Wellthie Selected as Top Insurtech Innovator in 2017 Plug and Play Program

Wellthie is pleased to announce that we have been selected by Plug and Play Tech Center to join their Insurtech Innovation Program. Wellthie is one of 35 companies chosen out of thousands to participate in Plug and Play’s program for start-ups innovating in the insurance industry.

Wellthie was selected by some of the industry’s leading carriers who seek to partner with startups and entrepreneurs that provide breakthrough technology and innovations for the insurance industry. Additional benefits of the program are licensing, investment, and mentorship opportunities.

“We are honored to have been chosen among the top insurtech companies to participate in the Plug and Play Insurance program,” said Sally Poblete, CEO of Wellthie. “Plug and Play provides a unique opportunity for selected start-ups to companies to partner with the largest carriers and industry players to accelerate the transformation of their industries.”

Earlier this year, Poblete was recognized in Forbes Magazine for her deep industry expertise the passion she brings to transforming the gigantic and complex insurance industry. Wellthie has also been featured in such publications as The Huffington Post, Inc. Magazine, and BuzzFeed.

The State of Small Group Benefits

As enrollment season nears the corner, brokers often wonder – what is this year’s market outlook for small group insurance? In September, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) published a report focusing on the employer-sponsored insurance segment. Below are the facts you need to know about the small business market, as well as tips on how you can leverage this information to increase your competitiveness and sales as a small group broker.

 

The small business outlook is bright

Small business owners are optimistic about their financial positions and the economy as a whole. 81% of small business owners are comfortable with their current cash flow, while 41% of small businesses are more optimistic about the national economy now compared to last quarter.

The optimism within the small business segment is a significant opportunity. Small businesses that previously have not offered insurance to employees may be more willing to do so now and will require a broker to guide their decision. Of the nearly 6 million small businesses purchasing insurance for their employees, 80%  choose to rely on the expertise of a broker.  Why?  Because insurance is inherently complex and costly, requiring the empathy, education, and expertise of a broker.

Premium growth remains stable

In 2017, the average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance are $6,690 for single coverage and $18,764 for family coverage. Compared to last year, the average single premium increased 4%, and the average family premium increased 3% – a relatively stable amount given that workers’ wages increased 2.3% and inflation increased 2.2% over the last year.

Stable premium growth is a great sign for brokers whose customers fear an increase in the cost of employee coverage. The stability in the employer market is an opportunity for brokers to start conversations with business owners on offering health benefits to their employees. It is up to brokers to educate small business owners on the value of coverage and to assist employers in finding the best value option, a massive opportunity to grow your book of business.

Ancillary sales are a big sales opportunity

Among large firms, 97% offer dental benefits and 82% offer vision benefits. For small business, this number is dramatically lower, with 67% offering dental benefits and 47% offering vision benefits. While overall coverage rates for small businesses is at 62%, ancillary benefits are still a large need – and opportunity – for brokers and small businesses alike.

Ancillary (or supplemental) insurance offers an opportunity for brokers to fill coverage gaps left by health plans. Moreover, ancillary benefits like dental, vision, disability, accident, and life usually have lower premiums and are a great way for small businesses to make their employees happy. Selling ancillary benefits also provides brokers an opportunity to upsell to those that do offer medical coverage.

 

Announcing Wellthie Small Group: Broker Platform for Medical + Ancillary Sales

We are thrilled to announce that we have launched Wellthie Small Group, the first-of-its-kind platform to bring a comprehensive Small Group benefits marketplace together with dynamic sales optimization tools to empower top-performing brokers and agents nationwide. Responding to national demand, we have expanded our shopping, quoting, and enrollment platform to new markets and additional lines of coverage, including medical and top ancillary products like dental, vision, and value-added products.

At Wellthie, we are addressing the needs of the nearly 6 million small businesses purchasing insurance for their employees, 80% of which rely on the expertise of a broker. Today, benefits brokers are burdened by disconnected systems, outdated tools, manual and paper-based processes, and complex regulations that reduce the amount of time brokers can spend generating new sales and focusing on client strategy.

