The employee benefit market is in a state of reinvention, with virtually every stakeholder looking for ways to not only survive, but also thrive amid a sea of regulatory changes and healthcare developments continuously threatening to alter the landscape. Here are 10 benefit industry trendsetters who are helping to set the agenda for the new year.

Tom Avery, founder and president of Innovative Broker Services

Avery’s Innovative Broker Services in Folsom, Calif., has been building out its own tech solution, Paperless HR, which is starting to take hold and gain rave client reviews. But Avery and his team remain hands-on and focused on results through non-traditional plan designs.

Craig Lack, CEO of Premium Reduction Strategies

Lack is a nationally recognized healthcare expert, best-selling author, speaker and CEO of Energi and Premium Reduction Strategies. He is the creator of Performance Based Health Plans, which identifies and measures the emerging health care risks for middle market companies to improve predictability and control over protecting profits. Some media outlets have called it “the next big thing.”

Lack consults nationwide on establishing spousal incentive HRA/MERPs and negotiates partnerships with fully insured and excess loss carriers to provide extended term guarantees. He is the director of media for OCAHU and sits on the board of the Working Group for Self Funding at NAHU.

Robert Steele, CEO of Steele Financial Group

Steele is a former broker & technology executive. His sales and marketing organization is dedicated to helping companies develop sales and marketing strategies within the insurance, employee benefits, financial services, healthcare and technology sectors. He is creating an interactive online platform for employees that for the first-time will integrate insurance, employee benefits, financial services and healthcare into a single engagement platform. It's expected to launch in 2016.

Amy Evans, president of Colibri Insurance.

Evans opened Colibri Insurance just this year and industry insiders say she is bucking all insurance trends by being an open, active and positive online participant. Evans is utilizing social channels to build connections and share her philosophies, victories and struggles with the world and enjoying great engagement back from people who know her—people in the industry and in her community of clients/potential clients.

Chris Fey, founder, director, chairman & CEO of Big Bang Health

This veteran healthcare executive’s comprehensive & turnkey self-funded health plan makes it easy for brokers to get into self-funded medical. Big Bang Health is a Nevada Corporation with a mission to deliver a one brand, one-stop shop offering of comprehensive health benefits, claims administration, stop Loss/reinsurance, captive reinsurance, population health management, price transparency, mobile health, telemedicine and predictive analytics to self-funded employers across the United States with the brand promise of “More Bang for the Buck.”

Andy Nunemaker, CEO of Dynamis Corporation

Dynamis Corporation is a provider of sales software in the healthcare insurance industry. Nunenmaker has automated the labor- and time-intensive medical spreadsheeting and quoting process, which some industry insiders say is “huge” for brokers. The Dynamic Plan Designer by Dynamis is the leading plan optimization solution for insurance brokers across the United States.

Samir Qamar, M.D., founder and CEO of MedLion

Board certified in family medicine, Samir Qamar is an international expert in the fields of membership practices, VIP medicine, and direct primary care. His pioneering work in creating MedLion, one of the first direct primary care companies, has been well-covered. As CEO, Qamar has expanded MedLion to practices in 17 states in little over four years. In 2014 Qamar invented The MedWand, a revolutionary medical device that allows providers to examine patients remotely via secure Internet connections on smartphones and computers. Portable, compact, and affordable, MedWand is taking the telemedicine industry to the next level by enabling providers to remotely obtain real-time vitals, auscultate heart and lungs, look into ears and throats, obtain 3-lead EKGs and pulse oximetry, and much more.

Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna

Bertolini is on the front lines of trend setting, according to industry experts. He joined Aetna in 2003 as head of Aetna’s Specialty Products and has worked his way up to serve as its CEO. He’s recognized by industry insiders as a trendsetter and forward-thinking and solutions-oriented leader. Bertolini meets regularly with state and federal policymakers to promote measures that increase access, lower costs and improve the quality of healthcare. He is a strong advocate for a consumer-centered healthcare system, value-based payment design, and the expansion and use of health information technology. He’s also committed to diversity and inclusion in his workplace and serves as the company’s executive sponsor for diversity, participates in several Aetna employee resource groups, and maintains a blog to communicate with employees.

Philip Kaufman, president, UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits

UnitedHealthcare Vision and Dental plans each ranked highest in customer satisfaction among the nation’s vision and dental carriers, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Vision Plan And Dental Plan Satisfaction Report. The company continues to develop innovative new programs to help people live healthier lives. For example, its Bridge2Health program, which supports patients and healthcare professionals with information, decisions and outcomes for consumers with dental, vision and disability plans that are integrated with medical benefits.

“Our primary focus continues to be delivery of great products at a fair price, with the support of strong customer service,” says Kaufman.

Russ Blakely, founder and president, Russ Blakely & Associates

RBA’s consultative and strategic approach to client management, as well as its aim to take “ownership” of client problems has saved several clients millions of dollars in the last two years. The firm’s innovative approaches are ones to watch, including developing a proprietary physician network, collaborating on the development of on-site clinics for a public sector client, creating convenient access to medical care and onsite pharmacy services, recruiting participating physician specialists that are responsive to clinic referrals, creating incentives for the physicians to participate in the expense risk to reduce claims costs, and leveraging data-mining strategies to target at-risk employees and address chronic conditions.