Editor's note: Benefits Selling's Broker of the Year finalists will be revealed Monday-Friday this week. Meet our second finalist.
While technology has taken over how benefits professionals interact with many of their clients, Vanessa Edmond still relies on gasoline, rubber and horsepower. Some industry types might call her old school, but she’ll take it. And in her view, it's the only way to go.
See, most of Edmond's clients are elderly, and she shows them how to purchase Plan F Medicare supplements, which she says helps her clients find more affordable options and helps their health care dollar stretch a little further. It might not be the most glamorous job in the industry, but Edmond says it's one of the best parts of her job.
“I do more individual business, the senior market,” Edmond says. “I go to their homes because they’re elderly and they’d rather stay at home. So I go to them.”
More recently, Edmond, 55, also has found a role around her community of Scott City, Missouri, helping people sign up for coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In those cases, too, Edmond gets behind the wheel and shows up at her clients’ homes, ready to assist.
“Most of them want me to come there and show them how to do it,” Edmond says. “I took the training to learn it, so I know a lot more about Obamacare than if you call into Healthcare.gov. It's not the commission; it's the way I help people. I’d rather help people than get the commission. It helps them save money.”
While Edmond's business is small, it's growing. Edmond also sells final expense, life and health insurance as well as annuities and Part D prescription drug plans. In 2015, Edmond says her client roster grew to three times the size of the previous year, mainly through word of mouth. Several of her clients, she says, have shared her business cards with other people who are now her clients.
Edmond got her start in health insurance when she was hired as an office manager for the Thomas Insurance Group in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Her boss there, Laura Faye Thomas, helped Edmond get her license and allowed her to start meeting with clients. In 2012, the agency was sold and the new owners laid off Edmond.
That move, however unfortunate, was critical to Edmond's business. She couldn't abandon some of her clients from the old agency, so she set up shop in her home. It didn't take long for her client roster to expand.
“I love what I’m doing,” Edmond says. “I love seeing people's faces when I save them so much money. A lot of them are on a fixed income and I save them quite a bit. I’ve got other clients that are pretty well off, and they don't mind, but I still save them money.”
She credits plenty of her success to Premier Senior Marketing, which helped market her services and generate some of her client base. But she's also vocal about crediting the big guy upstairs.
“The key to my success is God,” Edmond says. “I’m a Christian. I owe everything to Him.”