I am a lifelong entrepreneur. I say that as if I’m in a 12-step program, and sometimes it feels like I just can’t help myself from wanting to start something new. I see things around me and think that they’d make a great business. Or I meet someone who has a successful, fill in the blank, and I picture how much fun it would be to do that. And I have in fact started, quit, succeeded and failed at many businesses in my lifetime. And each one has taught me and brought me to where I am today.
One of the lessons I’ve learned over time is that regardless of what type of business you have, there is an element of sales required of a business owner. And I’m not a salesperson. Never thought I was good at it and so it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. And yet now as an insurance broker I help people buy insurance. Definitely a shift in thinking and behavior. I’m still not a salesperson, but an advisor and facilitator.
Nevertheless, the combination of understanding how to run a business, caring about my clients and knowing the products that they need has enabled me to be good at sales. And a decent business owner.
I started McCormack Consulting Group in 2012 after my husband and I sold our portion of a family business in Colorado and moved to Chicago for his new position. I found myself unemployed and wondering what to do next. An entrepreneur’s dream! So, on the advice of a friend, I got a health insurance license. I suspected that because of the recent passing of the Affordable Care Act, that there would be a great need for knowledgeable, qualified individuals to help people understand the new health insurance reality. And it turns out that I was right.
So, I found myself in a new state, not knowing a living soul, and starting a new business with no customers. Could have been a disaster, but luckily it was not. I have built the business from 0 to about 750 clients in 6 years, which leaves me both proud and exhausted.
I initially learned about individual health insurance, but then because I was getting so many inquiries about Medicare, I became certified for Medicare products. Turns out I really like dealing with seniors and have brought my son Steven into the business to help with the individual markets, so I can focus more on seniors.
In the individual market, we help people who are not covered by job-based insurance to evaluate the different options available to them. We take a holistic approach when meeting with prospective clients because the financial, family and health history of an individual will help determine which type of insurance is best for them. Our goal is to make the process simpler and easier for the client.
For seniors turning 65, retiring or changing their existing coverage, we take a similar approach. Medicare is a much different product than people are used to and therefore more complicated and confusing. Often when they come to us they are frustrated and need reassurance and guidance to get into the right Medicare product. Again, our goal is to make the process simple and easy. And fortunately, it can be much less expensive than individual or even some group insurance so it’s a much less stressful conversation.
The third segment of the business is the small group market of employers with 2 – 50 employees. There are several good reasons for small business owners to consider offering insurance to their employees. In the past few years the cost of group insurance has remained relatively stable, but with the individual costs rising the group rates can be more competitive. There are tax benefits (be sure to ask your CPA about them) and better retention and recruitment making this an attractive option for small business owners.
Being in any business, particularly one that is as volatile as health insurance, means that you must be constantly evaluating where you are at any given time and ensuring that your clients have access to the most current and relevant information. It’s always interesting to try to put yourself on the other side of the table and see what others see. And to make sure they are seeing what they want and need. I am excited to be enhancing information and allowing greater functionality of my website. Please do stop over to www.mcginsure or www.mccormackconsulting.com and see what you think!
When I’m not helping people with their insurance or shamelessly spoiling my grandkids, you can find me in my (organic) garden, making jewelry, scrapbooks or cooking up anything from food to laundry soap. I’m also an obsessive label reader and environmentalist who believes in supporting local businesses. And I love to read. I have four children, and four grandchildren most of whom live in Colorado. My husband and I have settled in Schaumburg with our two youngest and happily go back and forth as much as possible.