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TOMASZ:     Hello and welcome to the Everlong Edge Podcast. New for 2022, my name is Tomasz Banach, I’m here with my colleague, Michael Block. Without further ado, kick it off, Michael.

MICHAEL:    Yeah Tomasz, today’s podcast is going to be completely unfiltered. We’ve got two fascinating guests. Robin Gallagher is joining us, she’s one of our newest Broker Partners, and one of our client’s, Allyon, that she moved into the captive  program earlier this year. So, we’re looking forward to hearing from them, really what their onboarding experience has been like, what their expectations are, and quite frankly, is this different from the experience that they’ve had in the past. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

Thanks again everyone for joining us here. Tomasz and I are pleased to welcome Robin and Rebekah with us today on our podcast. So Robin, we’d like to start with you, if you could tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been in the business.

ROBIN:         I’ve been a Broker for over 25 years, working with mid-sized companies to help them really take a step forward and step outside the box, not do the standard status quo when it comes to employee benefits.

MICHAEL:    Yeah, I think it’s pretty easy to say, when someone talks to you, they can figure out that you’re not the status quo from the get go. So, once again, we appreciate you being here. And Rebekah, if you could share with us a little bit about yourself and your company as well.

REBEKAH:    Sure. Thanks for having me. I run an IT and Healthcare staffing company based out of Atlanta Georgia, and we’ve been working with Robin for a little over 10 years.

MICHAEL:    That’s great.

TOMASZ:     Excellent. So, I’ll default back to Robin. In one word, could you describe Everlong, in the short time that we’ve been working together?

REBEKAH:    Oh, just one word.

TOMASZ:     One word.

ROBIN:         Transparency.

TOMASZ:     Okay. Why do you think transparency would you say?

ROBIN:         I’ve done a lot of work, a lot of research on many different captives, and one of the things that really attracted me to Everlong was, you might not always like the answer you get but you’re gonna get a straight answer, you’re gonna know where everything stands, you’re gonna have everything together, and that was very important to me, was transparency for my clients. It’s how I do business, it’s how I work with my partners, and it was something that was super important to me and something that I felt really existed— you know, there are many other things I could say about Everlong and how they worked with me, and really helped me to transition from another captive, and how that process went down but the number one thing that stood out to me was the transparency.

TOMASZ:     Okay, excellent. So, when you went to Rebekah to tell her we’re gonna make a move, how was that?

ROBIN:         Well, it’s never great when you have to say to a client, “I picked something that I don’t think was what I thought it was. But as Rebekah can attest to, I’m brutally honest and kinda call a spade a spade, so I just went to her and explained why I was struggling. They had seen the struggles as well, it wasn’t just me, they were dealing with them as well. And so we made the decision together, after doing the due diligence and the research to come to Everlong. I spoke to multiple brokers, multiple clients, and the Everlong team really made it easy to do because they helped me in every aspect that you would think would be problematic. They helped ease that pain a bit, so that it was a little bit more—

REBEKAH:    Seamless?

ROBIN:         Yeah, seamless. Thank you. It was seamless to make the switch and really get onboard. So, I think it’s been a very positive experience thus far.

MICHAEL:    That’s fantastic. And so Rebekah, it’s just benefits in general. Obviously, we’re in a tight labor market today and benefits are such a huge part of attracting and retaining employees. So, could you share for us a little bit, your overall view of benefits and when did you make the move into self-funding in general?

REBEKAH:    Robin’s gonna try and help me remember when it was because her memory is much better than mine. Yeah, benefits are very important. It’s one of the things that helps with employee attraction and retention. We’ve always had good benefits because of Robin; she always looks out for her clients and for their employees, and so, we’ve always had good benefits packages in general. But we were a smaller company, we were fully insured, we went to partially self-funded first.

ROBIN:         Yes. I think that was maybe five or six years ago?

REBEKAH:    It could have been around 2014, maybe something like that.

ROBIN:         Yeah, a little bit longer.

REBEKAH:    Yeah, so our premiums were going up by 15-25% every year. We didn’t understand why, we had no visibility or control into that, and Robin suggested this idea first of partial self-funding and then introduced— I had never heard of what that was, I had no idea what self-funding was— and she introduced the idea to us. We, my business partner and I, trust Robin with our lives – she does the right thing by her clients, and so if she feels like something is worth looking into or something that’s gonna save us money or help us, or provide more benefits to our employees, then we always look at it.

So, we looked at it, we grilled her, she explained what self-insurance was, and what self-funding was, and decided to try it. And we’ve saved hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years and we’ve been able to put programs in like wellness programs to not only help our employees be healthier and educate them more but to give them incentives to do so, to give them discounts on their premiums, to give them gift cards for reaching certain milestones. So, it’s definitely helped with benefits for employees as well.

