Partnering for excellence

EBA 2019 Adviser of the Year

Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila, both senior advisers at Arrow Benefits Group, are a dual threat and have had a busy year, partnering to launch their BenefitsTV video channel for YouTube and Instagram to spread the word on employee benefits. Besides sharing clients and collaborating on a host of projects, Avila also continues to lead Alianza, Arrow’s Spanish division, to provide consultative services to the growing Spanish-speaking community for health insurance and other benefits planning.

For some of this year’s honorees, the path toward becoming a benefits adviser and consultant seems happenstance. “I answered an ad for a customer service job,” Avila recalls of her start in the industry. “I didn’t choose the insurance life, the insurance life chose me.”

For others, they were born to it, with strong influences from family members. McNeil’s father founded Arrow Benefits Group and Andrew McNeil followed in his dad’s footsteps, and for Wellness Adviser of the Year Naama O. Pozniak, CEO of Paz Holding, it was an uncle who inspired her to own her own agency someday. Either way, it was the right choice for all, as they all took various roads to the top of the profession, which is why they have been recognized this year.

Honorees also include Beverly Beattie, CEO of Selden Beattie, representing voluntary benefits; Retirement Adviser of the Year Jewell Lim Esposito, a law partner from FisherBroyles; and American Benefits Consulting’s Jay Koppisety, chief digital and information officer and this year’s Technology Adviser of the Year. Technology’s impact on the industry was a theme many honorees mentioned, not just Koppisety, who sees artificial intelligence and the next generation of personalized mobile apps for benefits enrollment and engagement as vital new tools. “After internet, AI is the most disruptive innovation. It will interact with just about every aspect of the employee benefits world,” he says.

His best advice for young advisers? Understand that “nothing is truly black and white,” Koppisety says. “It’s important to understand the complex issues and expectations before delivering real answers.”

Bev Beattie sums it up simply: “Be a consultant first. Listen to the voice of the customer.”

Sound advice from experts who should know.

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