Voluntary Disruption

Season 3 Episode 30

Voluntary Disruption with Eric Silverman

Season 3 Episode 30


Intro/Outro: Welcome to the Insurance Leadership Podcast. The podcast designed to bring you perspectives and principles from leaders in the life and health insurance industry. We trust you will enjoy today's episode.

Ryan Eaton: Welcome to another episode of the Insurance Leadership Podcast. I'm Ryan Eaton, your host. And honored to have you listening in with us today. Today, we have a special guest, Eric Silverman, who is a specialist when it comes to enhancing benefits for employers.

You might've seen him as broker of the year. He's been in many different insurance publications. He's probably connected with about 70,000 brokers across the country on LinkedIn. He is a marketing guru. We are fired up to have him on the show today. And with that, let's get started. Eric, welcome to the show.

Eric Silverman: Hey, a pleasure being here. Thanks for having me, man.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah. Well, tell us where you're filming from today.

Eric Silverman: I am North of Baltimore, but just like anybody, when you say where you're from, I say Baltimore, even though it's not technically Baltimore.

Ryan Eaton: I get, I do the same thing out of Jackson, Mississippi. So, we're a little North. So I get that a hundred percent. Well, look, why don't we get started? I'd love to know a little bit kind of about your, your family and kind of your business, a little bit about more about you.

Eric Silverman: So I I was born for insurance, said nobody ever. I grew up outside of DC, not too far from here. And went to college in- outside of Baltimore. That's how I made my way up here. And I had an internship in the insurance employee benefits space, and I liked it and kept doing it after college, met my wife in college. And here we are, I'm 24 years in the business and two awesome kids and having fun.

Ryan Eaton: Man. I love it. How old are your kids?

Eric Silverman: My son just turned nine, two days ago from the day we're recording here. And my daughter is 14 and a half.

Ryan Eaton: 14 and a half. You're getting close to the driving ages.

Eric Silverman: Oh yeah, and the attitude's been there. Don't worry. That's all we're looking for.

Ryan Eaton: I love it. Well, so tell us a little bit, what brought you into the industry? What made you kind of during college, right after college, want to jump into that space?

Eric Silverman: You know, I- there was nothing that made me want to jump in the space. Nobody grows up saying they want to sell insurance, right? You know, I never said "mama, I want to sell insurance for a living". That never came out of my mouth. I promise you for me, it was an accident. I literally needed an internship. I needed something. That looked better on a resume than gas station and bowling alley. Those are the two places I worked at in high school and college. And I figured that wouldn't really get me far in the real world. So I accidentally hopped into a internship and it was a life changing to say the least because. I liked it. I enjoyed it. I was helping people. I made a lot of money, did a lot of good and decided to continue after I graduated.

Ryan Eaton: That's fantastic. How long have you been in the insurance business now?

Eric Silverman: Including the internship, which does count, 24 years.

Ryan Eaton: 24 years. Fantastic.

Eric Silverman: I started when I was seven.

Ryan Eaton: So let me ask you this, your business now, if I understand it correctly, you work mostly with brokers across the country and you've got some different websites, you've written a book on it, but about benefits or voluntary, ancillary, supplemental benefits that kind of people are working with. Do you do this all over the country? Are you specific to a region? Tell us a little bit more about kind of your business and your business model.

Eric Silverman: Sure. So, I'm a literally a national benefits brokerage. We're more considered, I guess we're considered more like a GA or an MGA of sorts, but we're not a medical brokerage. We're, we're not medical advisors. So naturally we're licensed and so forth, but, but we're not selling medical insurance in any capacity. We focus on communication and employee engagement as our lead, most advisors and brokers that partner with us. And that's all we do. You're spot on. We don't, by the way, to back up, we don't we don't go direct to the market.

So I have a lot of salespeople knocking on doors of business owners. So we only work through brokers and brokers bring us in candidly, Ryan, because the fact of the matter is they, to be candid, they suck when it comes to marketing. They are really good at designing medical plans. They're really good at helping employers save money and helping employees find the access to the highest quality care at the lowest possible cost.

But they're awful when it comes to marketing and communication and technology and engagement. And that's my bailiwick. I'm a marketing guy by trade. I went to school for marketing, not insurance. And what I do is I take my marketing profile and, and ability in the marketing sphere, social media, marketing, speaking, engagements, podcasting, you name it.

