The number of unemployed Americans is at a record high right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An estimated 3.3 million people filed for unemployment just in the last couple of weeks, and that number is still climbing. That blows the previous record of 695,000 unemployed Americans from 1982 out of the water.  The 2009 recession didn’t even break the record number, but this pandemic is of no comparison to any event we’ve seen in America to date.

Life, as we know it, has taken a dramatic twist.  Remember when it wasn’t uncommon to just run to the grocery store and pick up a gallon of milk and some toilet paper on the way home from work.  When meeting with work, friends for lunch was no big deal. The luxuries of life were everywhere. The things we may have taken for granted like movies, sporting events, bowling, spas and much more have been temporarily halted or changed while we get a grip on the spread of the virus.

It doesn’t matter which side you are on Business Owner or Employee

We are talking about finances and how no matter which side you connect with, you might require help.  Now is our time to all come together and support each other the best we can.

Is this sign at your favorite business?

How can you and I help?:

Local Business owners in our communities, ones you might call by name, are getting hit pretty hard right now. In the past, we went there for entertainment or to eat one of our favorite meals. We were counting on them being there, and now there are counting on us being there. As each day passes and we settle into a new and different routine think about these ways to help business and our economy:

  1. Order Takeout – Well, we can’t go dine in right now, so an alternative solution is ordering take out from your favorite local restaurant.  Just because you can’t sit at your favorite table with your favorite waiter/waitress doesn’t mean you can’t still support your local business.  Order take out until restaurants open back up.
  2. Buy Gift Cards – Many small businesses offer gift cards just like the big box companies do.  If you were planning on getting something now or soon, get a gift card to help that business.  Once things start to return to normal, then you can go browse and pick up what you wanted to get.
  3. Online – Shop online!  Small businesses are trying to find ways to change to survive, offering curbside deliveries for products or online shopping interfaces.  Take advantage of what’s available online.  
  4. Stay Home – Obviously, this is key right now.  The Governor has even put into play a “Stay at Home Order.”  If you don’t have to go out, then don’t, especially if you are feeling sick.  The last thing we need is for a customer who isn’t feeling well to get employees sick and keeping spreading the virus (or any sickness) instead of ending this.
  5. Be Patient & Remember Your Manners – Everyone can do this one even if you’re on a tight budget. It’s inevitable; by the time you do make it to the grocery store, they will be out of something you needed, or lines will be long.  We are all in this together; there is no need to be rude. Be patient and take a breathe then get creative about another solution. While you are out, don’t forget to thank those who are working.  They are making it to work each day to keep grocery stores, gas stations, doctor’s offices, and so much more open while so many of us are working from home. Spread kindness in a time of uncertainty as opposed to spreading germs.

If you are a small business owner, check out this resource to try and get more funding available.

Changes in Personal Income:

All of us at the Dean Ballenger Agency are local, and living through this with you. Not only are we trying to support our fellow small businesses and business clients, but we want to make sure each client is fully aware of the help available to you if you are facing financial hardship. 

We pride ourselves on being a resource not only for you, our client, but our community as well. We understand that it might be hard to reach out when facing financial distress. 

Below is a list of the companies we partner with and their direct billing numbers. We have been in communication with all of them, and they are more than willing to work with you in the event your payment becomes a hardship.

Billing Department Phone Numbers

Donegal 800-877-0600

Erie 800-458-0811

Encompass 800-262-9262

State Auto 800-288-4425

SafeCo 888-723-3260

Universal 800-425-9113

Progressive 855-347-3939

Max 877-971-6300

American Modern 800-543-2644

The Coronavirus has caused a multitude of issues for business life and personal life, which may affect many of you. Today we pray for those who lost their jobs and praise God for the blessings afforded to my staff and me to work remotely to serve our clients in these strange times.