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When Scott Villamor's father lost his 19-story Las Vegas hotel and casino, Castaways, during the post-9/11 tourism slump, it was health insurance for employees that sealed the venture's fate, according to the 33-year-old benefits consultant.
Today, Mr. Villamor works for Leavitt Group's benefits services division in Las Vegas, trying to steer clients and provide solutions through the crippling issue of rising health care costs.
“I enjoy talking to business owners because I feel like I know what they are facing,” he said. “I don't want my clients taking unjustified risks.”
“I've never convinced someone to purchase health insurance if they didn't want it,” Mr. Villamor added. “I feel like I've never sold anything. I do a lot more through education, discovery, finding out what their needs are. ... I enjoy putting together a solution for them.”
Benefits consulting was a natural transition for Mr. Villamor, who started his career working in all aspects of the family business but discovered that he enjoyed working in human resources, helping to lead health-insurance rollouts.
Dave Johnson, a Las Vegas-based vice president at Leavitt Group's benefits services, said Mr. Villamor stood out at the onset. “(He) added a unique perspective and truly rounded out our agency in a way that left very few gaps in our consulting approach,” he said. “He has great insight that makes those needing help in this stormy benefits environment to feel very calm to know that they will be protected in the future.”
Clients praised Mr. Villamor for his unique ability to understand the business owner.
“We are constantly looking for cost reduction opportunities across our business, as well as ways to increase employee productivity and satisfaction,” wrote Adam Wood, controller for Henderson, Nevada-based rehabilitation center TLC Care Center. “Scott is ever mindful of our need to do more with less, and he has demonstrated his commitment to this need through his actions as well as his words.”
Where will the insurance industry find the leaders of tomorrow? That's been an ever-more-urgent question as baby boomers retire in increasing numbers. The insurance industry has to compete with other industries, some of which appear to be considerably more interesting and glamorous in the public eye, for the talent without which no industry can prosper or even survive.