And I apply it to our employer group mutual clients. Cause look, here's the thing, ma'am. You could put in the most incredible, fantastic insert. Any superlative you want, you can put in the best plan ever. But if the employees don't understand it and if the employees aren't engaged and they don't give a crap then what's the point?

So we lead with communication and engagement That's the journey and the journey is far more superior than the destination The destination is important as it is don't get me wrong. It's vital. But the destination is Carrier product, price, rate lock, claims, do they answer the phone, do they email you back, are they good people?

That's important. I don't want anybody to confuse it, but that's the destination. The journey is far more superior. We've got to drill down to the employee level. And, you know, let's face facts, the employee is the true consumer of healthcare. They're the end user. So if you don't get the end user and their family, Properly communicated with and engaged, not just during open enrollment Ryan, but throughout the year, then you're wasting your time.

Ryan Eaton: Now that makes a lot of sense. So Eric, you worked at a carrier as well, if I'm correct, before starting your own company. And when you were doing that, did you see kind of how the company was missing the marketing side of it? And that's what kind of led you to starting your own business. What was it that was kind of your driver there to kind of leave that side of the space and kind of do it on your own?

Eric Silverman: Yeah. So I worked with a, with a large carrier for my whole career for 14 years of my 24 years. And that's how I got my feet wet, made a lot of money, made a lot of good friends, had a lot of fun, helped a ton of people probably made a ton of mistakes. I promise you but I was never an employee. So, I always owned my own business, had my own lease on the office space. Had my own payroll. Our payroll was hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, right out of my revenue for lack of a better term. And I wasn't necessarily captive, but I was it was a captive setting or a captive environment. They didn't really like it if you moonlighted, per se.

And I just realized there was more out there. I needed to open my eyes wider, expand if you will. And and yeah, I mean, marketing is paramount and the, the carrier I was with, the reality is. They were at the time relying way too much on their brand to get them through everything. And it helped, don't get me wrong, but you got to actually have a marketing strategy in place. It can't just be, Oh, we're the best product and we're the best carrier and we have the best rate. There's gotta be more substance than that. And that's where I realized the marketing. is the most important part. That's the journey, which again, I can't stress enough, far exceeds the destination.

Ryan Eaton: I agree with you on that, Eric. And let me tell you this, we got a lot of people listening on the podcast today who, you know, might be new to the insurance business. We've got carriers, we've got TPAs we, like you, FMOs or MGAs, GA distribution channels that are out there. For those who might be newer to the insurance industry. When we're kind of jumping in this today, we're speaking on kind of voluntary benefits and kind of getting down into some of the nitty gritty side of it. When someone asks, "Hey, what products are you talking about when you're talking about voluntary products?" How would you describe that to the guy who might be new in the business?

Eric Silverman: Well, first off, I think we go back to a word choice. Word choice proves paramount a hundred percent of the time. And I don't like the word voluntary. I think it's a dumb name for the industry. Somebody just randomly one day said that because these benefits happen, this set of benefits happens to be employee paid or employee funded, they're voluntary. I mean, I don't even understand that. We have clients that don't pay for health insurance. So is that a voluntary benefit?

We have clients that, that don't pay for the snacks in the soda machine. Is that a voluntary benefit? It's voluntary for me to be on your podcast. It's voluntary for you to have me on your podcast. Voluntary. If somebody wants to show up to work, granted, they want to get paid. They better darn sure show up to work.

Just calling an industry with a certain segment of products. Voluntary is got to be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. And by the way, Voluntary, it's an awful name and it sounds bad. Now think about this for a second, right? Voluntary, ancillary is worse, supplemental, worksite, right? This thing is, it's crap, right? Imagine the employee who learns about it. Hey, health insurance is the most important thing you can ever get. Did you want to get that ancillary stuff? There's some ancillary stuff. Ancillary and voluntary and supplemental and worksite. If you look up those things in the dictionary, websters.com or dictionary.com, it literally means second tier, third class citizen.

