Crooning about coverage: Consultant explains healthcare in Sinatra parodies

To most people, health insurance and Frank Sinatra are an unlikely duo. But for Chris Yarn, they go together like love and marriage.

As a child, Yarn was a singer and trombone player in Sonny LaRosa’s America’s Youngest Jazz Band, a Florida-based traveling jazz group for children ages 7 to 13. He toured with the group for four years and at age 12, performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

He’s since retired from performing jazz, and is now a consultant and CEO of Walk On Clinic, a mobile preventative healthcare company that brings primary care physicians to employers. But he hasn’t forgotten his passion for music. In April, he decided to combine these interests by creating Frank MicDroppa, an online persona played by himself, who sings about healthcare and benefits to the tune of Frank Sinatra songs.

“No one else is doing anything like this in the insurance industry space,” he says. “So I’ll be who I am and try to deliver a message and some humor through song, and hopefully it influences change in the industry.”

Yarn has so far produced four videos covering Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase’s healthcare partnership (to the tune of “Strangers in the Night”), a song about self-funding health insurance (“Fly me to the Moon”), and one on insurance benefits (“One Note Samba”). He writes, produces, sings and films the videos himself, and shares them on various social media outlets, including the Frank MicDroppa LinkedIn page, which has more than 1,000 connections. His most popular video, the self-funded song, has more than 6,000 views on YouTube.

“Frank MicDroppa is way more popular than Chris Yarn,” he says, laughing. “It’s already way more popular than myself, which is funny.”

David Contorno, founder of benefits consulting firm E Powered Benefits, was featured in Yarn’s most recent video about saving money on health insurance to Sinatra’s “The girl from Ipanema.” The pair filmed the video during the National Association of Health Underwriters conference in Kansas City in June. In the video, MicDroppa is featured as a chief financial officer exasperated by high insurance costs, and Contorno plays a consultant who helps him find ways to save money. In the video Contorno sings, “take off the blinders and put in these contacts now let us review this fine print in your contracts — ASO, PBM, PPO, you can see where the money goes.”

“This is definitely the first time that I’ve done a music video,” Contorno says.

Yarn and Contorno recorded the audio for the song in a hotel room, propping a mattress up against the wall to act as a sound absorption panel. Contorno says he thinks the videos could help spread the message to younger brokers that insurance can be interesting and maybe even a little fun.

“There’s not a lot of younger people,” he says. “[But] this has the potential to bring [them] into the industry.”

Yarn says that MicDroppa has grown from a marketing tool into a way to showcase industry trends. He hopes it will encourage advisers — and employers — to pay attention to changes in healthcare. Brokers should focus on innovation and ways to reduce costs because many top companies are starting to look elsewhere for ways to reduce astronomical healthcare prices, he explains. He points to the national healthcare debate and big partnerships like Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase as disrupters that may impact the industry moving forward.

“I believe if the insurance industry does not get on the same page with what is happening at a national level, we’re not going to have an industry anymore,” he says.

Moving forward, Yarn says he’ll be creating more videos, possibly expanding beyond Sinatra. He’s thinking about doing a cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He also filmed a video at the Benefits Forum & Expo in New Orleans, an Employee Benefit Adviser and Employee Benefit News-sponsored event that he will be posting in the coming weeks. For now, he hopes the videos will be a way to bring advisers across generations together to discuss industry issues.

“I look at it as, are we bringing people the right message, can we help them and can we make the people in this industry feel valued?” he says.

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