This issue’s Coffee With brings together insurance executives
Kyle Cornelius is a partner of Lakeshore Benefit Alliance (LBA). After graduating from Ole Miss with a BBA in Economics, Cornelius began his career in the financial services industry as a financial advisor with Pittman Financial Partners. In 2008, Cornelius and several other advisors at Pittman Financial founded Lakeshore Benefit Alliance to focus more directly on employee benefits and health insurance consulting. Since its formation, Lakeshore Benefit Alliance has experienced tremendous growth, particularly in the area of health insurance consulting, where they are a leading expert on this subject.
Haig Wright II serves as president and CEO of Byars|Wright Inc., a family-owned and independent insurance agency with offices in the greater Birmingham area, and has more than 35 years of agency experience. Wright is also the current president of Alabama Independent Insurance Agents and a designated Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC).
A family man and father of four, he is a board member of the Bank of Walker County and actively involved with Rotary Club, Walker Area Community Foundation, and First United Methodist Church of Jasper. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama.
What are the biggest opportunities in your business these days?
Cornelius: Where there is uncertainty there is opportunity, and there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty surrounding the future of health insurance. What we have experienced lately in the employer health insurance market are rapid changes to health insurance options, skyrocketing premiums and increased out-of-pocket costs. In response, all of us at Lakeshore Benefit Alliance are working to develop creative ideas and products that will help our clients lower costs, knowing that their employees need their protection. Going forward, we understand that we operate in a marketplace that is overdue for change and we believe that one of our greatest strengths is our ability to remain nimble and quickly pivot when the marketplace demands it.
Wright: Opportunities in our industry, and specifically for our agency, lie in two areas: Agency mergers/ acquisitions, and producer recruitment. Byars|Wright’s growth over the last several years has come from both of these areas. We feel our agency culture is attractive to owners who are looking for ways to perpetuate their agency. We rely on our core values each day to help us build a company that others like to call home and believe we are a good home for producers to learn and to grow their book of business.
As a loss control partner for our clients, we continually look for ways to enhance our value-added services such as coverage analysis, loss control and claim advocacy. Our basic customer service standard will always be ‘treat others as you would like to be treated,’ and our company motto will always stand true: Relationships Matter.
What are the biggest challenges you are facing?
Cornelius: We have seen the options in the major medical insurance market narrow, and it is my opinion that this is largely due to over regulation. In today’s regulatory environment, major medical insurance companies are increasingly limited in their ability to innovate and create options for consumers. Ultimately, I think this “one size fits all” approach hurts the consumers, insurance companies, and healthcare providers in the long-run. But rather than sitting back and hoping things will magically improve, Lakeshore Benefits Alliance believes in a proactive approach, which is why we continue to develop solutions for our clients that give them the freedom to make their own choices and not rely on the government for answers.
Wright: As an industry, one of our biggest challenges is in the automobile line. Both commercial and personal automobile insurance is a challenge for insurance companies due to the increasing number of accidents. Unfortunately, this increase can be attributed to distracted driving. This is a challenge our entire country faces, and one that must be addressed to lessen the frequency and severity of automobile accidents. Until then, a rise in automobile liability rates is expected.