2014 Broker of the Year Finalist: Ed Oravetz

Ed OravetzEditor's note: Benefits Selling's Broker of the Year finalists will be revealed Monday-Friday this week. Meet our second finalist.

“A lot of times in this industry, we try to find that silver bullet,” says Ed Oravetz, president and senior benefits consultant at VISICOR.

“We say, ‘It must be wellness, or having a clinician on staff, or ancillary or voluntary benefits.’ But I don't think there is a silver bullet,” he says. “I think it's a broad picture of this thing we call employee benefits; I think the difference is, we cannot look at it as just going in and performing a duty. We really have to become engaged. We have to partner with our clients, understand where they want to be — what's worked, what hasn't worked, the long-term vision for their employee benefits package, and then we have to dig deep and find long-term solutions.”

That philosophy has created a company that's known for approaching clients in a different way. Oravetz designed the agency from the ground up specifically because he wanted to approach his clients in a new way. After personal tragedy struck Oravetz in December of 2007 — he and his wife lost their son — he decided he wanted to spend his days working on something meaningful.

“That literally was my ‘Jerry Maguire’ moment, where I sat down and reevaluated everything,” he remembers, “knowing I wanted to be in this business but wanted to create something different, unique. I really took a hard look at the industry and where it was going with health care reform projected at that time, and I wanted a different approach with clients, so we sat down and really mapped out where we would like an agency to be.

“We’re a value-based organization with a unique set of principles, grounded in transparency,” he explains. “We want to shoulder the burden in all four areas of employee benefits: compliance, consulting, communication and administration. So all employee and employer questions, billing reconciliation, qualifying events, new hires, terminations — we want to manage that for the client. We just want to be really engaged and walk shoulder-to-shoulder, side-by-side, and guide them through the maze of employee benefits.”

Oravetz acknowledges it's more difficult than simply providing clients with information, but it's how VISICOR operates — and it's what sets Oravetz and his colleagues apart from their competition.

“We don't want the most clients; we’re not looking for numbers,” he explains. “We’re looking for high-quality, high-touch clients that we can actually deliver value to on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.

“I understand being profitable,” he adds. “In this business, we’re not selling widgets. Whatever we’re doing is resonating in the market — we’re getting the attention of some of the largest firms in the country. And we’re very transparent. When we go in with a new client, we let them know about every dollar of revenue, so there's no wondering. There's no hiding behind that revenue number. And then we can show them: ‘You’re generating $5,000 a month for VISICOR. Now we have to create enough value for that to be a positive transaction for you.”

Also read: 2014 Broker of the Year Finalist: John Cerasani

Photo: Ed Oravetz draws his strength from home and family. By Nathan Lindstrom.

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