your clients have any questions about testing and treatment for COVID-19, they should contact their regular healthcare provider for assistance.

Scammers may also take advantage of confusion over the coronavirus relief checks to trick people out of their information. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced that Social Security beneficiaries who do not need to file taxes will receive their economic payments automatically – no action is needed. Ignore messages anyone requesting information in order to process the payments; these messages are from scammers. The IRS has set up a Coronavirus Tax Relief webpage with the latest information.