During the second week of September, LPL advisor Tim Evans watched the news intently as a Category 5 hurricane crept toward the southeast United States. Hurricane Florence was threatening his city, Wilmington, North Carolina. Just 1.5 miles from the beach in eastern North Carolina, Tim’s home and office were right in the path, as were most of his clients. Before evacuating, Tim took steps to arrange for the care and needs of his clients—alongside his LPL virtual admin, Courtney Adams.
“We had a plan,” says Tim, founder of Eastwood Wealth Management in Wilmington and an early adopter of LPL’s Virtual Admin program. “Operations continued uninterrupted—although remotely—from LPL headquarters.”
As the storm approached and Tim prepared to leave town, not knowing where he would wind up, he forwarded all calls to Courtney.
“While most of my clients were focusing on their safety, the peace of mind that I got from knowing we were doing everything possible to look after their interests and assets was priceless,” says Tim.
Although the storm dropped to a Category 1 hurricane before striking shore near Wilmington, it spent days churning along the coast, leaving flooding, wind damage, and devastation in its wake. Tim spent a week in a hotel near Richmond, Virginia. While he had mobile communication and was eventually able to access Wi-Fi, his time and ability to manage clients were limited as he awaited word from the coast. Then alongside tens of thousands of other evacuees navigating flooded and damaged highways, he drove seven hours back home to see what Mother Nature had dealt. Throughout it all, his virtual admin remained plugged in and available.
“We executed the ‘out of office’ protocol that we’d established,” says Tim. “Technology allowed us to stay in contact with one another. Courtney handled calls, and I returned calls when I could, hopping on the phone immediately after the storm.”
“One client couldn’t reach Tim, but got through to me,” says Courtney. “She was worried about having enough cash to get her through repairs and other expenses after the storm. I was able to help her access her money, giving her one less thing to worry about.”
“We had clients with significant damage—raised roofs, trees down and on homes, flooding, and one client was displaced from their condo because the building is being torn down due to mold,” says Tim. “Courtney and I never missed a beat as far as the practice is concerned.”
While Tim lost several trees in his yard, his home and office, fortunately, escaped major damage.