From the Prez:
During the Holiday’s this year – please remember to recognize how blessed we all are to be in our industry and line of business. I don’t think any of us grew up or attended college to think “I’m going to be a health insurance agent’. But Wow – what an opportunity to help people and gain financial independence through residual income. Not to mention – we are with Florida Blue – the only Health Insurer that is domiciled in Florida and the only ‘not for profit’ Carrier in the state. Florida Blue is truly the ‘best in Class’ ACA & MA Carrier in the state.
Let’s consider our company history to think about how blessed we are this Holiday Season:
Our Company was formed in 2007 and we spent our first 4 years selling Avalon Healthcare – a start up health plan. The Company built a great network with innovative plan designs. When the PPACA (Obamacare) was passed in 2010 (not implemented until 2014) the capital markets for health insurance carriers dried up and so did Avalon! We spent 4 years becoming their #1 Agency in Florida only to see them go into receivership. I’ll never forget the call I received from their CSO “Bruce – we can’t accept any more new business” My question was “OK – what about our commissions?”. Guess what – we never saw another dime.
This was a horrific experience that almost bankrupt the company and me on a personal level. My wife Donna and I had many sleepless nights raising capital and trying to keep the company alive.
We were fortunate that we had acquired an MGA contract with Assurant Health (which was eventually sold to National General which was recently sold to Allstate) which kept us selling individual health insurance. At this point – I wasn’t taking any chances – even though Assurant was the oldest individual health insurer in the U.S. founded in 1894, I was able to negotiate a contract with United Health where we became a Top 25 Agency in the U.S. (BTW – Assurant Health left the individual health market in 2016!).
At the outset of Obamacare in 2014 – other Group Carriers such as Aetna, CIGNA, Coventry along with Medicaid Companies like Molina Healthcare entered the ACA individual health market space. When the Federal Government gets involved with funding premiums – the big boys follow!
Why am I reciting this history to all of you – many of who were not even in the business in 2014? Here’s why – by 2015 we represented all of the above Carriers and had 600+ agents selling business with us. Guess what happened in 2016? Aetna, CIGNA, United Healthcare and others all LEFT the ACA market and took our commissions with them!
We were left with a couple of Carriers such as Molina that were only in a select number of counties. Here we go again!!!
This is the time I approached Florida Blue. We had 10 stores at the time – 5 of which would be without individual health plans in the coming year of 2017. I wasn’t aware of Florida Blue’s exclusivity provision or that they really weren’t interested in appointing any new Agencies. I was very fortunate to gain a meeting with the Head of Agency, Chuck Sartiano and the West Coast Regional Director, Drew Pennoyer. We met over lunch for nearly 2 hours and I was offered the MAA contract on the spot!
Fast Forward to 2022 and looking back on the decision we made to become a Florida Blue Agency is by far – the best decision I have ever made in my business career. I hear all the time from our agents that Florida Blue Customer service and satisfaction is through the roof – and you guys can spend so much more time focusing on new sales. This is NOT the case with most all other ACA Carriers who have skinny networks
And now – Oscar Health – another new Carrier entry to the marketplace with a huge national footprint just announced they will not accept any new applications in Florida!
Don’t think for a minute other ACA Carriers couldn’t follow the same path. The ACA Competitors which are expanding their Florida footprints with unrealistic pricing offering crazy commissions to ‘buy’ market share are gambling with their policyholder’s coverage and the agents’ commissions – been there – done that!
My message to all our hard-working agents this Holiday Season is to recognize the blessing we have representing Florida Blue and all the other Compass Health ‘Best in Class’ Companies and Products we have in our arsenal. Florida Blue is NEVER leaving the market and will always offer ACA products in all Florida Counites all year long. They apply the proper discipline to their pricing and compensation to ensure continuity for their policyholders, employees and agents.
Florida Blue offers you a great FOUNDATION from which to serve your clientele with our other valuable Companies and products like Compass RX, Allstate Health Solutions STM, Dental, Accident, Critical Illness, Life with Living Benefits and Smart Pre-Paid Cremation.
I urge all of you to share these valuable products with your customers so when the time comes where they need these benefits – they are there for them!
I wish everyone a very merry Holiday Season and I look forward to a record breaking 2023 at Compass Health – Cheers!
(772) 546-2299 Ext. 101