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 “We are laser focused on bringing transformative technology solutions that simplify the outdated and cumbersome processes in insurance distribution while offering scalable and high performing solutions to our customers and partners.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.

Sales Secrets of Top Producing Brokers

As a broker, one of your most important assets is your time. On top of all the lead scouting, sales calls, enrollment meetings, and compliance duties, brokers are often left with an overwhelming schedule. The best insurance brokers are the most productive and are able to manage their schedules. Here are 3 sales secrets of top producing brokers.

Leverage digital tools

The most important question top-producing brokers ask daily is, “How can I sell more, faster?” Digital technologies are the easy answer. Whether you’re looking for a quoting engine, a payment system, simple CRM software, or any other system to boost your productivity, we live in an age of many options for digital technologies, each designed to enhance your ability to communicate and sell with ease.

The key is finding exactly which tools and technologies – or which combination of them – will make you more effective. For top brokers, experimenting with several technologies is critical. Any great technology provider today will give you the opportunity to try their programs at no cost so you can design a technology suite that suits your needs. While many brokers are still in the early stages of using digital technologies, top-producing brokers admit that applying these tools is an easy way to drive efficiency, profitability, and competitive advantage.

Streamline repeat activities

Selling often requires the completion of time-consuming and repetitive tasks: quoting, emailing, proposal generation, client relationship management, and so on. However, the most successful brokers identify the tasks that they are repeating on a daily basis and find automated solutions to streamline those activities. Automated proposal templates allow you to respond to prospects faster, email templates save time and improve consistency, CRM software helps to organize your prospects and follow up with leads; the benefits are endless.

While many solutions exist to address these activities on a standalone basis, there are also broker-centric solutions that address them with a more holistic view. Identifying the repeat activities – especially those that are paper-based processes – and matching solutions to those can save you massive effort. What’s crucial is that having automated processes in place to streamline your repeat activities allows you to focus your time where it’s needed most – on your clients.

Stay ahead of regulatory concerns

Insurance brokers are faced with an ever-changing and increasingly complex regulatory landscape. The sheer volume of these updates can be overwhelming, and for clients, understanding how the legislation may affect their business is not only confusing, but unsustainable.

To support clients’ needs to stay ahead of legislative risk, top-performing brokers prioritize preempting the questions their business clients have. In order to do so, they stay up-to-date on industry regulations by reading broker-centric blogs, attending broker conferences and panels, and talking to broker partners focused on developing thought leadership around regulatory issues. For top-performing brokers, the ability to stay ahead of clients’ regulatory concerns, and the velocity with which they can respond to them, is the key to maintaining successful and long-term relationships.

Investors, Incumbents, and Innovators

Today we’re thrilled to share that we have raised $5M in a Series A financing. The round is led by IA Capital Group, with participation from Aflac Ventures, other institutional investors, and some of the insurance industry’s top executives and luminaries.

Our institutional investors are pros at backing companies that have successfully scaled innovations in the gigantic industries of insurance and healthcare. We’re proud to have the support of our advisors and investors – the industry’s top executives and veterans – who understand that lasting transformation in our industry takes a concerted and collaborative effort from incumbents and innovators.

With this new round of funding, we’re excited to take on this transformation and accelerate our growth by helping brokers and carriers deliver an intuitive and engaging shopping experience to small businesses and individuals. With our health insurance e-commerce marketplace, small businesses and individuals can easily find the affordable health coverage best fit for their needs and preferences.

Guidance from brokers and carriers is essential, regardless of how the healthcare regulatory landscape unfolds. Now, given industry’s push towards simple and modern selling technologies that simplify distribution for all insurance stakeholders, Wellthie’s ability to provide simple navigation, shopping, and support is critical for small businesses and individuals to make the optimal choice about their health insurance.

It is only through the joint and deliberate effort of incumbents and innovators that we can bring simplicity and ease to the complex world of insurance for millions of small businesses and individuals. So, if you are a forward-thinking broker or carrier, reach out to us to see how we can help you engage customers and maximize your sales today.

And, if you are a smart, passionate individual looking to transform the health insurance industry from the ground-up, we need your help by joining our rapidly expanding team!

From the entire Wellthie team, thank you for all of your support!

Brokers are here to stay

sunsetLast week, President Donald Trump withdrew the healthcare bill intended to replace Obamacare from the House floor, leaving the Affordable Care Act here to stay. While the back and forth of anticipated regulatory change was confusing for consumers, one overlooked segment of the health insurance community was faced with a major opportunity: health insurance brokers.

There are several hundred thousand brokers in the U.S. today, and the vast majority of small businesses and consumers rely on them to guide their benefit decisions. In times of regulatory change, particularly when consumers are surrounded by confusion and uncertainty, the role of the broker is valued more than ever before. Brokers will be relied upon to help their clients navigate the evolving healthcare landscape and ease the transition for millions of businesses and consumers. For health insurance brokers, this is a massive opportunity to meet new clients and secure the trust of their customers.

In order to successfully serve the needs of their customers, brokers must invest in innovative technology solutions and digitally-enabled partners to stay competitive and keep up with the increased demand for services in the coming year.

As the specifics of President-elect Trump’s health care agenda post last week’s defeat are made clear and the legislation comes into effect, business owners and consumers will continue looking for ways to connect with their broker to understand the implications of the regulatory change on purchasing and compliance. Brokers will be needed to help educate their clients on the nuances of the law that directly affect their pursuit of available health insurance options. Therefore, the role of the broker — a trusted and valuable resource for consumers and small businesses — in an uncertain and ever-changing environment remains strong.

This post originally appeared in BenefitsPro Broker Innovation Lab.