The future impact of COVID-19

Posted by: Gary Henriott, CPCU on Tuesday, March 17th 2020

My Mom and Dad both lived through the Great Depression. Obviously, I know this because of the year they were born but also in other less direct ways. They were deeply impacted by the trauma of that time and it impacted the rest of their lives in ways they probably didn’t even realize. One of the ways was my Dad’s aversion to debt. In the course of his life he took out a mortgage loan to build their house, but he paid that mortgage off years before the loan expired. He simply was uneasy about owing money to anyone. Another Depression legacy was my Mom’s utilization of every part of the chicken - nothing was left unused. I think the “hangover” from the Depression left a lasting impact upon us all even 80 or 90 years later because it had an impact upon me and I have an impact upon my kids and grand kids.

I noticed that after the Great Recession in 2008 through 2010 or 2011, business decision making changed. I worked with many businesses and industries and there was a great reluctance to make capital investments even well after the recovery. I still think today, the business community, most who have leaders that lived through that time-frame in their careers, is still affected by the “hangover” effect from that time. That was a traumatic experience for us, and we are shaped by those experiences.

So, COVID-19 - what will be the “hangover” effect of this crisis? I am guessing that this event, with worldwide impact, will shape our behavior in ways that we can’t imagine. But one thing I am sure of is that things will never be the same. Think about the impact upon our health care system, colleges and universities, bars and restaurants, government investment and regulation, travel, and the list goes on and on.

Anyone up for a cruise in the coming months? How about the coming years? What do you think this “hangover” will bring?