Owner & Agent since 1991
Agent since 1998
Agent/Broker since 1994
Agent/Broker since 1999
My insurance career started in 1976 as an agent with The Rural Companies in Wisconsin, they were a multi line Farm Bureau affiliate company offering a multitude of products in P&C as well as Life & Health. Early on I gravitated towards health insurance products and an enjoyment working with farmers, small business and individuals. Our early health insurance products were "hospital surgical plans" and a client could freely go to any facility or doctor of their choice penalty free. I clearly recall at the age of 22 my clients often quoting me specific costs for their hospital, doctor, child birth, room rates etc. In those years it was rare to discuss clinic charges as a paid insurance benefit. Insurance was intended to cover larger losses not smaller daily need expenses such as office visits, tests etc.
In 1982 with immense respect for the carrier we parted ways as my focus and desire to concentrate on health insurance related products was not in line with the multi-line business model.
From departure through '89 my learning curve was enhanced from numerous new perspectives and carriers as an independent agent. Broader product variations included medicare supplement plans, the now up and coming major medical plans (still a bit limited) and being exposed to association marketing products such as NASE, Pioneer, Bankers, National Health Insurance Co., and the creamery plans. Then there were these crazy newer HMO plans (wow copays for an office visit ??? but with very limited doctor participation and maybe one hospital or two to choose from???). These were tremendous growth years from an educational and working perspective to include consumer sales and agent recruiting while opening and managing two consecutive agencies.
In 1989 a move from the rural area to a large market population "The Twin Cities" in MN, brought even more diverse learning as selling in a metropolitan area seem to differ greatly regarding perception of needed benefits. It appeared with so many large companies and union negotiations providing rich benefit group plans, even the self employed people demanded a much higher level of office visit/preventative type of care from the carriers. Yet as self employed and small businesses they would most often opt back to the pricing of products offering higher deductibles, limits and flexibility vs the then HMO style with limited facilities and practitioners with somewhat higher pricing. It was also interesting that most of the plans sold in the rural communities were also available in the city market and were being purchased as cost was the bottom line.
Now it was time to progress the goal of starting an agency and mentoring others in what had recently become a turbulent market with the state imposing much stricter marketing and product laws. Hospital surgical plans were quickly fading away to the more comprehensive major medicals that were now offering PPO networks (preferred provider organizations) as discounted services and supplies from providers were necessary to compete with the cost controls of the HMO's. Smaller HMO's were rapidly merging to provide increased numbers of facility locations, doctors, specialties and services while needing to become more financially stable. (The beginning of an intentional yet welcome non transparent dummification of people to the escalating actual costs of services, supplies, care, confinements and more. Face it, we really have limited to no clue of actual prices of services in the medical arena as a population.)
Early 1991 had arrived and it was time to contract with a few good agents and carriers. It was necessary that these carriers complement each other by offering different operating philosophies and product designs for the benefit of our consumers. The choice became a forward thinking progressive carrier AMS (American Medical Security) and a long term, stable, conservative prominent carrier Time Insurance Company. With these two carriers "Health MN" insurance agency was conceived and later to be renamed and incorporated in MN as Health of America Insurance Agency. Around '94 lead sources were being developed through both non convention and conventional advertising.
As a growing number of persons contacted the agency for health insurance quotes the combination of leads and quality products at affordable prices allowed us to bring in add'l quality agents / brokers and many thousands of new customers. Eventually the progressive carrier faded out of MN and the agency was ranking nationally with Time Insurance / Fortis Health / Assurant Health as a top 10 producer in the country (out of 15,000+ GA's) which continued to about 2007 (with less than a dozen steady producers) providing insurance to our lead inquries. As the recession impacted self employed and small businesses there was a natural tightening of finances for customers even leading many to take the risk of canceling health insurance to survive financially. Leads began to subside and the talk of a national insurance program forthcoming. The introduction to ObamaCare/ACA was imposed and there appeared to be an obvious focus on eliminating independent agents by substantially reducing compensation below any amount needed not only to survive but to cover the acquisition cost to acquire new customers and add the fictitiously low ACA premiums which were doomed to implode.
As family rates exceed several thousand "per month" with no subsidies to households of aprox $80,000+. The "high deductible metal plans" are no longer viable as the consumer pays upwards of 25% to 30% and more of gross income (not net after taxes) its time to revisit the past as a common sense solution to health insurance.
We are once again developing leads from those left now uninsured in the after mass of ObamaCare. Lead generation is a tremendous overhead and needs to be run efficiently and effectively as we once again look to share our solutions with those millions needing an alternative that is sensible as well as affordable. We seek a select few independent agents and brokers committed to growing a substantial income while helping those desperately needing our solutions for their financial security.
Thank you to the carriers progressive enough to recognize that ACA has created millions of new uninsured's wanting products that are affordable and offer a valid level of financial security through the combination of an indemnity chassis with PPO partnerships and multiple flexible benefit designs.
FOR THE UNINSURED
Are you one of the millions ObamaCare / ACA Health Care left UNINSURED?