Why the human touch is important with technology
For someone just out of his 20s, William Hampton Greene has some impressive numbers to bolster his lack of advanced years. His firm has seen 211% growth since 2014 with ten consecutive quarters of double digit growth. The 30 year old’s book of business is $1.5 million in worksite benefits and he has enrolled $30+ million in core benefits for broker partners in the last two years.
In 2016, he won the National Small Office of the Year for Colonial Life Worksite Benefits. He was also named one of Employee Benefit Adviser’s 20 Young Leaders in Benefits.
Not bad for a six year veteran of the benefits industry.
The 30 year old owner of Palmetto Benefit Solutions believes that his blend of technology with a human element gives him and his team an advantage over the competition. “In a time where everything is going towards automation, our firm feels that benefits need to maintain a human element/connection,” he says. “In doing this, our firm has helped brokers increase participation across their book of business and helped the companies maintain an important connection between their employees and the benefits that are being offered.
“In an industry that is used to things being done a certain way, we look to continue pushing the envelope of creativity and coming up with new solutions for our clients and new advisers that are joining our firm,” he adds.
This brings its unique set of challenges. Greene and his team have had to find the right blend of hand-holding with the broker technology platform. “It's going to be a combination [of new tech and human interaction] and that’s a fine line,” he says. “What we've seen is our clients like the thought of technology but they don't like what we would call the after-affects or the aftershocks of introducing that technology.”
“I think it’s finding that comfort level with your client and what they're wanting to utilize the technology for, and what the cause and effects of that technology are for,” he adds, that is important to Greene and his team.
As 2017 gathers steam, Greene has plenty of plans. His firm is looking to double its broker partners over the next 12 months and it’s opening a third office in South Carolina. “And we would like to hit 25,000 insured lives by the end of the year,” he adds.
When asked, what is the greatest challenge young advisers face today, Greene takes a long view.
"The greatest challenge young advisers’ face today is the ‘short-term/long-term’ dilemma. Do you make decisions that are best for your business zero to 12 months from now or do you make decisions that are most beneficial to your firm two to three years from today?” he says. “I think the ability to quickly analyze those decisions and act on them independently from one another is key.”
Fast is the new big, he adds. “In the past, the more resources, the larger the book, and the more employees a firm had mattered. Now, it's all about speed and our brokers and clients are starting to see that," he adds.