In this last month of my Presidency, I have been reflecting back on my investment in the NCAHU Executive Board and want to answer the one question I and other NCAHU leaders get the most. The question, why do you invest the time and energy you do in Health Underwriters? The answer, the time and energy invested in NCAHU yields 10 times the return on the development of our professional careers. While reflecting on the past 6 years my thoughts are also filled with media reports on flattening Covid-19 bell curves and the contrast of that with bending our career and personal trajectories upward.
So here is the ROI on my NCAHU investment. The initial investment started at the bar of the Hyatt Regency in Washington DC, Capitol Conference’s unofficial board room and birth place of Health Underwriter strategy. I was sitting with the then current leaders of NCAHU. I had just finished successfully (my opinion) serving on the Western Piedmont Health Underwriters Board when I was asked to run the chairs (Secretary to President) for NCAHU. I can remember feeling very inadequate for the future position of President of NCAHU. For some reason, mostly a personal slogan of “be afraid and do it anyway”, I said yes the following day. Fast forward 4 years and I was finishing up my year as president elect with a confident presidential vison for NCAHU’s advancement. I understood what was needed and how to accomplish it. I was then afforded the opportunity to serve two years as President and be part of many NCAHU accomplishments. That experience and its lessons along the way were invaluable to me professionally.
Experience has shown me that people join health underwriters for three reasons; they want to meet someone, they want to learn something, or they have something to give. I’ll add a little detail to my investments and ROI in those categories.
To quote Dr Seuss, “Oh, how many feet you meet!”. First, the relationships I have formed with those I served with are priceless. Without my Health Underwriters service I would never have developed such strong bonds with the caliber of insurance professionals that I have. For those members that fear getting involved due to becoming friends with the competition and losing opportunities, I have generated more business in collaboration with my competitors on the board than I have competing with them. Whatever time or money I may have lost while working on NCAHU I have gained back or exceeded through doing business with my NCAHU colleagues. I call this working smarter not harder. I have had the bonus of working with the leadership of all the top carriers in NC and building relationships with them. I know feel that if I needed something professionally I could call on each one of them and vice versa. My leadership role has also brought me face to face with many of our legislators and regulators in both Washington and Raleigh. Many of who, surprisingly, know my name when they see me. I have been toe to toe (pun intended) with members all over the state and I am richer for it.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” Ben Franklin. My knowledge has also grown through my service. That neophyte NCAHU board member (Andrew) has learned a lot about his personal leadership skill and continued to develop them. The opportunity to witness so many different leadership styles on NCAHU Board has been so educating. The type of leadership required in a volunteer organization versus an agency partnership are very different but my agency has benefited from what I have learned and brought back. The sharing of intellectual capital is also another great value of NCAHU service. I have a vast network of folks to call and ask how they solved a problem or offer a service. I certainly have more NAHU certifications in the email signature and I am on my way to the REBC designation. Thank you to those who have dragged me with you on this journey. I have learned more about our legislative process and the legislation that creates/changes/drives the products and services we offer. I often know about new or changing legislation in detail before the vast majority of the industry. All of this experiential learning, my preferred style, (paper airplanes, only my board will get that) has made me a better educated and knowledgeable health insurance broker with (wait for it) higher rates of interest.
Winston Churchill said “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”. Working my way thought the ranks I have certainly gained knowledge and experience to give away as well as the desire to do so. Many on the Board have been valued mentors and I have learn from each one of you even if you didn’t know it. I enjoy nothing more than to pull someone in as a member, get them active in some way and passing along what has been mentored to me. I hope to continue this practice in my role as past president and continue making a life by giving.
All of this meeting, learning and giving has culminated into a return far greater than what I have invested. The is reflected in the exponential growth in my client base and income. It is also reflected in a hunger for collective growth of NCAHU and my agency, a humility required in collaboration with others and a better understanding of emotional intelligence. Thank you NCAHU for that personal gain.
While never flat, NCAHU has certainly put an upward arcing curve in its yield graph. Over the last two years I have been proud be part of many NCAHU success. One of the top accomplishments was the creation of the General Assembly Action Committee (GAAC) in response to the then budding shift from a Federal legislative initiatives being pushed more to the states. We were also able to hire Joe Stewart ,VP of Congressional Affairs for IIANC, as our NCAHU lobbyist and go on to be very influential in the language and passing of Senate Bill 86. From the successful collaboration with Joe were able to expand the IIANC relationship to back room support of administration service of professional development, event planning and membership communication. Our professional development offerings have expanded and adapted to the new pandemic demands. Events continue be planned and adapted, like the recent two part Virtual Symposium Event. Take that Covid-19. We also have made a major shift in our sponsorship opportunities, Creating the Champions Circle. This program takes the emphasis of exposure solely off of our Annual Symposium and spreads one annual contribution over all the growing number of events (Professional Development, CE, Symposium, Medicare Summit) and Member Communications NCAHU offer thought the entire year. We believe this brings more value and allows us to better respond to the pace at which our industry changes. The last 6 months we have also put upward trend in our new member growth. Our growth has come from both small agencies as well as larger agencies and our focus is to keep attracting new members. Go check out Chris Ross’s Membership Forum.
It’s not just me bragging on NCAHU, as we won a Landmark Award at the 2019 Annual Convention and are on the eve of possibly winning another one at the 2020 Virtual Annual Convention at the end of June. This is a comparison to our peers in other states and awarded by NAHU. This would add to our 2020 Blue Ribbon Chapter Certification we recently recieved. NCAHU is on a positive trend curve and I truly envy the board behind me for their opportunity to bring more value to our members and Sponsors. The sky is the limit on the yield curve.
Speaking of value. I am excited to announce that on June 25th and 26th NCAHU will partner with the Triangle Chapter for a Medicare Summit. The event will be held virtually, in two half days sessions, with the focus on providing higher level Medicare oriented programing. It will feature some great speakers and involve several of our Champion Circle Sponsors. The hope is that it will serve both members and non-member in the Medicare broker community. If you know of a non-member in the Medicare market please forward them this newsletter. This is a great off season time to invest in higher level Medicare topics. The event does have limited capacity so sign up early.
Furthermore, I want to thank Blue Cross of NC for their 2021 commitment to the Champions Circle at our highest MVP Sponsor Level. It is forward commitments and partnerships like this that allows NCAHU to be the best we can be. I also want to thank Blue Cross of NC, United Healthcare and Aetna for their continued support during the pandemic. We are seeking Champion Circle Sponsors for the upcoming Medicare Summit. If you are a carrier in Medicare Market please give Dan or myself a call.
While I look ahead to my next phase on the board, Past President, Dan Odorizzi, is preparing for his role as President. Dan is a Health Underwriter veteran and has great vision for the association. Please give him the same support that you have provided me and I know he will take NCAHU to greater heights. Dan is supported by President Elect- Chris Ross, Vice President- Carol Matznik, Secretary- Michelle Reynolds- Presidents Council- David Smith, Financial Chair/ Treasurer- Blake Spell and Past (not dead) President- Andrew Kaiser. Thank you, thank you, to all those I have served with these past years on the board. I thank you for your support, talents and friendship. NCAHU Members...I will see you soon in some capacity of investment in NCAHU because the return on investment is just too good.
PS. I’ll Close (for the last time) by asking you this:
What Does your yield curve look like? Is it flatter thank you want it to be? Do you want to meet someone, learn something or have something to give? If so, invest in your industries leading trade association and I promise the return will profitable .