It is literally saying that these plans suck and you don't need it. I mean, that's not true. It doesn't literally say that, but that's what I hear. So, I renamed the industry that we're in to use more of an appropriate term. I like the term enhanced benefits because we're not looking to replace or change your medical plan. What we're doing is elevating it. We're enhancing your plan to fill in all the leaps and cracks and holes that your plan may or may not have, and we're strategically doing it to mitigate employer and employee overspend. And we're only strategically put it in the plans that make sense. So, you know, if they have a very robust.

medical plan self funded with all the bells and whistles you can imagine and then some, then I would argue there may not be need or room for a hospital indemnity type program. Right. So, and the list just goes on and on and on and on, but bottom line, and I've spoken on stages about it, I've written some major publications and big benefit magazines and over the years.

Ancillary sounds like a nasty tasting spoonful of medicine that you pick up at the cvs and you can't get your kids to take Why on earth would you ever refer to an industry as voluntary or ancillary? So, I digress. If you can tell I'm passionate about that subject.

Ryan Eaton: I love it, Eric, that- I haven't heard it described like that. But I- I remember when I first got into the business and someone was talking about ancillary benefits.

I was like That sounds awful, and so but I've never heard anyone publicly be able to kind of go through it like that. I love how you said that. So, so let me ask this, you're doing business across all 50 states, a lot of different product lines to be able to enhance the employer, the employee's experience inside their, their health program. How do you do that when you're looking across country, right? Like I know in Mississippi, You know, we kind of have a set benefit structure. Michigan looks at things differently. Florida then California, you know, you see it all over the place. When you're trying to look at that, how do you analyze an employer or an employee's benefit package to be able to help, you know, enhance their benefit program, because it's not just a... you know, one size fits all type approach. How are you doing that to be able to compare and shop to make sure you're bringing the best products to market for those groups?

Eric Silverman: What you just said is the key. It is not a one stop shop benefits approach to every single company gets the same cookie cutter benefit. And that's one of the big reasons why I left the carrier world too, among many others good, bad, and indifferent, the reality is, they're pretty textbook. Most carriers are pretty boilerplate standard stock shelf plans. We filed in this way, take them or leave them. Can't do much to them. I don't believe in that.

And I'm not, I follow my own sword. I sold them and made a lot of money. And I do think I helped a lot of people. But when I look back, I realized that that one stop shelf product is not for everybody. So when we're out there in the market and we literally are in every state, we're licensed in every state.

We have business in almost every state, probably every state. The reality is. It has to be strategic and it has to dovetail and mingle and mesh directly with the medical that is already in place. And again, we're there to enhance it. So we're picking apart the medical to figure out where we can find areas to improve.

And sometimes it's not a it might not even be an actual insurance regulated product. Maybe it's a non insurance or non medical product that is more of a value add or more of a a solution provider driven product. And as far as the state regulation, laws and rules, it's not complicated. The reality is you ask for what you are looking for, ideally in a perfect world to whatever carriers you're looking to, and they will based on state law and loss ratios and their filings, they will provide to you what they were able to provide. So in essence, you're working backwards. You start with what you want. And then you work backwards to figure out where you can where you can end up.

Ryan Eaton: That's good. So Eric, a broker comes to you, he's, you know, pick a state, Ohio, wherever the case may be. He says, I'm working with X, Y, Z group. I've got the medical program figured out. You know, we had to raise the deductible because, you know, they were getting a rate increase and the employer only had X, Y, Z to be able to spend.

What's kind of your model in working with that broker? Or what should the broker expect who may be coming to you? And trying to figure out kind of what he needs to be able to help kind of put a program together with your organization to kind of talk shop.

Eric Silverman: The key is really more so you can't solve an insurance problem with more insurance.

So here's the thing in that example, it's just an example. I hear that example all the time. It's a great example. But when you have an employer, small, mid, large or mega size, and they are raising deductibles. And pulling levers and pushing buttons trying to make it more affordable for the employer They're in essence making the employee benefit worse for the employee the true consumer of health care the end user You raising the deductible to put in a bunch of employee funded enhanced benefit Is not really the exact answer that should be happening there.

So most all of our broker advisor partners Are working in a space where they're able to design from the ground up a plan that literally has zero or next to zero copay and deductible where those old school levers and buttons to be pushed don't even need to be there. They don't exist. Do we have some, some brokers where ultimately they're, they're still doing some more fully insured stuff with some of the Lucas, absolutely.

