Aaron Davis puts wellness talk into actionNews added by Benefits Pro on April 1, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Kathryn Mayer

Being named Benefits Selling’s 2013 Broker of the Year had more of an impact on Aaron Davis than he thought.

After seeing himself on the cover of the magazine, the president of NextLogical Benefit Strategies in Westminster, Md. — who then weighed just shy of 250 pounds — realized he needed to change his lifestyle and focus on his fitness.

“It was so bad that a few days before my photo shoot for the finalist edition, I had to go out and buy a new, larger suit,” he says. “When I saw my photos in the magazine, I honestly felt sick. I looked terrible.”

For years, Davis says he had been “kidding himself” about his fitness and instead playing around with his health.

“Like most of us in our industry, I was working too much and dealing with too much stress. To relax, I was eating too many Old Bay wings and drinking too much beer, which made weight loss impossible. I was tired of not feeling great, not having the energy I used to have and not being as focused and creative.”
So last fall — which marked his 50th birthday — Davis finally made the decision to focus on his health. He put into practice what he had been preaching all along — wellness and taking a proactive approach to health care.

Davis began going to the gym almost daily — doing 30-40 minutes on the elliptical and stationary bike, and another 30 minutes of weight-lifting. He played competitive indoor soccer two nights a week. On non-gym days, he walked three miles.

And it helped that his wife, Jenny, is a health coach — a “fitness fanatic and nutrition guru.” She helped him change his diet, limiting his intake of gluten, dairy and sugar.

Since the fall, Davis has lost 35 pounds — and he has his eye set on another 20.

“It was the height of hypocrisy for me to be out there selling wellness solutions when I was overweight myself,” he says.

Davis says his heart rate is down and his energy and creativity is up. And, best of all, Davis says, “I’m running up and down the soccer field like I did 20 years ago.”

Besides being a great year for his personal fitness, Davis says 2013 was a great year for him and his company professionally.

“I got introduced to Al Lewis and was asked to participate in the book he and Tom Emerick wrote last year titled ‘Cracking Health Costs.’”

His company, NextLogical, was featured in two video spots for VSP and worked with a number of “very exciting firms on the cutting edge of health care cost containment,” including Novo Nordisk, SCIO Health Analytics, Telcare, WellDoc, CoreMedica and DialogHealth.

"A few brokers who either read about us in Benefits Selling magazine or who saw me at the conference reached out to us and we’re currently private-labeling some of our health risk management and wellness solutions with a couple of them nationally,” Davis says.

And the company’s new business close ratio, which had been about 50 percent for years, rose to nearly 100 percent.

“I don’t know how much of that is due to our approach being accepted even more, but being awarded Broker of the Year certainly gives prospects a sense of confidence that we and our solutions are legitimate.”

This year, NextLogical will continue to focus on what works in health care cost containment — which is also the name of a paper his team is finalizing.

“We wanted to take more of a clinical/academic view of what the current literature is saying about the efficacy of many of the strategies being promoted today without vendor bias,” he says.

Though Davis is optimistic about his team’s year, one thing he’s not so optimistic about is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Among his predictions on the health reform law? That PPACA will continue to miss enrollment goals, fail to cover anywhere near the highly publicized number of uninsureds, suffer from non-payment of premium issues and begin experiencing significant rate increases as claims exceed artificially lowered premiums.

All the compliance issues — and time spent explaining the law — have put a heavier workload on his employees and his clients, he says. “If the administration continues to change the law on what seems like, a monthly basis, our client services team will continue investing an inordinate amount of time researching and communicating compliance issues and necessary actions with our clients.”

The 2014 Broker of the Year will be named Wednesday. Check out the finalists here.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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