Though the Halloween season has made its way to the graveyard by now, talking about insurance is still a scary thought for lots of small business owners.
“I think the insurance industry can be challenging in itself…just because no one really likes talking about it,” admitted Ashley White of B. Wood Insurance in San Diego, California.
Luckily, they’re really good at it.
B. Wood specializes in employee benefits and individual lines of coverage including: medical, life, disability, long term care, and dental and vision insurance.
1. Happy clients go far
Brothers Ben and Bryan founded the agency back in 2007 and has since continued to grow, mostly organically.
“We work off referrals and treat our clients so well that they want to talk about us. We’ve been able to grow the business based off word-of-mouth, good education, and being involved in the community – that’s really important to us,” said White.
Referrals don’t grow on trees. For someone to recommend your agency to their friend, you need to have established trust in your relationship. Keeping your clients compliant and truly understanding their needs is just one way to accomplish this level of trust.
B. Wood has implemented a number of solutions to help keep their clients compliant (and happy).
2. Work your niche
Is your book of business filled with mostly small businesses? A specific industry? Are they all located in a certain area? That would technically be your niche.
B. Wood identifies its niche as working with people who share the same values that they do.
“We really try to work with people who genuinely want to take care of their employees, who have the same morals, values and ethics that we do. It isn’t so much about what they do, but more about their character and how they treat their clients as well as our staff,” said White.
She explained that they really try to be more of an advisor to their clients rather than just another salesperson or vendor. Where they’re located, being an advisor means understanding and providing guidance on the latest trends – like cross-border health plans.
“These types of plans are a hot topic here in San Diego. They allow employees to seek their routine care at a facility in Mexico while still covering them for emergencies here in the U.S. Many employees simply can’t afford to use their health plan even with insurance and this solves that issue,” explained White.
It’s a good idea to study the trends that are affecting your clients - beyond just the typical services you offer. For example, if you have a lot of restaurant clients, ask them what publications they’re reading and try your best to keep a pulse on the legislation that could affect them specifically.
This year, B. Wood has focused a lot more on how to use technology to help clients with compliance. Using solutions that can ease the stress of manual recordkeeping, they’ve found ways to streamline communication processes. Here are two areas B. Wood has implemented technology to help with clients’ happiness.
Variable hour employees
“A big thing we notice, especially with restaurants, is that they need to check who is eligible for health insurance. A lot of restaurants have what we call variable hour employees, meaning sometimes servers don’t know if they’re going to work a full 30 hours a week or not,” said White.
After chatting with HR managers who were frustrated with tracking these variable hour employees to comply with the ACA, the brokers at B. Wood shifted their focus. They found an online platform that eliminates the need for manual tracking and thus eliminates issues for their clients.
Open enrollment is another one of those scary meetings that employers tend to dread. With so many moving parts, getting everyone on the same page with the same level of education can prove to be a difficult task.
B. Wood invested in an online enrollment system to ensure a much simpler and smooth process for employees rather than using paper applications.
Bonus: Partnering with PrimePay
Another great way to grow your agency is by leaning on expertise and solutions from other partners. As B. Wood has implemented a variety of technology solutions, they also trust PrimePay for COBRA administration.
“You guys are much quicker and easier to work with than any other COBRA vendors we’ve used before,” said White.
If you want to offer your clients a full suite of services, including payroll, pre-tax health plans, ERISA wrap documents and more, sign up to become a Broker Concierge partner today! Fill out the form below to learn more.
In what ways have you been able to grow your agency?
To learn more about B. Wood Insurance, click here.