Close to home : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Here's an example of the possible effects of Y2K, leaving aside thoughts of power failures and other catastrophic occurrences. My wife works for an insurance agency which, of course, writes business on behalf of their clients with the large carriers. This agency this week received a letter from Kemper noting that a previous questionnaire about Y2K compliancy had not been answered. This second request "suggested" the company complete the 11-question survey and return it as quickly as possible. Questions included whether the agency is compliant and, if not, when it would be; whether contingency plans are in place. Fairly comprehensive. The agency ignored the first request from Kemper and probably will ignore this one, too. The next letter probably will be one telling the agency that Kemper will no longer do business with them. As other major companies are doing the same thing, it probably won't be long before the agency has to close its doors. Fifteen people out of a job, money removed from the economy, an increased strain on the unemployment services, and not a single computer at the agency failed. I imagine this scenario will play out tens of thousands of times across the country and around the world. Now we begin to see how completely the Y2K thread runs through the fabric of the global economy.

-- Vic (, January 27, 1999


Vic, The situation may not be nearly as bad as you think. Very few small businesses (mine included) have an IT staff. I am not competent to state that my business is compliant, therefore I will not do so, even though I use brand new computers with the very latest software, all of which claim to be compliant. It is my assumption that I cannot find a bona fide computer expert who is foolish enough to certify that my business is compliant, and if I could, I expect the cost of the audit would be prohibitive. I assume many small businesses are in my situation. Turning to your situation, if all of Kemper's agents refuse to certify compliance, what is Kemper going to do? Is Kemper seriously going to seek out other agencies? Is Kemper going to sever longstanding relationships because its agents are cautious about signing legal documents. If Kemper reestablishes relationships with other agents, is it going to investigate the merits of their compliancy claim or is it going to just take it on faith? How many agencies are going to make credible compliancy claims? I have a figure in mind. Good luck.

-- Puddintame (, January 27, 1999.


The absence of action at my wife's place is due to nothing more than ignorance. The two clowns who own the place can afford a new Suburban every year and a round of golf three or four times a week (and thinking about buying an airplane), but Y2K is "no big deal." Many of Kemper's agencies will, indeed, be compliant. A look at the websites of two agencies where my wife formerly worked--one in Dallas, the other in El Paso--showed both aware of and working on the problem. My point, I guess, aims a bit at the notion that the perception is as important as the anticipated fact, and just as deadly.

-- Vic (, January 27, 1999.

Vic, I would have to agree with you that the owners are foolish to ignore the situation. You describe a very profitable business. It should find out if its regular attorneys have anyone concentrating in y2k issues. If not, it needs to research what attorneys in the area are y2k competent. Then it needs to seek legal guidance in determining how to deal with that form. (It goes without saying that the agency needs to do everything it can to become compliant immediately if it hasn't already done so.) Normally a small business can't become as healthy as you describe by making bad decisions. Even if the owners are primarily sales guys, there's got to be some organizational brains somewhere. An office manager? Good luck.

-- Puddintame (, January 27, 1999.

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