Do you look at your own employee benefits program the way you tell your clients to? Building a culture of health and wellness in the workplace IS a business strategy.

Six years ago, we hired a registered nurse with a business background and over a decade of health plan experience. Our vision was to invest in the HEALTH of our client relationships by analyzing their demographics and identifying their health risk issues and claim cost drivers to help them ALL bring customized wellness programs to the workplace. We applied the same thinking to our agency as a business strategy. Why?

We are passionate about the power of consumer driven health and wellness Plans (CDHP) to lower health care costs – and wrote the book, Bend the Healthcare Trend. The principles that support this solution are undisputable and the plan construct (deductible and health care account) is well-intentioned to engage, educate and empower health care consumers. What most advisors and business leaders miss is the critical linkage between the health plan (CDHP) and building a culture of wellness to support that solution. “My people and budget are already stretched thin, is it expensive to build?”

Yes and no. Time and financial resources are required to build a culture of wellness. That said, we would argue the return on investment is greater than you can measure in pure claim dollars alone. Can we back that assertion up? I think so … here is our evolving story, maybe there is a take-away or two for you.

My business partner Jennifer Borislow, CLU and I own and operate Borislow Insurance in Methuen, Mass., just north of Boston. We have been in business for 30 years are blessed with a wonderful team of 32 financial and insurance professionals who are dedicated to making a difference in our client’s lives. We are the trusted advisers to over 350 clients and 30,000+ employees. Our environment is fast-paced and change is a daily event that can be pressure packed at times. We understand the demands of our business and the responsibility our team feels to deliver – that is also why we are passionately committed to investing in their health and well-being. What did we do?

Last year, we expanded our office space and built an on-site employee fitness center. To help our employee’s transition into the facility, we also hired a part-time personal trainer. Over time, we have seen less sick and personal leave, higher levels of productivity, better energy flow – and most importantly, a richer client experience.  

As a side benefit, our commitment is visible to the public through the Boston Business Journal (BBJ). Every year, the BBJ recognizes a select few small, medium and large businesses as Best Places to Work and Healthiest Employer. Last year, our firm was awarded this honor in the small group category finishing in the Top 10 in Best Places to Work and Top 3 in Healthiest Employers out of thousands of businesses that qualified. Last week, we were awarded 1st place in Healthiest Employers – a GREAT honor for our team…and our local market has definitely taken notice. I think it is safe to say this is an effective business strategy on multiple levels.

Bringing it all back to where we started…do you walk your talk? Do you look at health and wellness as a business strategy? If not, maybe you should give it a try…it is working for our clients and for us.

Gaunya, GBA, is principal at Methuen, Mass.-based Borislow Insurance. He can be reached at 978-689-8200 or


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