How do you stand out in the highly competitive industry of group health insurance or individual health consulting? Are you distinguishable from your competitors? Do you stand out among your colleagues at your place of employment? As brokers, agents, consultants and carrier representatives, we often have the same or similar insurance products as our competitors. Our clients often think of insurance products as commodities and follow the purchase path of lease resistance or price. I ask again, are you distinguishable from the competition? Websters defines Distinction as: dis·tinc·tion 1. a difference or contrast between similar things or people. 2. excellence that sets someone or something apart from others. 3. a decoration or honor awarded to someone in recognition of outstanding achievement. 4. recognition of outstanding achievement. Let’s admit it, in this world of digital communication overload, we can all use a little help in the area of distinction. Health Underwriters and the “All New NCAHU”, is here to help. Let me break down the definition in NCAHU terms. 1. Contrast between similar people- Just being a member of the premier trade association representing the health insurance industry provides a contrast of industry engagement from non-members. Being a member of Health Underwriters translates to instant credibility with clients, carriers, industry regulators and legislators. 2. Excellence that sets someone apart from others- Knowledge and education are the pathway to excellence in any industry but particularly true for ours. NCAHU has and will be providing applicable CE Courses and Certifications to keep you sharp and ahead of the competition. There are endless opportunities to become subject matter experts in compliance, technology, self-funding, worksite, wellness, and so on. Personally, the most distinguishable education I receive is the intellectual capitol that is shared outside of formal meetings or lectures but between NCAHU members at Symposium, Capitol Conference, and NCAHU events (Medicare Summit in development). Hearing the issues that other members face and how they solved them over a meal, a drink (of course sweet tea) or standing in the hall between meetings is valuable education. 3. Decoration or honor awarded for achievement- Health Underwriters offers many opportunities for this through the Registered Employee Benefit Consultant (REBC) Designation, Certification Courses, and “Promote Yourself” resources. 4. Recognition of achievement- Health Underwriters, NCAHU, offers many opportunities to be recognized for personal achievement . The award season runs from April 1st to March 31st of each year and the award submission season is upon us. If you are curious about awards opportunities check out the Awards At A Glance or contact Wes Washel (Past NCAHU President and Awards Chair) for more information. Other opportunities are Leading Producers Round Table (LPRT) for sales achievement and the Presidential Triple Crown for Health Underwriters participation. As you can see there are many opportunities for distinction within the Health Underwriter ranks. Taking it one step further the press releases and email signature badges are already developed and ready for use. And not to leave our valued carrier sponsors out of the fun, NCAHU has developed the Champions Circle Sponsorship Program to highlight carriers who shows marked superiority and support NCAHU in advocating for and promoting our industry. The Champions Circle is centered around sponsorship of all the NCAHU initiatives: legislative, professional development, and member and non-member outreach. If you are a carrier who would like to stand in the Champions Circle with NCAHU please let anyone on the Executive Committee know and we will be happy to provide you all the details. As this newsletter is released, we are on the eve of our Annual Capitol Conference held in Washington, DC. Roughly 1000 Health Underwriters will descend on Capitol Hill February 24th-26th. Please join us as we advocate to protect our clients and industry. This is also a rich time of professional development and relationship building among peers and carrier contacts . I thank you for being distinguished members of our association. I look forward to sharing with you in the next newsletter about Capitol Conference, Single Payor Health Care Certification Class (January 30th), Janet Trautwein’s (NAHU CEO) visit to NC, and other events in planning stages. PS: I’ll close by asking you this: Have you won a client with knowledge you learned through NCAHU? Have you won a client through an award or designation of distinction through Health Underwriters? If so, we hope that NCAHU has shown you value. If not, then take advantage of the opportunity to distinguish yourself from the completion and reap the NCAHU value.