As the coronavirus pandemic’s impact in the U.S. became more severe in the spring, organizations such as Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation realized their services were going to be more in-demand than ever.



a little girl looking at the camera: Extra Special People, a nonprofit that serves families with people with disabilities, needed to figure out how to safely host its annual summer camp that provides care to 300 people and their families during the pandemic.


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Extra Special People, a nonprofit that serves families with people with disabilities, needed to figure out how to safely host its annual summer camp that provides care to 300 people and their families during the pandemic.

The nonprofit, which provides free legal services and social support to people experiencing intimate partner abuse as well as landlord-tenant issues, needed to recruit more attorneys to keep up with an increasingly dire caseload.

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Faced with the risks of the virus itself, people experiencing domestic violence were left with little option but to stay in close contact with their abusers at home, says AVLF communications manager Ashleigh Starnes. Additionally, “The housing crisis in Atlanta was bad before the pandemic, and Covid-19 has exacerbated that. There are thousands of evictions lined up waiting to be heard when courts reopen and the eviction moratorium is lifted.” In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention banned most evictions for the remainder of 2020.

The organization was concerned how to use its limited resources to recruit new volunteers when their usual outreach efforts usually yielded just 10 new people per month to its database of over 1,000 private attorneys.

But in July, one AVLF board member introduced the organization to a new campaign called BrandAid being launched by local PR and marketing firm Jackson Spalding. The agency, which had experienced a drop in client work while businesses paused their ad spending due to the pandemic, wanted to use their newfound time to provide pro bono marketing help to local nonprofits instead.

One of those beneficiaries was AVLF. BrandAid marketers

ICM Partners continued its European expansion with the purchase of London-based sports agency Stellar Group, the biggest acquisition in the 45-year history of the Hollywood talent agency.

Stellar, which ranked fourth last year in Forbes’ annual look at the world’s most powerful sports agencies, represents more than 800 athletes—mostly in soccer but also in track & field, cricket, rugby and the NFL—and manages current contracts totaling almost $3 billion, according to ICM.

“The world is becoming so interconnected and horizontal. The walls are all down with everything. It’s about evaluating talent and what kind of impact you can have with that talent,” says ICM CEO Chris Silbermann, who declined to disclose the price of the Stellar deal. “We feel we can apply a lot of the expertise we employ with celebrities and talent to athletes now as well. There is a natural fit.”

ICM is the smallest of the big four entertainment agencies, which also include WME, UTA and CAA. The Stellar deal heightens the competition with CAA, which launched its industry-leading sports practice 15 years ago. ICM represents stars Ellen DeGeneres, Beyoncé, Samuel L Jackson, J Cole and Khalid, as well as content creators Spike Lee, Shonda Rhimes and Vince Gilligan. With Stellar, it adds global soccer icon Gareth Bale and rising stars Saúl Ñíguez and Mason Mount to the mix.

Silbermann says they will be the foundation of a “multi-faceted” sports business that will be branded ICM Stellar Sports and will eventually include basketball, golf and tennis in the U.S., sports that are currently dominated by


DANBURY — In recognition of National Fire Safety Month, the city’s fire department and a local insurance agency will hold a drive-thru fire safety event this Thursday.

The event will take place outside State Farm Insurance agent Maria Ordonez’s office at 9 Padanaram Road from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

People of all ages are welcome to drive through the parking lot to receive important fire safety material, information, activities and “goodies” distributed right to their vehicles by members of the Danbury Fire Marshal’s Office and the Ordonez State Farm Insurance Team.


The event will be touchless and follow appropriate CDC guidelines and protocols, according to the fire department. All attendees must wear masks.


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Alok Sharma, business secretary, launched the scheme to help out ailing businesses. Photo: Leon Neal/Pool via Reuters
Alok Sharma, business secretary, launched the scheme to help out ailing businesses. Photo: Leon Neal/Pool via Reuters

The UK’s National Crime Agency has joined other institutions in warning on the risk of emergency taxpayer-backed loans for small business being targeted by criminals.

The agency said there was intelligence that the Bounce Back loan scheme was being exploited by organised crime, according to a report in The Times on Saturday.

This follows warnings from the sate bank in charge of two COVID-19 support programmes that the schemes risked widespread fraud and poor value for money.

Keith Morgan, chief executive of the British Business Bank, twice wrote to business minister Alok Sharma in May raising concerns about the Bounce Back loan scheme and the Future Fund.

Billions has been leant and invested through both programmes. Bounce Back loans provide a 100% state guarantee to lenders offering low-interest loans. The support is capped at £50,000 ($65,000) per small business.

In a letter published on Wednesday, Morgan said the Bounce Back loan scheme was at risk of “very significant fraud.”

An investigation by the Mail on Sunday in August has also found fraudsters and criminals appear to be targeting the programme.

READ MORE: UK warned of ‘very high’ risk of Bounce Back loan fraud

On top of other agencies’ concern, in recent months, the National Audit Office and parliament’s Public Accounts Committee have both launched investigations into the value for money and fraud risk of the Bounce Back loan scheme.

Part of the problem is that in order to transfer the money to businesses at speed, banks have bypassed many of their credit policies. Applicants also self-certify eligibility.

The NCA told The Times it was working with banks and other agencies to clamp down on the scheme.

About £38bn has so far been lent

“In today’s digital age, agents and insurers are looking to digital technology to enable greater collaboration, increase efficiencies, and create more value for the distribution channel,” said Brian Wood, vice president of Data Products Group, IVANS Insurance Solutions. “IVANS Markets aligns our agency members with current and new markets, enabling them to increase the value of their books of business through expanding market opportunities with both appointed and prospective insurers.”

The IVANS logos are trademarks of Applied Systems, Inc., registered in the U.S.

IVANS, a division of Applied Systems, is the insurance industry’s exchange connecting insurers, MGAs, agencies, and the insured. IVANS cloud-based software automates the distribution and servicing of insurance products. For more than 35 years, IVANS innovation and expertise has connected 32,000 independent insurance agencies and 400 insurer and MGA partners to enable millions of people to safeguard and protect what matters most in people’s lives.

Founded in 1979, The ISU Insurance Agency Network is committed to helping select Independent Agents retain their independence and remain in business for themselves but not by themselves. ISU’s 230 independently owned and operated Agencies employ more than 3500 professionals who produce over $6 billion in premiums representing more than 300 insurance companies nationwide.  The exceptionally high quality of ISU Member Agencies and our commitment to excellence in all we do has earned the ISU brand the reputation as the Better Source of Better Business® throughout the insurance industry. ISU Members and their clients benefit from ISU’s Unique Competitive Advantage® – the strengths and resources of a national organization combined with local ownership and independence.

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