In the immortal words of Albert Einstein, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”  Are you trapped in this pattern?  If so, embrace the guiding principle of evolve or perish to take your career to the next level.

As I travel the country, speaking with my colleagues at state and local health underwriter association meetings about surviving and thriving in a post-health care reform world — I am a little concerned.  Why?  There are just too many of us applying Einstein’s principle and not enough of us evolving the way we do business, in short, we have a self-image problem.

What we do for our clients is IMPORTANT and VALUABLE — we are the trusted advisers to business owners, CEOs, CFO’s and HR leaders for their 2nd or 3rd largest expense behind payroll.  We save our clients time and money by simplifying the complex, making the inefficient efficient and providing clarity where there is blurred vision. 

I think it is safe to say that most of the time government steps in to “help”  — no matter the intentions — they create more complexity, less efficiency and greater confusion for our clients.  On the surface, this kind of help sounds like a bad thing for us and frankly, some of it is.  On the other hand, it also represents tremendous opportunity to enhance our value and truly make a difference as we are only limited by our imagination.

You see, we have the opportunity to define and redefine our role in the market.  How?  One way to elevate the way we do business is to adopt the strategy of BOR (broker of record) or bust!  Employee benefit advisers are well-educated, licensed professionals, just like attorneys and accountants.  Clients buy our intellectual capital, not the products we place.  Next time you meet with a prospect, don’t agree to give away your knowledge by preparing an analysis and making a recommendation, instead, ask them to choose an adviser (you) BEFORE you do any work for them.  Offer as many references as they need to make that decision.  If they push back and say, “that’s not what I’m used to and not how everybody else does it” – agree and say, I’m not everybody else and I hope you will select me to be your adviser so I can help you.  If you don’t like the work I do, you can fire me at any time but I’m confident that won’t be the case. 

By employing this strategy, you will identify real prospects and screen out the suspects who in most cases will take your most precious assets … your TIME and INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL … and worse, they will give it to their current adviser.

Surviving and thriving in a post-health care reform world means doing things differently  start by refusing to work for free and believing that the value you provide is significant.  You will be amazed at what a little higher self-image will do for you.  Evolve or perish, it really is that simple.

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


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