Interview with Jay Werner of Trusted Benefits Group - Kingwood
Interview with Jay Werner of Trusted Benefits Group - Kingwood
Published: Jan 26, 2023, 12:47pm
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As part of our ongoing "Getting to Know Your Local Businesses" series, this week we sat down with Jay Werner of Trusted Benefits Group!
Tell us a bit about your business: What does your business offer and how long have you been around?
We offer peace of mind when it comes to finding, enrolling and dealing with insurance. No one likes insurance but we love it (seriously) and we make it fun by guiding, educating and explaining what insurance means in your situation. For example, with Medicare we use analogies that refer to the “Hot dog stand” or “Combo meal from Whataburger.” We like having fun and taking a complex idea down to a level that people understand and can connect with, while having a good laugh in the process. We are the “confusion crushers”.
Insurance is not difficult, but many agents make it sound hard or confuse you only to make you think they are doing you a favor. We believe in educating you on what we know and having you make the choice based on a team effort.
We have been serving the Houston communities since 2018.
How did you decide to get involved in this line of work? How did the business get started?
I fell into it by chance. In the early days of my career, I had an opportunity, 20 years ago, to work with my father-in-law in auto insurance and I did not enjoy it. However, with many years of consulting, and various industry experience I found myself being laid off during the 2016 Oil and Gas downturn and I knew it was time to be on my own and not depended on a company any longer. I acquired the knowledge, skills and courage to open my own business full-time and I decided to depend on myself. It wasn’t easy, my first year I only had 7 clients. I was scared and unsure if I made the right decision. I had a very supportive wife and knew we could make it work.
I gravitated towards Medicare because it just made sense to me. It clicked and I could easily translate it into terms others understood. Medicare is a very complex and government rule layered healthcare solution I found very easy to understand. I love Medicare and all it does for the millions that have it.
I continued to focus on building relationships, because I was a consultant and served others for many years. I never looked at this industry as anything more than being a true advocate for my clients. Whether I can help them or not, I always gave them the truth about this situation. I will never “sell” a person something. Because of my pure approach to helping others and not asking for anything in return, my name got around.
Since starting my business, the majority of clients have come from referrals, about 90%. I have worked with over 2000 health consumers in many areas such as Medicare, ACA Marketplace, Group, Dental, Vision, Ancillary, Cancer, Critical Illness, Home Healthcare, Prescription Drugs, Legal, International Travel, Medicaid, and more. Within the last 5 years I have naturally grown my company to 10 states and 16 agents. I’m so lucky to do what I love for others, and I thank God often for allowing me this purpose.
Tell us a couple things you are proud of about your business. What are you known for? What separates you from the competition?
30 years of career experience and several years as a Medicare instructor at Lone Star College, has earned me the nickname, “Confusion Crusher”. I fully understand challenges you face as you begin your journey in the Medicare program and I will take the time to learn your specific needs and match them with the coverage that is most suited for you. There is no “Best” out there, if anyone says that to you RUN, they don’t understand you or what your needs are.
I’m in this industry to help clients realize that insurance is there to protect them and their family and it’s not that hard to understand. I’m also here to protect those clients from other insurance agents that got into the business to just make a commission and leave you hanging.
What is your favorite part of running this business?
My favorite part of running and building my business is that I am not dependent on a company telling me what to do and how to do it. Or waiting to get laid off or downsized because someone made a bad decision and others had to pay for it. Or there was a downturn in the economy and everything we worked for is gone. I have been there too many times.
I’m dependent on God’s blessings and my ethics, hard work, relationships, effort, resourcefulness, resilience, and love to help others. We will always put ethics above earnings and always do the right thing whether it benefits us or not – It’s that easy. When you do good things for others, good things come to you.
Who is your target market or ideal customer/client?
Anyone in need or wants help. Whether I can help them myself or direct them to resources, I trust I’m here to do everything I can for them. Now my agency was built to address the needs of Healthcare – Medicare, Under 65 and Employer insurance. Our ideal client is a senior approaching or on Medicare. We will always assist to make sure they are in the most suitable plan for their situation.
However, we have grown to also serve the needs of employers and group members looking for solutions that are more economically suited for them. Healthcare is out of control, and we know bring in new and innovative solutions is key to combating growing cost. So, we don’t rest on the same old solution, we work for our clients.
Can you tell us something about yourself as a business owner? What is your background?
I started out in the Airline business working for a major international airline, British Airways, right out of college. I drove out to New York City for a full-time job with everything I owned in my 1984 Grand Marquis. I developed a great joy of serving others from my years with the airlines and from there I focused my career helping create solutions and options for others in many different capacities.
I have over 30 years of experience in many fields including, but not limited to, Technology, Mortgage, Finance, Banking, Construction, Aviation, Oil and Gas, Consulting, Insurance and others. One area that I have enjoyed immensely is being a volunteer fire fighter. I have been serving the communities where I live for over 14 years as a first responder. My wife of 27 years and I have traveled the world many times over and enjoy numerous adventures, such as parachuting, NASCAR driving, aerobatic flying, marathons, triathlons, boating, and more.
I have built my own house and I’m only 1 of a very few certified concrete home builders in Texas. I have owned a property management company for 17 years and am certified as a Professional Project Manager.
My wife and I work closely with many animal shelters, fostering pets that are in need of new homes and have saved countless strays from kill shelters. My wife also worked many years as a Child Advocate overseeing and protecting foster children.
Are there any special promotions, annual sales, or special events that you'd like to mention?
We are always open to provide value to our clients, so we will push our vendors for special promotions like discounted dental plans, or helping others get onto special programs or receive subsidies.
Is there any other information you'd like your potential customers/clients to know about your business?
We focus on being that resource to our clients, we may start with Medicare but within our company we are able to provide trusted professionals to aid with long term care needs, life insurance, auto/home/boat, financial, and more. We become a true partner, friend and resource to our clients. We are also in 9 other states, besides Texas.
How do you see your business growing and improving over the next couple of years?
We have learned so much in the last few years and have experienced the impact as many others have with the pandemic that we are able to restructure a couple key providers and are planning on expanding the practice to 40 agents this year. Bring more education and products that make a difference to people.
We are putting more time into providing programs and resources to reach out to the community and offer more services that will help other businesses grow. Some of those services will provide grant money to these businesses.
We are focused on more personal value added services and sharing knowledge to our existing clients by talking and communicating more often with them. Giving them services that they can really use and benefit from, without annoying them!
Doing more for the community, one initiative is promoting and helping sponsor a catalytic converter paint and etching program with Houston Police Department. I had many converter stolen while on duty at the fire station, later that week and Houston off-duty police officer was killed for his. Painting and etching the VIN number on the converter will deter and stop the criminals from taking yours. This may seem odd but it’s dealing with problems by offering solutions.
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