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My Entrepreneurial Journey in the Employee Benefits Industry

David Reid, CEO of EaseCentral

My entrepreneurial journey began as a group sales representative for a life insurance company. I eventually went on to work as a health insurance broker for many years. During that time, I started finding ways technology could help me become more efficient and effective when working in the employee benefits and group insurance industry. 

Building strong relationships

When I started my career, I was determined to work my way up in an expedited manner. This brought challenges, as there are fine lines between friends, peers, mentors and competitors in the business world. I soon realized that relationships were essential to my success.

Rather than taking short gains at the cost of long term relationships, I chose to focus on my long game. I made certain not to make enemies or burn bridges. A competitor today might be an ally in the future.

I worked for Lincoln National Corporation for a short period as a benefit manager and later became a consultant and agent for Unison Benefits Management, a leading provider in the Minneapolis/St. Paul marketplace. I then went on to become a vice president and partner of Unison, Inc. These career opportunities allowed me to create strong relationships, some of which are still intact today. 

Solving your own problem

Throughout my career in the employee benefits and group insurance business, one theme remained: workflow inefficiencies within the industry. Brokers were bogged down with administrative tasks and held back from conducting their jobs effectively due to a lack of adequate technological resources. The result was lost time at the expense of productivity and profits.

However, I knew that a better way forward existed and refused to continue with the status quo. That’s how EaseCentral began. In 2015, I co-founded the company to create a small group solution that provides eligibility management features previously limited to enterprise solutions used by large employers.

Once I created the idea behind EaseCentral, I saw all the ways we could take this one step further. Our system allows employees to easily access to basic info that was previously difficult to organize when stored as hard copies including: staff directory, PTO requests, employee reviews and even information on the current health of the company. Our platform makes it easy to set up and manage benefits, onboard new hires, stay compliant and offer employees one destination for all HR information.

By creating this solution, our company has been able to become one of the most widely adopted and fastest growing solutions for brokers and employers in the West Coast area, with over 30,000 employers and nearly 1 million employee users.

Talking to your customers

Just as maintaining relationships with colleagues is key for an entrepreneur, so is creating open lines of communication with your customers. Relationships are valuable, and it is through maintaining them that we continue to grow, learn and evolve. By engaging with customers, we’ve been able to create a solution that we know matters most to them.

Recently, we decided to create a single mobile app that allows employees to perform HR and benefit functions, and provides access to plan information and health insurance cards without having to be online. Having access to benefit package information in the palm of your hands is a simple yet key improvement for employee. This kind of on-the-go, one-stop technology is exactly what our customers have asked for and what the industry needs.

Additionally, our consumers remind us what trends we should be leveraging. For example, we’re seeing major growth within human resources regarding telemedicine services. Such services allow an employee to connect with a doctor either online or via their mobile device to discuss medical information remotely. When done right, telemedicine can help brokers, HR admins, business owners and their employees.

I encourage budding entrepreneurs to keep their ear to the ground and listen to what their customers need. Maintaining this strong connection and relationship facilitates growth, helping leaders meet current demands and develop opportunities to take their business to new heights.

About the author: David Reid is the CEO of EaseCentral, a SaaS platform for human resources and employee benefits. David has over 30 years of experience in the employee benefits and group insurance industry and was one of the earliest adopters of technology as an integral strategy for employers in the late 1990s. 

Image Credit: David Reid