MICHAEL:    For sure. That’s great stuff. So, tell me a little bit more about when Robin came to you and said, “Hey look, I think we should move to Everlong”. What was your first reaction to that?

REBEKAH:    My first reaction was, “We have to pay again? Are we gonna get our money back from the other one? But I had no issue doing it or listening to her because I knew the issues that we were having, not as much as Robin did because she was dealing with them on a daily basis but I knew that it wasn’t what we had hoped it would be and we were definitely looking for that. So, if she had found something that was gonna fix the problem, then I was all for it.

MICHAEL:    For sure. And so, Robin, how would you say the onboarding process has gone for your clients joining the program? Has it met your expectations?

ROBIN:         Yeah. No, it’s been great, you guys from the start to the finish, when we looked at things, obviously there’s a concern when you’re moving from one captive to another. You’ve invested in a captive and every captive works a little differently but the end investment sits out there, there might be time for you get it back. So, that’s a difficult conversation to have with a client saying, “Hey, I’m sorry you have this $60,000 that you’re not gonna get back for a year and a half or so but for all the right reasons it really helped put competitive numbers on the table”.

The staff has been incredible, and the other thing that I want to say is, your reporting is different. So, you give us a lot more insight into the reporting aspects so that we can really drill down and make more effective changes. And I’m just getting into that but I’m very excited about what I’m seeing and it’s much more data for me to make much more effective decisions to help them. When you’re making decisions, when you’re part of a capture, when I look at being part of a captive, you want to bring in groups that want to do the right things because you rely on each other, you collaborate with each other.

I want to bring groups and brokers into the captive, like-minded people, who believe what I believe and are sick and tired of the status quo of what’s going on. So, when you bring these people into the captive, it benefits everybody, and that’s where I feel like everyone has really been great. I’m excited to get together with different people in the cell, hear what they’re doing but the reporting data is significantly better than what we’re used to, and is really going to be utilized to help make the most effective changes with the least impact with the employees that’s going to benefit them and Allyon as well.

TOMASZ:     I’m really excited that you brought that up. So, we’re all going to be in Park City in July. You’re gonna have that positive peer pressure, that networking here, like Robin said, from other owners in the captive. But that’s why we cap it to 50 owners, so, you get to have that networking, everybody knows each other and it’s kind of beautiful to see in the room, where it’s like, okay, “They’re doing this, they’re doing that, let me go talk to them”, “You’re a new member, maybe we need to have a program, if you will, where there’s a mentor mentee type of atmosphere with it too”. So, it’s really exciting, we’re excited to have you come out to Park City and do some of the fun events that we’re doing.

But it’s not always about the events too, it’s about what we’re doing in our captive, like Robin said, to really get down on the bottom line and get a handle on the claims and what you can do. So, you’ll have that transparency with the reporting, also the stability too, and the renewals. That’s one thing we’re super excited about.

ROBIN:         Yeah, that was one of the things, like I said, I did my due diligence, I spoke to multiple brokers, I spoke to multiple clients, clients that hadn’t run as well, clients that had run well, just to get a feel of how those renewals are handled, how you manage them and that was important to me because stability is the name of the game.

MICHAEL:    Yeah, I remember that. “Michael, we need this, this and this”.

TOMASZ:     Oh, yes!

MICHAEL:    Oh, my goodness! You know how this fourth quarter in this business gets a little wild, “What’s Robin want now? She wants to talk to who’? Okay. No, but you know what though? To me, anyone that is that passionate about the vetting process cares about their clients, and we want the same sort of thing. We want to work with Broker Partners that have those great relationships with their clients because there’s going to be a real conversation. So, stuffs gonna happen, health insurance isn’t cheap but if we’re all gonna working in this together, we’re in it together. Because at the end of the day, when you join the captive program, you’re literally becoming a part owner of your own insurance company. And so, you should see everything, right? When you have that ownership, and so that’s the whole point.

TOMASZ:     Alright Robin, how about you talk about the accessibility that you had during the onboarding process with the staff at Everlong?

ROBIN:         I think that was pretty important to me, I had key leadership. You guys, right from the top helping me along the way and I’m not the easiest person when it comes to building my trust. I’m extremely loyal once you have it but building it takes a little bit and you guys were always available, still are to this day. So, if I have new prospects or clients that I’m working on, we can have a conversation, and it’s not just “Send this in, put a quote on the table”, it’s, “Let’s talk about it”, “Let’s see what makes sense”, “Let’s see how we can best both serve each other best to serve the client best”, and I think that’s really helpful and it’s still there to me today.

