Insurance is an important business sector at the best of times.
Health insurance has now become a significant part of a company’s benefit package at a time when skilled employees are making comparisons and choices in a tight labor market.
The Guam Bureau of Statistic and Plans issued the fourth quarter 2021 Cost of Living index in February. That survey shows that prices within the healthcare sector rose 9.2% over the previous year and prescription drugs rose 13.1% compared to a year ago as inflation took hold.
Telemedicine may offer beneficial diagnostic services, but at some point, all of us need to deal with face-to-face, hands-on care — whether that is for a wellness check or an ailment.
In the past two years a rising interest in wellness has had to share the limelight with COVID, particularly as the highly infectious Omicron raised our danger-level last year, and our clinics had to shift focus to help with the community need for COVID testing.
Last year in our coverage of the insurance industry, Guam Business Magazine also focused on the potential resurrection of captive insurance on Guam. This year the magazine took an intensive look at the industry overall and reached out to key players, to include their opinions on a variety of factors. Their answers are in response to issues confronting our readers as they do business in challenging times.
“Ads that Aced” looks at marketing messages in the pages of Guam Business Magazine and its sister publication, the Marianas Business Journal in 2021, and interviews the people that create them. The idea for the feature began a few years ago when we realized that not only do the publications carry a huge variety of effective and attractive ads, but that they deserve recognition.
You can also read in this issue another story in our popular “Talking Shop” continuing series, which features news from the retail frontlines.
Retail suffered during and from the pandemic — initially when only “essential” businesses were open — which drove revenue to increased online ordering, and from the accompanying loss of tourism visitors, and then from a cautious attitude to expenditure and COVID exposure locally by our residents when retail outlets were allowed to reopen.
In the fall of 2019, according to our files, we had 630 retailers in Guam of various sizes. At that time, the retail workforce offered gainful employment to 1,710 retail salespersons and 460 first-line supervisors.
The salary range for a salesperson in Guam in fall 2019 was up to $20.05 per hour, with store managers on the island earning up to $119,000 per year.
And as with any small and close-knit community, shopping is inevitably a social activity in the islands — we know the people that serve us, the store managers and our fellow shoppers — and their families. It’s part of the charm of a small community.
Despite the challenges, retail businesses continue to open. The focus in this issue on the story of a small business that is providing opportunities for even smaller businesses, as well as creative individuals through its business model, and deserves telling.