With Wellthie’s platform, brokers can multiply their market opportunity and drive long-term relationships, while increasing employees’ access to insurance. Wellthie Small Group enables forward-thinking brokers and agents to transform the sales and service process for small business employers and their employees. With expanded features – including a dynamic live quoting system – the platform delivers the power and flexibility to offer more coverage, while simplifying the broker’s workflow so brokers generate more sales, streamline insurance decisions for clients, and tout their benefits expertise.

In addition to live quoting from top medical and ancillary carriers, Wellthie Small Group – expanding to new markets nationally for medical and introducing new ancillary lines – includes real-time contribution modeling, custom proposal generation, integrated broker CRM, enrollment support, and analytics.

Our focus on innovative distribution has attracted the nation’s top medical and ancillary carriers. With the ability to support medical and ancillary plans in a single marketplace, while also being broker-friendly, carriers are partnering with Wellthie to grow small group membership across multiple product lines and channels.

“The needs and expectations of small businesses when shopping for insurance and selecting benefits increasingly focus not just on value, but also ease and convenience,” said Sally Poblete, CEO, Wellthie. “As the only platform with comprehensive medical and ancillary shopping combined with the simplicity and versatility of powerful sales tools, we maximize sales for forward-thinking brokers and leading carriers in the small business market.

 

You can also view Wellthie’s press release here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/09/prweb14707220.htm

Announcing Wellthie’s New CTO: D.Orlando Keise

We are thrilled to announce we have hired D. Orlando Keise to serve as Wellthie’s Chief Technology Officer. Effective immediately, Keise will lead Wellthie’s technology and product teams, building upon the innovation we bring to the medical and ancillary insurance distribution market.

Keise joins Wellthie with 15+ years leading technology teams in the highly competitive fintech industry, bringing the lessons he learned in fintech to the insurtech space. Most recently, Keise was responsible for marketing technology at LearnVest and Northwestern Mutual. Keise brings to Wellthie a deep background in building products with creative technology solutions, from new marketing experimentation platforms to trading systems with billions of dollars in transaction volume and vast amounts of data. Keise also has prior experience aligning product design, end user experience, data analytics, and engineering.

“During our stage of rapid growth, we are excited to have such a seasoned technology leader as D. Orlando as our new CTO,” said Sally Poblete, Founder and CEO, Wellthie. “We are laser focused on bringing transformative technology solutions that simplify the outdated and cumbersome processes in insurance distribution while offering scalable and high performing solutions to our customers and partners. D. Orlando has the unique combination of experience driving innovation and deep expertise building and integrating complex systems.”

“Wellthie has been recognized in the industry for developing technology-forward solutions in a gigantic industry ripe for change,” said Keise. “So much exciting work lies ahead in Wellthie’s mission to simplify insurance distribution given the vast opportunity. I’m thrilled to join an exceptional team with deep insurance expertise and focus on expanding the leading product Wellthie offers to brokers and insurance carriers.”

The addition of Keise’s expertise and leadership comes at a pivotal time for Wellthie, as we prepare to release our most comprehensive product yet: Wellthie Small Group. The first-of-its-kind marketplace and sales optimization platform will transform the way brokers quote, guide, and enroll small business customers in the insurance that best serves their needs and budget. Leveraging advanced algorithms and an intuitive user experience, Wellthie Small Group offers expanded product offerings from leading insurance carriers, and shortens the sales cycle so forward-thinking brokers and carriers can maximize their sales opportunity across multiple insurance lines.

Stayed tuned in the coming weeks for a meet-and-greet with D. Orlando!

 

Meet and Greet AJ Black: Wellthie’s Director of Sales

Today we have the pleasure of introducing you to AJ Black, Wellthie’s Director of Sales. AJ has been with Wellthie for over one year, focusing on broker and General Agency relationships on the East Coast. AJ – an Atlanta native and proud graduate / lifelong fan of THE Ohio State University – chatted with us to share his take on the industry’s outlook, trends, and top-performing brokers.

Tell us about yourself, AJ.