And there's still things we can do for them, but the reality is it's all got to be custom and it's all got to be bespoke. So as a company, we have kind of a, a line drawn in the sand where we refuse to use shelf product. Everything we do is custom per group. And that means. If a broker has one electrical contractor with 50 people and they have another electrical contractor competitor up the street with 50 people, that's great, but that does not mean they're going to have identical plans.

Ryan Eaton: No, that's good. So marketing is kind of your specialty and you, you've done a great job at that. And then just looking at your website and saying the book you wrote and everything else you've really done. You're very good at that. When you're presenting to employers, when you're working with agents and let's, let's actually go towards the employer client route, maybe the employee, the employer, a lot of times people will talk in spreadsheets, right?

And to me, you know, when you get the spreadsheets, it's like... I hate looking at spreadsheets, much less if I got to make a big decision and it's got 13 tabs at the bottom and we have to look through every single tab to figure it out. What do you feel like is the best way to be able to communicate to an employer or employee to help them really, truly, like you said earlier, get and understand the insurance because if they don't understand at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what they have. Something's going to go wrong. Claim may not get filed. They don't show their card when they need to, or they show the wrong card to the wrong provider or whatever the case may be. How have you found in your experience to talk with the employer and employee in a method that they'll understand?

Eric Silverman: Well, here's the thing, right? When it comes to the way that we sell it or the way that we explain it, you really got to change the conversation. And what I mean by that is I don't spend a lot of time. Talking about the benefits. Now I know that sounds crazy. Anybody listens about the hang up, but give, give me a minute. And here's where I failed.

I'll tell you where I failed and where we succeeded. And I learned the hard way. So when I left the carrier world, I was used to talking about products and benefits and features and rates and all the fun crap that, that we think we as industry professionals think matter.

And when I got into the real world outside of the carrier, "Hi, my name is Eric. I'm a recovering carrier rep." When I got out of the carrier world. I realized quickly that's all the same. It's the same noise they hear. I'm no different than any carrier person or any broker telling them the same story. So when I started spending and not every calls an hour, but just as an example, let's say it's an hour call with an employer.

When I started spending 45 to 50 minutes talking about benefits and features, I wasn't making really any sales and I was boring people to death and I was getting the old, Hey somebody's in another room. I gotta go. Because I was spending five or 10 minutes talking about the enrollment and the technology.

When I flipped it, journey first, destination a distant second. The journey being technology, communication, engagement, marketing, messaging, podcasts, webinars, how we actually get the engagement needle moved. We had a captive audience. We have employers, HR teams, CEOs, C suite. They are not hanging up the Zoom or the Teams call.

They are excited to chat and at the end of that call they always say, how do we pay for all this? How much does this cost? My response is there's no cost to you as an employer because we work all this together for you using some of the compensation we receive on these programs and We absolutely asked some of our carrier partners for tech enrollment and implementation credits, and they're happy to do so.

So when I flipped that conversation on its butt, what happened was we had captivated employers who are now excited to hear about what we had to do and how they get there. They don't care at that point. As long as the bottom line, the benefit is richer or comparable. As long as the rate is rich is better or comparable.

As long as the rate lock is longer than what they already have or the same. They don't mind and they're happily, easily able to move. They just want to make sure certain things still add up. They want to make sure that their carrier EDI feed and 834 file connects to Employee Navigator or Ease or Solarix or, or Paylocity or ADP or any of the billion different systems that are out there, right?

Right. Look, you said it earlier, spreadsheets suck and we agree. You win a case and you lose a case based on the bottom line. So you might win the case today based on the bottom line at the end of a spreadsheet, but you're going to lose it tomorrow if all you're doing is using a spreadsheet because somebody else is always going to come in and do it cheaper.

So our value and the reason our retention is sky high with brokers and their employer group clients is because we're doing a heck of a lot more than spreadsheet.

Ryan Eaton: Eric, what percentage did you say, and I don't need an exact number here, what percentage of your groups are using, you know, the EASE employee navigator platforms that you're working with today?

Eric Silverman: A hundred. A hundred percent? Yeah, a hundred percent. And I don't care if it's a three person company or our largest company, which has more than a few thousand people. We have companies, three, four, five, ten thousand people. You've got to have a bad admin system for enrollment. And by the way, to be clear, because a lot of your audience won't know.

