Explaining benefits in a politically-charged climate
When Lindsey Bush, account executive for Gregory & Appel Insurance in Indianapolis, entered the employee benefits business, it was an interesting time. The debate for what would become the Affordable Care Act was underway and it would soon change the way brokers did dealt with health insurance and their clients.
Working in a conservative state that has been skeptical of ACA and the president who proposed it, Bush often has to walk a tightrope with clients who have very strong feelings about the health plan and what will replace it.
“It can be difficult but our job is to educate. There are a lot of people who think they understand Obamacare and the ACA and think they understand what the Trump administration is seeking to accomplish but they're only educated as far as whatever media outlets they follow,” says the 31-year-old broker and Employee Benefit Adviser 2017 Rising Star in Advising.
Educating clients is one of her job’s key missions, especially when working with employers and clients who believe they understand the current plan. “I [take] a step back and listen to where they're coming from and then explain, ‘While I understand you’re politically charged this way, here's what we're actually trying to accomplish,’” Bush says.
Unlike the rollout of the ACA, which provoked plenty of questions from her clients, Bush says employers know that the final replacement of the ACA will change from the initial GOP plan that was introduced earlier this month once it reaches the U.S. Senate and ultimately the president’s desk.
“We have some clients that are always listening with their ear to the ground. They want to hear from you and ask, ‘What should we do?,’” she says. But this time, “I think we've been conditioned that not only the people in our industry but even the general public [realizes] that so much will change between what's proposed today and what will be enacted.”
She says clients are now more eager to read the fine print of the bill and what it could potentially mean.
“When the ACA really started impacting employers 5-ish years ago, I felt clients really wanted to make snap decisions and now I feel like people are a little more comfortable with the “let's see how this shakes out so that we can make a strategic decision” approach,” she says.
So far, it has worked in her favor. Bush’s book of business consists of $21.2 million in total premium after working the last 7 years at Gregory & Appel. She now works part time after the birth of her son Beckham.
Bush came into the employee benefits space while studying nursing at Ball State University. After her grandmother passed away, she found caring for the elderly during her studies proved too burdensome so she switched majors. She graduated and had hopes of working as a pharmaceutical sales rep when she attended a job fair. She interviewed with Sun Life Financial and soon started working in their Cincinnati office. After a year at OneAmerica, she sent a resume to Gregory & Appel after perusing the company’s website.
“Lindsey cuts through all the noise to find not only the right path forward, but the most effective one,” says Erika Cuadrado, brand marketing manager for Gregory & Appel Insurance. “Lindsey’s passion for client consulting allowed her to excel at Gregory & Appel Insurance where she advanced from account manager to senior account manager to account executive in just 4 years. In fact, Lindsey values her start from the ground up, because it has allowed her to understand the intricacies of our industry.”
“I am in an account executive role today and what that means I essentially have a block of business that I work on and grow,” Bush says.
“I've been climbing, climbing, climbing for the last 7 years so I feel like I'm in a really good place and surrounded by a lot of really great, smart people,” she adds.