Future Opportunity

“Foolish.” Not a word I would use to describe Rob Lieblein, managing partner at Hales & Co. And yet he was called that and more after his article on the future of the group benefits brokerage model [“Abandon Old School Ways,”] ran in our March issue. The story outlines his vision of how brokers need to change with the consumer-driven times.

Government reform is just the beginning, he says, and brokers need to wake up to that fact. “None of us,” he says, “can survive under a model based on reactive treatment rather than prevention.” 

So in this issue, he takes his vision to the next level and predicts Wal-Mart and Google will be stepping into your benefits space. Are you ready for that? I thought not. The old benefits brokerage model is dying, he says, and he explains what you can do to remain a vital asset to your clients.

Opportunity Surfaces

If you enjoy going to outdoor concerts, you may not be aware of the extra scrambling going on behind the scenes this summer to make them happen. Much of the equipment that appears on stage with various acts—from electric guitars and other musical instruments, to amps, speakers and microphones—was destroyed in a flooded warehouse in Nashville, Tenn. This has especially hit hard for many country music acts who will be on the road this summer, but all types of bands lost equipment.

Nashville, as you may know, was blasted by an extraordinary weather system in May that struck incredibly quickly. Within a day, flood waters were spilling over dams built especially to cope with floods. Not a pretty sight.

Many people who had no idea they were in harm’s way, found out too late they were living and working in flood zones. That’s why updated flood maps are so important, especially to brokers who can use them to their clients’ advantage. Contributing writer Joanne Tennenbaum examines how you can save your client money by directing them to buy flood insurance now.

Golden Opportunity

For the second time in our seven-year history, Leader’s Edge picked up five Excel awards at the annual Association Media & Publishing gala. We walked away with two golds, two silvers and one bronze—not a bad evening’s work.

We are especially proud of our Entertainment Editor Becky Squires, who won a gold award for her piece on insuring the movie business, “The Dark Side of Fantasy Land,” in our October 2009 issue. Let’s face it, it’s not easy to win a writing award when writing about insurance. Judges tend to snooze when they realize what the topic is. But Becky’s feature was such a compelling read that she managed not only to hold the judges’ attention, she captured it! Well done.

We also received a gold Excel award for general excellence—the combination of design and editorial. This was our second year in a row to win this gold award (we won a silver three years ago), and it shows off the strength of not only our design team at Eason Associates, but our unsung editors, Managing Editor Leslie Hann and News and Copy Chief Maureen Brody.

We also won two silver awards for design: the cover illustration, “Jackie’s World” of broker Jackie Gould in our March 2009 issue, and a silver for overall magazine design excellence. And finally we received a bronze Excel Award for feature story design for “Obama, O’Canada, Oh No!” in the September 2009 issue.