They say Las Vegas is the city of second chances - however slim they might be. Rebecca Purdy can back that up.
It wasn't that long ago that she found herself unemployed; the airline she worked for shut down. Like most of us, she stumbled into the insurance business.
Benefits Selling: So you were hired not only as a broker but to promote your business in the community?
Rebecca Purdy: Yeah. I'm getting some recognition within the community as well as developing some strategies internally to streamline processes and make us a little bit more efficient [as an agency].
BS: OK, so how's business?
RP: Well, because Las Vegas is one of the harder-hit economies in the United States -- highest foreclosure rates, highest job losses and unemployment rates -- it's made things pretty tough. And the group market definitely had a lot of larger companies downsize.
BS: So what has your agency done to address this change in the market? Have you adopted a new strategy or rolled out new products or portfolio options? What has been your strategy that has enabled you to counteract and survive?
RP: We've been a little more strategic. Health care reform is making that a little bit difficult but gone are the days that we're selling the $500 deductible plans with the wonderful doctor visit co-pays. I mean that is just out -- it's unaffordable now. So we've definitely seen employers go to the higher deductibles.
Companies have gotten more creative as far as adding in things -- such as a deductible on an HMO plan, for example, which is kind of interesting. Just to help offset some of the costs to keep the premiums down. So it's a matter of offering different products and trying to be up front and honest with our employer groups as far as what we see coming so they can adequately prepare when they are making their benefit selections.
BS: So what is your strategy for trolling for new business?
RP: Distinctive Insurance is managed by a very young group of people. And I would say right now we run up against brokers who've been in town for 30 to 40 years. And businesses are starting to look elsewhere. So we're getting traction there, little by little, winning cases over brokerages that have been around forever just because we're more flexible. We're more strategic I think sometimes in the way that we put things together. We use a lot of supplemental products.
We're very HSA-driven. We like a lot of the high-deductible consumer products and our agency really tries to educate our clients on how to use them versus just throwing it at them as a premium savings solution without any customer service on the backside to help them run it, implement it and teach the employees how to use it. So we're really education-driven. The team I work with is just outstanding in the level of customer service they offer.
BS: So what would you say to brokers who are feeling frustrated or stuck in a holding pattern? How do you get them motivated again?
RP: This too shall pass. I truly believe if you're consistent, dedicated and you do the right thing day in and day out and look for opportunities, there is huge growth potential. If you can be flexible and grab those opportunities as they come up then I think you'll survive.
But there's going to be a lot of patience and a lot of faith involved. If this is what you want to do then be patient, have faith and work hard. I was blown away when I realized how much work it takes to be made in this industry. But for me it didn't feel like work because it's always been something I enjoyed so much.