Meeting the needs of employers in coal country
Specializing in coal country, Taylor Lindsey looks to drive down costs and improve communication for his clients who work primarily in the energy industry in the southwestern portion of Virginia, southern West Virginia and east Tennessee.
“A big struggle in the energy sector is cost containment. Once you get past that battle, communication and having their employees understand what benefits they have and how they could utilize and access it” are also important, says the 2018 Rising Star in Advising.
While other employers worry about retaining talent, Lindsey’s clients are typically well paid. He adds that his book of business — which tallies just under $500,000 annually — also includes manufacturing, banks, truck stops and other regional firms. EBA chose the 29-year-old partner for Employee Benefits Consultants, Inc., a Richlands, Va.-based brokerage started by his great grandfather, as a Rising Star after a month-long online nomination process.
Lower prescription and medical costs with improved communication are important to the employers in “what used to be considered the Little Pittsburgh of the South,” he says.
While pet insurance and tuition payment programs are not on his clients’ radar, he says they do see the benefit of offering virtual doctor visits. “We're moving toward some other strategies and looking into better access at lower cost for employees. The telemedicine drum’s been beaten for many years but it works,” he says.
“I think that the biggest thing we're seeing from our clients is better access to better benefits for lower cost. Obviously that's a great theory and not always the easiest to do, but once we understand where they are, then we can focus on what else needs to be brought to them.”
Lindsey has been an adviser for the six and a half years. He now works from his home and says that along with the work-life balance, he cherishes finding the right solution for his clients.
“A lot of times the clients don't know what they don't know until they're presented with this information and it starts to drive a deeper conversation,” he says.
Also see: “2018 Rising Stars in Advising.”
“That’s what I love about being in this business — you bring to your clients what they need and that's fun. You’ve got to be agile and flexible and bring to one particular client something that you've not offered to the other 60 clients.”
With this in mind, Lindsey says he is moving “a lot” of his clients’ business over to self-insured platforms, which delivers more transparency than previous plans. “Once they're in that model for a year or two, we start to as quickly as we possibly can, see if they have a major prescription issue” and solve that problem, he says.
Working in rural America, Lindsey has a front row seat to the opioid crisis that is roiling the country. While he is not seeing an increase in the use of rehabilitation centers, he is seeing politicians passing laws that will choke the supply of painkillers.
“It's been a major issue here for a number of years. Our local legislators and regional state senators are pushing very hard and I think the employers are stepping in and realizing that they can help take control,” says Lindsey. “Employers can help implement provisions in their policy that exclude narcotics unless they have a medical necessity.”
He predicts that if employers implement these tighter controls on narcotics, there will be an immediate shake-up in the workforce but “but those employees who stay on board will have a longer longevity with the employer.”
Helping employees and their families access better care at lower costs drives this young adviser. “When you see better outcomes with their provider relationship, that's exciting. There are some negative things tied to this job but that's the part that keeps me showing up every day and trying to improve access and make businesses stronger.”