By: Catalina Uriarte
The 70-mph highway merged from three to two lanes, forcing morning rush hour traffic to a dead stop. Some of the approaching automobiles didn’t see the slowdown in time and slammed on their brakes too late. In my rearview mirror, I could see a black jeep desperately attempting to brake to a stop. In slow motion, my body tensed, bracing for impact. I helplessly gripped the steering wheel. CRASH! My vehicle was hit, the first in a four-car pileup on the left lane of the highway.
The second vehicle in the pileup — the black jeep that hit me — took off, leaving behind only his headlight glass. The third driver, an elementary school teacher, cried. This was her second car accident this month. The fourth driver, driving in what was clearly a work truck of some kind, maybe a landscaper or handyman, was enraged, shouting, “Oh, just great!! How am I going to afford this?!” The first driver, me, a recent college graduate on the way to my new job, surveyed the scene. My little car had miraculously sustained only a dent. With permission from the officer at the scene, I kept driving.
In many ways, 2020 feels like a catastrophic vehicle pileup on our economic highway. If companies are vehicles, this year has seen many of them with major dents and dings — or even totaled. But not State National! My company has continued to readjust and move forward. Key differentiators empower SNC to keep driving, even during tough times and unforeseen circumstances. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this unique company, whose sincere expressions of gratitude, desire to always provide superior service, and inclination to help others are just a few of the characteristics that make us different.
During Tough Times SNC Expresses Gratitude
The upcoming holidays are a traditional time to focus on gratitude, but it’s important to give thanks beyond Thanksgiving and find reasons to celebrate in every season. Following the initial work-from-home order (in April) SNC employees shifted their focus, looking for the positive side to their new office environment. To help encourage this healthy perspective, State National’s marketing team created a social media feature we called “A Good Minute,” with questions prompting employees to shift their focus onto the positive.
- What am I thankful for today?
- What am I inspired by today?
- What happened today that gave me hope/excitement for the future?
- What am I doing today to get some fresh air?
- What am I doing to stay mentally flexible?
- What am I doing today to stay physically active?
- What will I do today to show people that I care?
- What surprising joys have I discovered from spending more time at home?
Many employee responses were shared on State National’s LinkedIn page, and we heard from employees, clients, and other connections that reading the responses helped remind them to refocus and express gratitude for the things that were going right (helping others, unexpected benefits of being at home, community spirit, more time with family, etc.) during the anxious early days of the pandemic.
During Tough Times SNC Provides Superior Service
State National’s influence expands beyond gratitude. How do we keep our company vehicle moving in all circumstances? Each department in our company works in harmony to be sure that providing the best service to our clients is always the highest priority. This has meant coming up with new solutions for providing the same high-quality programs in different ways — and by working together we have accomplished that and more. The proof? Over 93% of our employees moved to a remote work environment in March yet SNC has continued to exceed ALL of our service level agreements with our clients.
Every single State National department has approached changing circumstances with an innovative attitude. IT worked tirelessly to transition employees to a work-from-home environment. Our sales and service teams continue to interact with clients and prospects through Webex, phone, and email. In every department, our company is finding new ways to increase efficiency to the same level or greater than it was before the events of 2020.
Pam Medellin, Supervisor of Account Services, summed it up succinctly: “We have certainly found that anything is possible when we have the same goals and find we can depend on each other!”
During Tough Times SNC Cares
What has impressed me most profoundly as an employee of State National is witnessing the many ways the company and our employees have gone above and beyond in 2020 to help others. In employee donations alone, SNC raised over $10,000 in May for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Our parent company Markel contributed their company match to our employee donations and together we were able to provide over 190,000 meals for those in need.
The company also went out of its way to help employees trying to adjust to the pandemic. In April, following the stay-at-home orders, they gifted employees with children at home a 3-month subscription to Cratejoy, providing youngsters with a creative and educational at-home craft to keep little hands busy and engaged while caregivers worked. Also, knowing that so many families were disappointed to find ceremonies canceled because of COVID-19, State National sent thoughtful graduation care packages for employees with family members celebrating high school and college graduations.
I am thankful to work for a company with strong values and deep roots. State National employees stand together during tough times in strength and unity. While other companies may verbalize similar values, State National has shown its reliability and consistency through action. The same qualities that make State National different also keep the company driving smoothly during tough times.
Catalina Uriarte is a part of State National’s marketing department. With her tagline “Creative innovation designed to inspire action,” Catalina describes herself as a curious creative who looks forward to taking on new challenges. She earned her B.A. in Public Relations from the University of North Texas and she plays an essential role in planning and executing SNC’s corporate client events.