It's not easily clear, unless I say it. We are not an enrollment firm. We are not an enrollment firm. Let me repeat that one more time. I am not have independent... 1099 or employee contractors around the country ready to spoon feed people and sell them stuff. They don't need I don't believe in enrollment firms 100 of our business is self serve technology aided through technology that is messenger based so I can The example is on my mind.

We just finished. We have a 300 person case based out of florida The executive CHR is out of Canada and her generalist is out of Seattle. They have people scattered around the country. We took that case over for a broker, the health broker. He handles health, do everything else. When he took that case over Ryan, they had 74 people enrolled on medical 74 out of about three 50.

Okay. He did not have time to put in a fancy new plan. He took it over as is, and he's working on doing some creative things now. At the end of the enrollment, no call center, no one on one enrollers, no enrollment firm, 100% in this case happened to be employee navigator. It could have been any system. Yeah.

In this case that he ended up getting more than 190 people participating in medical. So he more than doubled his income and revenue on medical alone, just based on our marketing strategies. And people buy, as night follows day, people enroll in all the enhanced benefits that you can imagine, and there was no force, there was no pushing sales people, there was no call center, we get those results all the time, which is why brokers continue to bring us business, because he was already going to make a lot of money, 74 people.

Now he's making a lot more than he anticipated just because of the way we communicate.

Ryan Eaton: Now, Eric, that's, that's a great point on that one. You can see obviously the success from that group, right? What would you say is, are some of the things that you can look at on kind of your average case that may not be a 74 to 190 right on the medical, but evaluating kind of the metrics, the measurements to be able to make sure employees are happy, employers are happy, HR. What are some of the engagement tools or the measurement tools that you use to be able to make sure everything's a success?

Eric Silverman: So that example is a great example for the broker, but, and the employer loved it because they wanted to encourage people to get on medical. But I've had groups do the opposite where they say, look, we can't afford, if we have a hundred people, we have 30 on medical.

If we have 60 more people by medical, we can't afford it as a company. So how do you help us? So the conversation now changes. To we will focus intently on the people that have it, but we're going to communicate the other benefits more, more times the employee funded enhanced benefits. So that way we're not adversely affecting your budget.

So you, there's, it's gotta be a strategic alignment between me and the employer group and the broker to make sure we're fulfilling what they actually When it comes to the tools frankly, most of the tools are free. You just have to put some time into putting them together. Now my firm specializes in it.

That's why brokers bring me aboard. We do a revenue share on all the enhanced benefits, and it's a win win across the board. And we handle the technology, the build, employee navigator ease. Heck, I mean, we don't have time today and that's fair, but I have an entire separate business that's a consulting business where we have carriers and GAs and solution providers and vendors.

They hire me and my marketing team to help them get their brand in the marketplace because their biggest struggle is frankly, meeting brokers. And I'm having, I happen to be connected to nearly 70, 000 brokers on social media. So I can introduce them and they pay me a consulting fee to do that. So two sides of the business, both in the marketing genre.

Ryan Eaton: Well, Eric, I think you have positioned yourself fantastic with the technology and the products and being able to simplify things for employers. How do you evaluate new trends maybe that are coming to market? You know, 20 years ago, ease probably wasn't even around. I don't know when their company was found or anything.

Eric Silverman: Yeah, they just sold the employee navigators.

Ryan Eaton: That's right. So with ease employee navigator, whether it's, you know, I solved or whoever the company may be, they weren't around, right? And so how are you proactive in knowing which opportunities make sense for employers and employees versus which ones are just time wasters? What do you go after? What are some of the things that, that click for you? Hey, this is something we need to implement.

Eric Silverman: Well, I mean, I get messages just like anybody on social media and emails and phone calls from solution providers and carriers trying to pitch me on their product and their service and their technology every day.

I don't meet with all of them. I can't meet with all of them. But the keys that I look for when evaluating the market and we do that strategically, we have to, the key is I'm never going to work with a carrier that's new to the market, brand new. I'm never going to work with a, with a solution provider.

That's a startup brand spanking new. They've got to have a runway. They've got to have a track record. It's just a personal thing. I'm not going to put my reputation and clients at risk. Without me fully vetting it. So, ultimately I'm, what's the saying in the world? You're a first mover or you're a laggard and come up at the end.