Hi! I’m a 20+ year veteran of the benefits industry. That includes being a wholesaler, broker, and an insurtech sales leader. I’m a self-admitted insurance-dork, but what can I say – I love it!

 

Youve spent a lot of time in the insurance industry. What trends today are shaping the future of insurance?
Aside from what is happening in Washington? Just kidding. The rise in insurtech is an unprecedented change not just for the insurance industry, but for the way health care is distributed. Brokers and agents that adopt technology will be the winners.

What can brokers do to stay on top of these trends?

Great brokers are always asking the question “What’s next?” so it’s vital that every broker stay informed. Trade magazines like EBN are always helpful. Our partner, Elevate Benefits, is also a great resource. In the blogosphere, Benefits Pro and Insurance Thought Leadership is regularly publishing great pieces.

What are some tips and tricks of the most successful brokers youve worked with?

The common denominator amongst successful brokers is their ability to work efficiently. Whether that means having the right team members to delegate important tasks, or embracing technology, it allows them to attract and retain clients to continue to grow.

How would you describe the broker of the future?

Brokers of the future are the first to acknowledge that change is happening fast in the industry. These brokers see technology not as a threat – but as an ally – and use it to work smarter and more profitably every day.

If you had to give one piece of advice to brokers that want to become a broker of the future, what would you say?

Technology is completely changing the way insurance is distributed. The fact is, technology has to be embraced for an agent to become a true broker of the future. As a former broker myself, I know it can be overwhelming sorting through the numerous technology offerings on the market today. When looking for these partners, it’s important to find a team of insurance leaders that understand the world and pain points you’re living in. With the right team, you’ll find that most of your pain points can be addressed with the help of a few simple-to-use tools.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more meet-and-greets with the Wellthie team!

Battling big data: how brokers can compete with AI and automation

A startling statistic is rattling industries worldwide: 7 percent of jobs will cease to exist due to automation. The fear that underlies this unspoken truth is that no job or industry is immune to machine learning. This is becoming even more apparent in the world of insurance where major groundwork and investment is being devoted to the mining of big data and consumer analytics automation.

While technology powers the automation of data-driven results and decision support in the insurance industry, many things can’t be solved by an algorithm. What brokers can do today to compete with AI and automation is to simply tap into what is already allowing them to thrive: expertise, education and explanation, empathy, and embracing what will accelerate their business into the future.

Expertise

When it comes to a major financial decision like insurance coverage, it comes as no surprise that group or individuals look to experts in the field to help. Brokers are the go-to expert for thousands of individuals and businesses and provide years of invested knowledge and field experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere, including the smartest of technology. With their honed expertise, brokers are able to assist their clients with their current needs and anticipate what lies ahead.

Education and explanation

The expertise of brokers leads to their most cited need when it comes to insurance: education. The complexity of the insurance industry, coupled with the lack of transparency, means that brokers are not only the window into insurance policies but also the chief communicator to their clients. Being the “chief communicator” also comes with the responsibility of the role of the “translator.” While businesses and individuals are bombarded with information from insurance companies or details on their policies, brokers act as the guide to answer questions and synthesize the information provided in clear language. 

Empathy

Perhaps the most human experience of all is that of empathy. Empathy may be a buzz word in the tech world, where developers are striving to keep up with the user experience or decision support, yet no technology can tap the conscious human experience of relating to one another. When it comes to clients struggling with managing payroll, growing a business, and understanding and complying with regulations, brokers are on the front lines to manage it all. Not only can brokers relate to their clients’ struggles, they see these struggles every day and can offer trusted support, not just services, to their clients. 

Embrace

Good brokers are able to tap into their expertise to provide education, explanation and empathy to their clients; but truly great brokers take it one step further: they embrace the future of their industry. Instead of fearing change, these brokers are change agents, constantly looking for better and faster ways to deliver better and faster results for their clients. Change agents are empowered by the potential of technology.

These brokers thrive because they embrace the combination of technology and human interaction and are ready to be the brokers of the future.

This post originally appeared in BenefitsPro Broker Innovation Lab.