8. Rethinking industry engagement 

                     Industry engagement affects your marketing efforts, sales and client relations, customer service operations and governmental affairs. One critical area to take advantage of is educational conferences. They bring incredible value to stakeholders, but keep in mind attendees want to see new sessions and topics presented without presenters selling their services. Additionally, using social media to not only promote your brand recognition and thought leadership, but as a platform for real-time engagement with consumers only advances your customer service model. The easiest way to engage the industry and ensure relevancy is getting involved with organizations like the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), Public Agency Risk Management Association (PARMA), the Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA), the American Society for Health Care Risk Management (ASHRM), Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) and the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA). (Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock) Independent agencies must be innovative, flexible and well prepared to serve customers during a crisis. (Photo: fizkes/Shutterstock)

This year has made me think about all the business continuity planning my agency has done in years past. Preparedness includes not only creating the plan but also testing the plan.

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