What gets you up every morning? OK, besides the annoying shriek of the alarm clock… Is it just to finish the paperwork from the night before? To check one more thing off your to-do list?
So often we get wrapped up in daily tasks that we forget about the real purpose behind what we do. And that purpose is different for all of us.
For benefits broker Jessica Galardini of JRG Advisors in the Pittsburgh, PA area, what inspired her and husband Rick to open their firm is the same fire that drives their passion today: helping people.
“We both worked for a national NYSE insurance brokerage for many years. But when it was decided to put less emphasis on resources for our clients with fewer than 250 employees, we negotiated a purchase of that local business segment from the firm,” explained Galardini.
After celebrating the 10th anniversary of that fateful December day in 2006, JRG Advisors is thriving. In fact, the company is named to the Pittsburgh Business Times’ list of Largest Area Employee Benefits Services Firms for every year since inception.
By really putting the focus on people and relationships instead of the sale, this firm is able to make meaningful connections that result in loyal clients, and of course, referrals.
Here’s a unique perspective for looking at the way you do business that just might inspire you.
Excitement of Change
“It’s been a heck of a ride,” said Galardini when asked about the last 10 years of operating an employee benefits brokerage. “Building a successful private business while responding to the numerous, ever- changing outcomes of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates challenge for us, as we are committed to reducing the uncertainties and painful impact to employers and employees."
While natural emotion is to resist change, JRG welcomes it and looks for unique ways to do its job – which is to solve the problems.
“I think what excites us most is that we can minimize the angst people feel with the ACA, by explaining the changes, minimizing the concern and worry, and sorting through the polarizing politics. People want good health care, provider access, and convenience at a better price without giving up too much," explained Galardini. “Delivering on these expectations in this insurance climate still challenges and motivates us every day.”
Health care, now more than ever, is such an important area of opportunity for you to help your clients. The uncertainty around the law seems to build every day, with the ACA’s future wavering on the votes of even more uncertain Senate leaders.
Galardini explained that even with the uncertainty, we can’t forget the people who are in the middle of the ACA and the politics. “With rising costs, many employers are feeling stuck with what they have, or that the only cost containment strategy is to push more cost responsibility to the workforce,” she said.
The JRG approach starts with identifying the clients’ coverage and budget requirements to achieve objectives. For just one example, technology can bring to light employee health risk factors and provide third-party support improve employee health and reduce costs.
Galardini gave the example of diabetes – a health condition not properly managed that can lead to significant health risks. The strategy can’t be to just tell a person to lose weight and take the prescribed medicine. Instead a qualified practitioner would look at the overall health of the person and possibly suggest a specialized doctor’s visit or multi-faceted diabetes management strategy. And if that person can’t afford the visit or the RX, that’s where JRG would step in and make sure the plan facilitates because that minimizes the larger cost of the health claims associated with not controlling diabetes.
“You can’t reverse the claims costs that happened yesterday, but you can certainly identify the health conditions that can be managed now to reduce the claims that are to come,” said Galardini.
There’s a lot of information overload out there, especially when it comes to making decisions about health care. To make it easy on their clients and to connect with them on a more interactive level, JRG offers monthly webinars and frequent “benefits boot camp” seminars where they can provide their industry expertise. This education factor is yet another proactive approach to solving your clients’ problems before they arise and addressing the real issues that affect them.
In addition to staying on top of all the changes to keep your clients compliant, you’ve also got to look at the internal perspective of protecting your employees from overload. Galardini admitted that this is a challenge that they face and actively work to minimize.
“The challenging part is helping your staff to grow, learn and accept changes because it’s not as easy to be an insurance agent as it was before,” said Galardini.
When you factor in reporting and compliance requirements with health risk analysis, coverage, cost and network considerations, your employees are held to a higher standard and expected to work harder and smarter. JRG embraces technology, has the capability to do much of the behind-the-scenes work and keep the team motivated by staying ahead of the curve with education and easy access to in-house expertise.
“Our employees know they are not required to have every answer on the spot and that they can rely upon our expert resources. They are in an elite class of insurance professionals who have the support needed to answer questions correctly and to recommend solutions that complement the need. They have full access to the company’s consultants and in-house compliance officer,” explained Galardini.
By giving their employees the tools they need to stay ahead of the curve, and with access to experts in the industry, JRG has managed to keep the staff engaged. When your employees are engaged, the clients are happy. And happy clients are likely to refer business to you.
When asked about strategies for obtaining new clients, Galardini replied, “Social media is our newest venue to connect with people. Traditional phone calls, direct mail, website, print and radio advertising is included in the outreach campaign too. We know that our people who network with members of trade and professional associations produce the best ROI on all of our stategies to gain new clients.”
Before you go into your next client meeting, take into consideration the people you’re helping in order to bring fresh problem-solving ideas to the table.
To learn more about JRG Advisors, click here.
Interested in joining PrimePay’s Broker Concierge program? Here’s what JRG Advisors had to say about working with us.
“We’ve done the research and we picked PrimePay to serve our company payroll and administrative services. Your people are great; they’re always responsive. We have learned that you’re very good at what you do,” said Galardini.
To learn more about partnering with PrimePay, click here or fill out the form below.