AMERIND: Tribes Protecting Tribes – More Important Now Than Ever Before

Todd Albright, National Practice Manager for Tribal accounts at Gallagher, a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois

These are, indeed, challenging times. As business leaders, you have witnessed the devastating toll of COVID-19 on our Tribes and Tribal communities. You understand the importance of knowing your insurance provider will stand by policyholders when impacts of the pandemic threaten their financial security.

“Tribes Protecting Tribes” is why AMERIND was founded by more than 430 Tribal Nations and – together – we will weather this storm.

 Protecting Our People, Responding to a Pandemic

The AMERIND team has assisted Tribes and Tribal governments as they put in place COVID-19 response efforts, including the following outreach initiatives:

  • In late March, AMERIND implemented a COVID Prevention Initiative, which provided financial reimbursement for member Housing Authorities and Tribally Designated Housing Entities to minimize the exposure and spread of COVID-19.
  • The Families First Corona Virus Response Act (FFCRA) and the CARES Act include many new regulations to assist the workforce. The AMERIND team is working diligently to understand the impact of these federal actions and to ensure client compliance.
  • With many members working from home, AMERIND’s Safety Services Team (SST) offered online cyber-security training. More than 200 people completed the first training, which continues as members return to the workplace.

Working to Close the Digital Divide

The pandemic has created even more dramatic examples of the necessity of high-speed internet in today’s increasingly high-tech world.

Without it, Tribal communities do not have access to telemedicine services used to bridge gaps in healthcare delivery during the pandemic nor do they have the internet access needed to bring education into our schools and – especially when remote learning is necessary – the homes of our children.

“AMERIND has been and will continue to be a leader in efforts to expand high-speed internet access throughout Indian Country,” said Irene Flannery, Director of AMERIND Critical Infrastructure. “The challenges faced prior to the pandemic have been magnified by its impact on our people.” 

Providing Assurance of Financial Stability

As a business leader in Indian Country, you carefully validate the financial strength of all organizations that want to do business with your Tribe.

When partnering with AMERIND, you have the added assurance of knowing you are working with a company that has earned the A- (Excellent) rating from the AM Best Company, a credit rating service to the insurance industry. The first Tribal company to seek an AM Best rating, this designation provides policyholders a measure of overall financial and operational strength as well as an indication of the ability to meet ongoing insurance policy and contract obligations.

Being rated by AM Best clears additional hurdles in the selection of an insurance carrier, according to Todd Albright, National Practice Manager for Tribal accounts at Gallagher, a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

“Some tribal loan covenants require carriers to have an ‘A’ rating by AM Best,” Albright said. “Not having one is a challenge, which requires an extensive validation process with financial institutions. While AMERIND has had success getting approval from many lenders, having an AM Best rating eliminates a significant administrative burden and provides comfort and confidence in the buyer’s decision-making process.”

“Since some Finance Officers or Tribal administrators have been reluctant to do business with an unrated carrier, AMERIND was sometimes overlooked to the detriment of both the Tribal organization and AMERIND. Having the rating expands a limited Tribal insurance marketplace and adds a strong contender to the roster of insurance markets competing for Tribal accounts. Competition is a good thing!”

“Another way AMERIND really stands out is that they have always been collaborative. Even before they were rated, they were transparent about their financials and reinsurance structure, and they have always been interested in improving their products. As a result, AMERIND had early success and maintains strong Gallagher client relationships dating back to 2005. For those clients, many of whom are owners of the company, this rating means a sense of accomplishment and pride.”

Looking Beyond the Pandemic

As you contemplate the future of our Tribal Nations – beyond the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – AMERIND wants you to know that we will continue on this path of financial strength and Tribal outreach. As always, every business decision we make will be guided by its potential impact on Indian Country.

The insurance industry can be a stabilizing force during times like this, and AMERIND will be there for our Tribes and their communities.

AMERIND: Insurance Products and Services for Indian County

The only 100 percent Tribally owned insurance provider, New Mexico-based AMERIND offers a comprehensive line of affordable insurance products, including:

  • Tribal Governments and Businesses: Providing property and liability solutions
  • Tribal Workers’ Compensation: Maintaining Tribal sovereignty
  • Tribal Auto Program: Covering commercial vehicles
  • Homeowners and Renters Program: Protecting private property
  • Indian Housing Block Grant Program: Providing affordable and sustainable insurance coverage

We also provide access to employee benefit solutions and strategic planning for broadband deployment  by Tribal governments and business enterprises throughout Indian Country.

In business since 1986, AMERIND solutions have saved Tribes millions of dollars – all while strengthening Native American communities and economies and elevating Tribal sovereignty.