TOMASZ:     I can say when Michael brought me to your office, he said, “We’re gonna go meet with Robin. I’ve known her for X amount of years”, right? You two go back a few years.

ROBIN:         We do. Long time.

MICHAEL:    Yeah.

TOMASZ:     You’re like, “Get ready”, I’m like, “Alright”. I’m standing there in that office, it was like a shooting gallery for a minute and I was like alright, I like this but like she said, once you’ve gained the trust, it’s a different story. And you’ve been in this business a long time. Trust and relationships is key.

ROBIN:         It really is and when you’re talking about a captive, it really is the protection that it provides these smaller to mid-sized clients who are afraid of that risk to go self-funded. There’s a fear there even though sometimes it’s not justified, you can explain it. But when you layer it with a captive, that risk is spread out, it goes a long way and you feel like you have people to help you through the issues that pop up. Well, let’s face it, everyone is going to have large claims, just because you’re in a captive, doesn’t mean you’re gonna have a large claim. You’re not gonna be able to stop everyone from getting a cancer or something tragic that’s gonna—

REBEKAH:    Or quadruple by-pass surgery.

ROBIN:         Right. Like you might be able to change things a little bit by doing some of the unique things that we’ve been able to do to help minimize those but you’re going to have them. So, being with someone that is supportive of that, helping you and understanding— it’s not just about the clients, it’s about what you’re doing to—

REBEKAH:    Mitigate them.

ROBIN:         Correct, and that’s important because you guys are very much about that. What are you doing to mitigate the claims? We understand claims are gonna happen but we wanna see that you’re doing the right things along the way and we have a high factor or high weight in what you’re doing.

TOMASZ:     We were agnostic with any vendor, and we’re very happy and proud to be that because every client is different.

MICHAEL:    Yeah. And part of what we bring to the table is you know with our renewals here, we give credit; the more you do to basically reduce your claims, that’s gonna help you out in your stop loss from Everlong. So, hopefully having those incentives that are in there gives that sort of boost to try out the next best thing.

REBEKAH:    Absolutely.

ROBIN:         Well, and the account management teams’ been great as well because one of the things Rebekah will tell you, she laughs about it when I complain about it— not complaint, it’s not the right word but I complain when clients don’t allow me the ability to educate employees. I think we’ve gone down this rabbit hole where people give benefit guides. It’s just a piece of paper, and they hand them out—

REBEKAH:    They’ll read then.

ROBIN:         —and they’ll read them. Let’s face it, nobody reads them. So, when you take the time to sit with employees year in, year out and help educate them on ways that they can buy in to saving money, then it’s a team effort. It’s not just the employer doing things, it’s the employees feeling like they are a part of that, and so the education is really key. We just did our first call with our Account Manager, Samantha, and she was great. She wanted to go over reports and kind of explain what she was seeing and that was really beneficial and helpful. I do that myself but for somebody that wasn’t as familiar with that, would have been really helpful to have.

TOMASZ:     And we’re big with the communication, so she’s just as accessible as Michael and myself and others in our organization. So, feel free to call her, email her, smoke signal, carrier pigeon, all that you want. So Michael, maybe you can ask about our Broker Summit.

MICHAEL:    Oh yeah. So the upcoming Broker Summit that we’ve got coming up with brokers and clients in Park City is really exciting. But Robin, you just had the fortune of attending one of our events a couple months ago in Palm Springs, so could you share your experience there? Was that a fun collaboration? Did you get anything out of it?

ROBIN:         Oh, yeah. I think it was great to meet with other brokers who have experienced some of the same things that I have. I’ve actually had calls with some of those brokers to talk about some programs that they’ve implemented, vice versa, asking questions of how did that work. It’s good to have somebody else’s feedback. It was a lot of fun getting to know everyone, in a fun environment but also to really have that time to be able to take that further when we got back, to build those relationships because we’re all in this together to help each other help the clients.

MICHAEL:    I can concur, it’s a lot of fun. One of the things that is not lacking in our business is unique personalities. But it is that dynamic personality that shows the passion, the caring for the clients, and at the end of the day, it’s the employees too. It’s these millions of folks across this country that are affected by healthcare everyday, and so, doing the right sort of things where you’re in a self-funded captive arrangement, reducing the claims, keeps costs stable for them and they keep more of their paycheck and so, we think at the end of the day, we’re doing a lot to help out America on that front. So, we appreciate both of you coming out and sharing your experiences today.

ROBIN:         Thank you.

REBEKAH:    My pleasure. Thanks for having us.