With apologies to Sarah Palin, how's that change thing working out for you?

The last year or so has delivered enough change and uncertainty to last a lifetime, thank you very much. A sputtering economic recovery. A far-reaching new law that remakes the health insurance business and creates both opportunity and peril for brokers and advisers.

So I'm dead serious when I ask you, how is it working out for you so far? Do you see opportunity or do you see peril? Have you shifted your business model to take advantage of the new reality? Or are you waiting for things to come into clearer focus?

As the new year begins, it looks like we're headed for more uncertainty, not less. Hiring is still lagging. Challenges to Obamacare's individual mandate are wending their way through the courts, and finding some measure of success. Efforts to allow individual states to opt out of many of the law's provisions are getting some traction. And as you may have heard, there have been a few changes on Capitol Hill. Figuratively speaking, all these developments will stir the pot at time when it might be better to take it off the stove and let it cool off a bit.

One thing remains the same, however: In terms of your business, it's still all about delivering more value to your clients. This is good news, since I'm guessing that's what you do best. Delivering value is what you built your business on and what drove your success.

This month's issue touches on two aspects of creating value. The first is the role that professional education plays in maintaining your edge. In our cover story, Peter Browne of Price Raffel and Browne - one of the most experienced hands you'll find on deck - shares his views on how professional education in general, and financial literacy in particular, are more crucial today than ever.

The second is creating value via a merger or business sale. This is the focus of a two-part series from Jack Kwicien that launches this month.

Maybe you think about how that change thing is working out all the time, or maybe you seldom think about it. Regardless of which camp you fall into, though, now is a good time to take stock of things. Start with an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Then look at the opportunities that health care reform has created in your market.

"Know thyself," Socrates said. You know what? He was right.

Questions, comments, ideas? E-mail me at john.ortman@sourcemedia.com.


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