I'm neither. I'm right in the middle. So, you gotta show me a track record that you're financed capital wise. I mean, I've had partners tell me that they put in the next best creative whiz bang amazing TPA partner they could ever imagine. Yeah. And it sounds too good to be true. It typically is. And a year later, they're out of business.

They don't have any more funding. The PE company fired them and they're out. And now the broker is left holding the bag. The employer is in a worse position and everybody gets fired. So i'm never going to be that guy who recommends bringing in a brand new strategy until it's vetted And when it comes to the trends, you just got to listen to your clients So one of the key power questions I encourage all of your listeners to add to their repertoire This applies to a salesperson selling to brokers This applies to brokers selling to employers and everybody in between.

If you're not already asking a question to your prospect, as such, Change it. And that question is not even hard. The question is Mr. Miss employer, Mr. Miss HR person. What's on your benefits wishlist in a perfect world? We don't live in a perfect world, but in a perfect world, if money was no object, what's on your wishlist?

What's something your employees asked for that you wish you could provide. You just have no budget for what's something that you've dreamt of providing something you saw on a commercial one day that you would love to bring in employer or employee funded or a combination doesn't matter. Take money out for a moment and just tell me what's on your benefit wishlist.

I tell them all the time. I can't promise them that I can do it. I might not be a specialist in it. But let's talk about it. Mm-hmm. , because more often than not, we have ways that we can help check off some of those things on the benefit wishlist, but those things never get talked about unless you ask about them.

Ryan Eaton: Are there any future trends or anything you see coming new to the voluntary space or the enhanced space, or to the insurance space, whatever it may be, that hey, It's not very big right now, but I think in five to 10 years, maybe AI or something along those lines that you see is something coming that will be a big trend in the industry.

Eric Silverman: Yeah. I mean, there's always stuff. I mean, I get stuff all the time. I think you know, I got pitched I'm not going to name the company cause it's, it's not fair professional, but I got, I got pitched a new segment to the industry for an employee funded benefit. That I just wasn't understanding. I mean, I understand it, but I wasn't digging.

It didn't click. I just didn't get it. And and that was years ago that was selling homeowners insurance and car insurance through payroll deduction at the workplace. I know it's an industry. I know there are carriers that do it. God bless them I just haven't gotten on that train yet We have enough challenges fixing bills and invoices and problems with the stuff that we are experts at We don't need to add things like that to the mix right now And until or unless it continues to be asked for and it hasn't been never had anybody asked actually unless that happens It's not going to be something I'm ever going to be talking about things like car warranties at the workplace through payroll deduction.

You know, these are just things that are out there. Those two happen to involve cars, but it's a coincidence. Fertility is something I get asked about all the time But the problem is the market isn't ready for it because they're not ready to go downstream typical fertility benefit company You need to have at least a thousand employees And the and I got companies that have 10 people and I got companies that have a hundred and everything in between And there's nobody out there that's fulfilling that segment of the market yet.

So that's an upcoming one pet benefits has been huge. We're doing a lot of pet insurance and pet benefits And pet coverage identity theft is still huge. Legal is huge again There's always going to be something new and then artificial intelligence. I mean look I use as a company We use it for marketing all the time We use chat gpt when we're writing script for our employers and we're writing text communication and email communication We used to hand write it all and I thought we were good at it Until I let the robots take over and now they do it. They do it better and they do it for free And it's quick and it takes no time. So if you're an advisor, a broker, a salesperson, not using Chat GPT, I would double down on that right away.

Ryan Eaton: Eric, you're going to laugh at me. But today, so you typically spend about 20, 30 minutes thinking through each podcast, just kind of with the questions we want to ask, talk about, et cetera.

My brother here is kind of in our technology side of the organization. He said, man, try to run that through Chat GPT. So literally all the questions today we're talking about. Was Chat GPT driven and it was amazing. It took 30 seconds to type in the question, I think, and then populate and remove some questions, add some wording. It was unbelievable. I'm with you on that. I encourage everyone to look at it.

Hey, look in conclusion here, we're getting close on our time limit. We have carriers that are listening in and If you were saying something directly to the carriers out there that you're hearing in the market as a need, you're hearing at the market if you wish carriers would maybe think more from a consumer perspective on this or that, how would you address that?

