Technology key to success for Mid AmericanPosted On: Nov. 14, 2011 12:00 AM CST
WESTMONT, Ill.—Once again, Mid American Group Inc. tops the list as the most productive broker in the United States—for an impressive sixth year in a row. How does the company do it again and again?
Michael Booth, executive vp of the Westmont, Ill.-based insurance brokerage and employee benefits consultancy and administrator, chalks it up, in part, to leveraging best-of-breed technology to operate with the greatest efficiency possible.
“We look at ourselves as technical brokers,” said Mr. Booth, who was regional vp of sales for the human resources/payroll division of Ceridian Corp. before joining Mid American. “Most everyone here, including myself, comes from a technical background. We're a highly technical organization, and this guides us to acquire the latest and greatest versions of technology solutions to increase our efficiency in providing our products.”
As an example, Mr. Booth noted the firm's continual investments in Web-based human resources information system tools to manage Mid American's payroll, benefits administration, open enrollment and compliance, and in turn leverage this system for its mid-market clients' needs, as well.
For instance, it administers health care flexible spending accounts and COBRA continuation coverage in-house with the Web-based technology for clients.
Mid American also has invested in mobile electronic solutions that allow its field underwriters to interact with the insurer community, whether in the office, on the road or at the client's location.
It also continually beefs up its actuarial services to clients. In the past year, the firm drew hundreds of clients and prospects to actuarial seminars on health care reform and the feasibility of self-insuring. “The feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” Mr. Booth said.
Add it up with other cost-saving and productivity-building measures, and Mid American breaks the tape once again. With $5.8 million in revenue last year generated by a staff of 15, this works out to $386,743 in revenue per employee of the firm.
Behind these numbers, however, is the impact on the firm's clients. Mid American's efficiency equates to more dollars that can be directed toward client services.
“We've taken this machine of incredible productivity and efficiency internally and geared it up to provide more and better services for our clients, which then equates to greater client retention,” Mr. Booth said. “In other words, by being the most productive and efficient broker, this translates into providing what we consider to be the best value-added services in the brokerage community.”
“Our clients are confident in our ability to get the job done, as they know they have an efficient partner working for them,” he added. “By being the most productive, it also allows our people to focus their efforts on educating and consulting our clients on their cost-reduction strategies and compliance needs.”
Some other productivity enhancements in the recent past that may help the brokerage in the future include its Performance Standards Fiscal guarantee, a service-level agreement promising that the firm will meet all client-oriented deadlines, such as those involving renewals. It even guarantees that employees will return a phone call within 24 hours.
Not surprisingly, Mid American has implemented technology in-house to ensure accountability in this regard. “If we happen to miss a deadline, there are teeth in the agreement—a financial penalty we agree to pay,” Mr. Booth said.
And they rarely pay a cent.
This article appears in a special editorial feature 'The Business of Better Broking,' which includes profiles of the most productive agents and brokers, exclusive rankings and more. Download a PDF version here.