The start of 2018 has brought a lot of exciting growth and changes at LYFE. We relocated our office to a new space in downtown Berkley with room for us to grow. There have been structural changes happening within the organization to prepare for future growth. We have invested in new technologies making our agency more competitive and allowing us to better serve our clients. There are some new faces around the office. We have expanded our products and services and will continue adding additional services throughout 2018. And to top it off, we have been very active on the front lines of health care reform. It has been a busy couple months to say the least!
Let's start with the new space. Our agency shares a space with Bricks + Mortar Group, a P&C insurance agency and real estate firm. This gives us access to P&C services not offered by LYFE (more on this later). We currently have a total of eight personnel working in our space. The office has an open concept allowing for seamless collaboration with team members across multiple areas. We have a private conference room at the back of our office, and an open lounge area up front. The main feature in our space is the living moss wall that greets you as soon an you enter the office. This wall provides our office with a very unique atmosphere. The wall is a completely self-contained ecosystem!
Along with the move to the new space, LYFE has undergone some organizational restructuring in preparation for great things to come in the future. The first change was the introduction of LYFE Support, our client support department. With the integration of a new agency management system, our firm upgraded the support technology we used previously. The new system allows the LYFE Support team to better communicate with other departments within the organization and provide better communication with our clients on the status of their support tickets. There are additional features scheduled to be released in the future including an online client support claim submission and a numbered claim ticketing system to better track support tickets.
Another big change in the infrastructure of our agency is reorganizing our sales department and launching LYFEline, our totally revamped sales department. A new CRM is at the heart of LYFEline. This system allows us to foster a much deeper relationship with our clients. Our agency focuses on building lasting relationships and this system allows us to do just that. We are able to better integrate the different technologies used inside leading to a more streamlined sales process for our clients.
What good is all of this new infrastructure without team members utilizing it? We have brought on dedicated Client Service Representatives within the LYFEline department. With the addition of these positions, we have reduced the time it takes to complete a support request. The CSRs are there for anything our clients need. We are currently on the hunt for new team members for the LYFEline sales department. We have open positions for licensed brokers looking to take on new clients.
Speaking of new clients, we have made some very exciting changes to our products and services. Already this year we have added a customizable human resource and benefits administration platform. This software is very affordable for organizations of all sizes, and the best part is, we give it away FREE to our clients if we are the broker of record for the benefits plan! What?! That's unheard of! We know, but this platform streamlines not only our client's HR administration, but our operations in house when it comes to administering your plan and we do not believe our clients should pay a dime for this software if we are already implementing it in-house to administer your plan!
In addition to the HR platform, we have also added on other services to assist HR managers like employee handbooks, policies and procedures, trainings, payroll, time keeping, compliance, reporting and more! We want to be your HR manager's support system!
Since we are talking new services, let's discuss what is coming up in the near future. Commercial lines insurance policies for starters! Remember that comment earlier about Bricks + Mortar, well, we are currently undergoing the P&C licensing process and will be working with Bricks + Mortar Group to provide commercial property and liability, and worker's compensation insurance. Your business policies all tie together, including HR and benefits. The goal is to be able to design the ultimate business package for our clients ensuring there are no gaps in coverage and you are getting the appropriate types and amounts of coverage, all under one roof.
This is also expanding outside of insurance. To go along with the current benefits plans offered, we have been in talks with a securities broker to integrate group retirement plans. And to alleviate some of the workload of your HR department, we are developing a recruiting service. We already perform many of the vital functions of an in-house HR department, basically everything between an employee being hired and an employee being terminated. Employee turnover is a large expense for employers and one of the biggest costs is the time taken away from productive activities to interview and onboard a new employee. This new service will allow us to post job listings, perform initial rounds of interviews to find the qualified candidates, then present these top candidates to you for formal interviews. Once you decide on an employee to hire, we can handle the entire onboarding process and get the new employee up and running quickly and efficiently. All while you are able to continue to focus your time on other duties.
And, if we haven't been busy enough with everything happening inside the organization, what good would we really be if we weren't actively involved in health care reform. We are members of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) and I currently serve as the Metro Detroit Chair of the Health Underwriters Political Action Committee. We will be heading to Washington D.C. at the end of February for a large national conference where we will be meeting with Senators and Representatives to discuss health care reform. We have actively fought for meaningful legislation to be passed to stabilize the insurance market, bring options to consumers, and make positive changes moving forward to strengthen the quality of care and access to the health care system. We have been successful in working with Congress to pass legislation allowing states to define their small group market, delayed the Cadillac excise tax until 2022 and working on a full repeal of this devastating tax, passed a moratorium for 2019 for the Health Insurance Tax, repealed the small employer deductible cap, negotiated a reduction in the medical loss ration from 90/10 to 80/20, maintained the tax free status of employer provided health insurance, and preserved Medicare Advantage plans for over 16 million seniors by withdrawing proposed Part D/Medicare Advantage regulations.
LYFE is now, and will continue to be, heavily involved on the front lines of health care reform. We believe there is a solution to the problems we are currently facing, and we will not stop until we see a viable solution put in place that provides quality, affordable insurance and easy access to the care people desperately need. The issue involves much more than just insurance. It will require an overhaul of many aspects of our health care system, from pricing transparency across providers, to prescription drug cost containment measures, to creative new plan designs on behalf of insurance carriers. The issue is not about "repeal and replace" vs. "keep and repair". The issue is that our system is still broken, it is now just a more expensive broken system. The issue is that people still cannot afford quality insurance coverage. The issue is that people still cannot afford the care they desperately need. The issue is that medical expenses are the number one cause of bankruptcy in America. It's time to start focusing on the real issues at hand and work on long-term solutions.
As independent brokers, we are fighting for our clients. We are fighting for the individuals and families trying to maintain coverage in a market experiencing skyrocketing premium increases and massive cuts to coverage. We are fighting for the businesses trying to do the right thing and take care of their employees by offering benefits but have to balance the high cost of insurance with a level of coverage that actually provides some protection for the employees. We are fighting for the sick patients who are unable to afford the care they need or unable to access the care due to restrictive networks. We are fighting for those on Medicare who are consistently faced with cuts to the program. We are fighting for you and your loved ones so you can go to sleep at night with the peace of mind knowing that you and your family is protected should something happen.
2018 is an exciting year in the life of LYFE! I go to bed exhausted at the end of every day and wake up refreshed the next morning, ready to give every bit of energy I have to this fight all over again and I wouldn't have it any other way!