Nick Cain, the subject of one of our first cover stories, has been in the insurance industry for 42 years. So it’s safe to say he has an ample amount of experience from which we all can learn. Cain started CEVA Benefits in Pilot Point, Texas, and quickly became one of the most trusted voices in the employee benefits industry. He’s become recognized as an authority in not only core benefits, but a voluntary specialist, an expert in Medicare, and now has expanded into the P&C business. He’s transitioned his business model from primarily a voluntary consultant and enrollment entity to one that now covers a broad spectrum of employers’ and employees’ needs.
Don’t resist. With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a lot of companies and brokers knew there would be change, but some of the brokers and carriers that think they are immune may be in for a surprise. We thought it wise to expand into other markets within the industry so we’ve increased our penetration into P&C, expanded our Medicare department and brought on experts in each field. This diversification is so key because we can really be a one stop shop for our clients—no matter the size firstly, but secondly, with Obamacare, the next step could be mandating STD coverage, etc., and then they start regulating who gets paid. The old proverb could hold true here, once the camel gets his nose in the tent, what’s to stop him from coming all the way in.
Be open to change. We also moved beyond 90 percent of our business being enrollments to closer to 30 percent because of technology and how it just continues to advance. The hot new technology platform or product today is obsolete before it really can come into widespread use. And because of this rapid technology train, some carriers are moving away from the traditional enrollment company model.
Sell on claim. When brokers ask for advice, I always tell them to quit selling on price. It’s more important to sell on claim and see how much value they’ve received and how much money you’ve actually saved them and not just when they bought a policy.
Think small. The small-to-medium accounts are where you make your bread and butter. Large accounts are great, and by all means we want to do our best to get them. That said, they aren’t the only accounts out there. There are a lot more 200-employee companies out there and the sales cycle is considerably shorter.
Build relationships. Everyone says build relationships with your clients, but it’s true. You want to anticipate your client’s needs before they do. And what we’ve learned is that existing clients truly are your best customers.
Photo: Jim Olvera