[HJCC COVID-19 Conversation: Members Moving Forward] Tyler Tokioka (Chair of the Board, Island Insurance Co., Ltd.)

Jill Kuramoto

About the Author
Jill Kuramoto is the Chief Communications Officer & Client Development Director of RKT Media. She has been a member of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce since 2014.

Tyler Tokioka
Chair of the Board, Island Insurance Co., Ltd.
[HJCC Past Chair, HJCC Member since 1998]

How has your company adapted during this time?

We have coordinated teleworking capabilities for 153 out of our 155 employees, with approximately 85% of our employees currently working from home. The remainder continue to work from our office to better fulfill the needs of our insureds, our agents and our community. In an effort to protect the health and safety of our employees working in the office, we have limited access to our building to employees only, conducted regular cleanings of high touch areas and required face to face meetings to be conducted via zoom or Microsoft teams.

Additionally, to support our teams that are teleworking, we send out weekly communications appraising them of new developments and updating them on plans to return to work as they are developed. We have also sent care packages on occasion to help lift their spirits and to show how important they are to our operations.

What has your company done to pivot and do you think this will continue into the future?

With the majority of our staff teleworking, we adjusted our work processes to leverage available technology such that our customers continue to receive the level of service they have come to expect. 

Currently, we are in the process of preparing our offices for when we are able to welcome back our employees to a safe and secure office. Preparations include installing temperature check stations at the entrance to the building, setting up separate meeting spaces for interactions with the public and providing sanitizing supplies for employee use.

As we believe that some of the changes will likely continue into the foreseeable future, management is looking to adjust our prior processes with the idea that not all employees will return to the office and will instead continue to telework.

With more people working from home and staying home, how has that impacted your industry?  Has liability shifted with more people at home?

The impact to the insurance industry has not been too significant as we as an industry have contingency plans already developed and in place to deal with natural catastrophes, and thus were positioned well when the orders to work from home and stay home were issued. That being said, there has been a liability shift that we are only now getting a true sense of, relating to hazards at home for those working from home that have the potential to expose one’s commercial liability policy or workers comp policy.  Specifically, the workers comp exposure has had the most dramatic shift as the company’s daily oversight and ability to effectively manage employees’ safety have been dramatically reduced.

What advice do you have for other businesses?

Be flexible and tolerant. The situation remains fluid and no one solution applies to all.  As such, we must be able to adapt and pivot as needed. In addition, we must be understanding of the strains that this places on employees as they adjust to the benefits and costs of working at home. The adjustments deal not only with work processes but also in the personal interactions that have now become limited as people connect virtually from their home environments. Face to face interactions have become more difficult and non-verbal communications are eliminated, putting increased importance on how we communicate given the options available to us.

What is giving you hope right now?

What gives me hope is the resilience that our community and our staff have shown during these very difficult and changing times. They have adapted well, for the most part, and have on their own developed support networks to aid their fellow co-workers through various issues and concerns that have confronted them. Likewise, the coming together of the community to help those in need and Hawaii’s widespread outpouring of support warms my heart. I know that with the Spirit of Aloha we will get through this and the lessons learned will help to make our community our home a better place.


About Island Insurance
[ HJCC member since 1998]

Island Insurance has been serving families and businesses across Hawaii for nearly 80 years. Guided by its founding philosophy of providing affordable insurance options for the people of Hawaii, Island Insurance has grown into Hawaii's largest locally owned and managed property and casualty insurance company and has achieved recognition as one of the Top 50 property and casualty insurance companies in the nation for 13 consecutive years.

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