Issue - July/August 2021


Taking Covid Head-On
at National Van Lines

National Van Lines, National Forwarding Company and National Claims Services were all ahead of the COVID-19 curve. Speaking specifically about National Claims Services, we already had a sizeable workforce working remotely, so the transition of sending everyone home twice throughout 2020 was easier than expected, in my opinion.

Companywide, however, the transition was quite an accomplishment since some departments are strictly in-house, and had never been tested outside our walls. Of course, there were challenges along the way—mainly departments that have in-house duties to accomplish, which includes National Claims Services.

We had a work-from-home blueprint to follow since we have a many Claims Adjusters who work outside of the office, but that blueprint didn’t apply equally to everyone. While some had children who were sent home from school, others were home alone—there was a world of a difference between the two scenarios. I wouldn’t say we had much of an issue with that group; our challenge was in how to accomplish the administrative assistant tasks, such as filing, mail, and check processing, just to mention the top struggles.

Fortunately, we collectively reached a plan of action to only be in the office and around each other once every two or three weeks, allowing for our people to essentially stay at home. Our building was empty for the most part; there were maybe ten people in the office consistently throughout the lockdown.

I will say that the pandemic forced us to take a deep look at our daily tasks and adapt, sometimes on the fly. Since we had never been tested this way before, much was left to trial and error. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated workforce—that was my number one realization. We were all in this crazy new life together and didn’t lose one employee throughout. Many companies were not that fortunate.

Tim Helenthal (NVL) and Michael Wilson (NFC) lead the charge in putting together plans for how to keep the company running, and we will be forever grateful for their efforts. While I’m thankful to work alongside such great leaders, I want to give a special shoutout to our administrative assistants who kept up with all of their behind-the-scenes responsibilities to keep us moving forward. National Claims Services did not experience much of a slowdown; our claims adjusters continued ‘business as usual’ from their homes, stopping in momentarily each week to pick up and drop off of items.

Given our in-house claims exposure through National Forwarding Company, we were fortunate to have enough claims-related tasks to assign, and National Claims Services stayed the course with a steady workload from our clients. While it was absolutely a tough year, there were many positive opportunities to capitalize on—especially the idea of how to work smarter rather than harder. We all had to figure out new ways of managing our workloads from the top down.