Eric Silverman: One thing that just stopped my mind because it just happened is we still have too much entitlement in our industry on the carrier world and you say, well, what the heck does that mean? Well, we're a national brokerage, we're a GA of sorts. And. I don't care where I live or where I work and I don't care where the broker partner works.

And I don't care where the employer group of site is. The reality is we have our relationship. We're a relationship business. So give you an example. We just did a 450 person account. They have a we're recording this year in August. They're an eight one effective date. So we did the enrollment in July and it was fantastic.

It was a home run in all sense of, of a home run as a grand slam. And I worked through our carrier partner who happened to be out of Southern California. The group is based out of Kansas. I'm based out of Baltimore and the broker's based on North Carolina. That's a lot of geography. One of the local carrier reps for the broker got wind of it and demanded that he gets a piece of the entire pie and takes it over and all service should now go out of North Carolina.

And I, I said, well, I don't even understand this is a broker. So you understand Ryan, who literally has never quoted or done a nickel of business with this carrier. The only reason this carrier has this new group is because of my relationship with my connection out of Southern California, who is allowed to write anywhere in the world that he wants and they do a damn good job for us.

We do millions with this carrier. But this carrier manager, for lack of a better term, he makes up what I call the 80% of the 80 20 rule. And that 80% is typically filled with entitled carrier reps that are territory and geography based that are scared and they, they have more of a scarcity mindset versus an abundant mindset.

And that just irritates the crap out of me. So, every carrier I deal with typically has those geographic borders and territories in place. And I get it when you're making cold calls, but when we're in a relationship driven world where everybody is working virtual, and frankly, with me being connected to 70, 000 people or followers on LinkedIn, I got brokers coming out of the woodwork that want to work with me.

I don't give a crap if they live in Alaska, I'm in Baltimore. And if they're working with me, I'm going to use anybody I want, but I'm not going to start a relationship with 50 different carrier reps in every single state for every single carrier. I just would never do that. So there's a weird answer to your question, but if I was a carrier trying to revamp some things moving forward, I would understand and internalize that relationships are what matters. Geographic borders don't matter when it comes to the relationships.

Ryan Eaton: Ah, I agree. That was, that was great. I appreciate you saying that, Eric. In closing, if someone wants to reach out to you, they want to touch base, want to find out more about your organization and maybe how you can help with some of their business, where should they go?

Eric Silverman: You know, we're salespeople. We're not hard to find. That's right. So I'm on LinkedIn. I'm pretty big. That's my main communication channel. We're not already connected or you're not following me or vice versa. Make sure you send a note over to me on LinkedIn. I'm easy to find Eric Silverman or you can email me eric@voluntarydisruption.com. Website is voluntarydisruption.com. People might say well if you hate the word voluntary, why is it in your title? Well, it's because it's voluntary disruption and it's a subtlety to the logo If you look at my logo, the word voluntary has a subtle line crossing out the word voluntary If you don't look at it, you don't even notice it, but that's on purpose.

Just like the Amazon logo, the A to Z is a smile face, right? I'm not that creative, but my logo designer was pretty cool. And she said, you hate the word volunteer. I said, yeah, she's like, but you want to use the word volunteer. I'm like, yeah, she's like, let's cross it out. Nobody really, really, really noticed, but it'll make a cool story.

And then if you're not already following, we interview carrier executive, we are your solution providers. We interview more brokers and advisors than ever before. We have our weekly podcast called Rockstars Rocking. You can check that out. Rockstars Rocking, all spelled the way it sounds, rockstarsrocking.com available anywhere you consume podcasts, Apple, Spotify, YouTube, you name it.

Ryan Eaton: Oh man, Eric, thank you for that. I appreciate it. Can't tell you how much you gave some really good information today. And I thank you for being on the show, but with that, we'll wrap it up. Thank you everyone for listening. It's an honor to be here with you and remember a good plan today is better than a great plan months from now. Thank you very much!

Intro/Outro: Thank you for listening to today's episode of the Insurance Leadership Podcast. Make sure you subscribe on your favorite podcast app so you'll be notified of future episodes or stream online at insuranceleadershippodcast.com.