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Life Health > Health Insurance

Niche product seller sees more niches

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Change is making this an exciting time to sell niche health benefits products.

Ed Walker, the new president of ArmadaGlobal, gave that assessment in a recent interview.

Walker is the former president of Transamerica’s Transamerica Direct business. His new company is a managing general underwriter. It designs products, markets the products, administers the products, and gets an insurer to assume any insurance products.

Some of its products, such as an executive supplemental health reimbursement program, do involve some insurance risks. Others, such as a service that helps members find and get appointments with highly regarded doctors, involve no insurance risk.

The effects of low interest rates and the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requirements have driven some insurance agents and brokers out of the market.

But the pressure is also forcing the remaining players to think creatively about new types of products and services, new ways to market to consumers, and ways to keep consumers aware of and interested in the benefits they already have, Walker said.

Meanwhile, other types of economic pressure are forcing lawyers, accountants and business consultants to look harder for new ideas they can offer their clients, Walker said.

For those trusted advisors, supplemental products “can really make a good solution,” the executive said.

Expansion in the trusted advisor channel means that, in spite of the softness in the traditional insurance producer distribution market, the total size of the supplemental health product distribution universe is still growing, Walker said.

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