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Medicare Advantage Continues to Sizzle: All Web Leads' Bill Daniel

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What You Need to Know

  • He has degrees from Dartmouth and Berkeley.
  • If you had a computer before 1983, he might have been responsible for making sure some of your floppy disks worked.
  • Even he finds the preferences of Medicare plan prospects hard to track.

Bill Daniel is the CEO of All Web Leads (which is also known as the AWL Insurance Agency), and of its InsuranceQuotes arm.

The Austin, Texas-based company uses a web-based quote service to generate leads for producers who sell Medicare plans, property and casualty (P&C) insurance, and other insurance products.

Daniel has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Dartmouth College.

He started out as an engineer and supervisor at Polaroid Corp., then went on to serve as a site manager for quality at Verbatim Corp., an early manufacturer of computer floppy disks.

Later, he became a sales executive at Oracle, earned a master’s degree in business from the University of California at Berkeley, and moved deeper into technology firm marketing and management at technology startups. He founded and sold Wallop Software, a business website support firm, and Surgient, a private cloud automation firm, before taking over at All Web Leads, in 2008.

Via email, we asked Daniel a set of questions that touch both on his professional knowledge and on what he does off the clock.

1. What market indicator, industry statistic, regulatory change or advisor trend are you watching most closely right now and why?

The AWL Insurance Agency operates in the personal lines space, with a focus on property and casualty and Medicare products. Therefore, we are watching two key indicators: the P&C carriers’ combined ratios and Medicare Advantage preferences among Medicare-eligible consumers. Both indicators inform how we execute against our growth strategy.

2. How has it been changing recently (2021) and how do you expect it to change (2022)?

2021 was a difficult year for the P&C carriers and their loss combined ratios. This has led to most carriers planning for price increases across products and geographies during 2022.

On the Medicare side, Medicare Advantage continued to gain share versus Medicare supplement products during 2021, and we expect that trend to continue in 2022.

3. What would you suggest advisors do now or consider doing in the future about it?

On the P&C side, get ahead of the carrier price increases coming, by helping your customers explore alternatives and, hopefully, find less expensive options that meet your customers’ needs.

On the Medicare side, continue to develop your understanding of the intricacies of Medicare Advantage and how Medicare Advantage plans compare to traditional Medicare and Medicare supplement products. Knowledge is key.

4. Who or what critical source of information do you track, or follow online, to keep up with this or other trends?

For the P&C carriers combined ratios, it is simple to track, as many of these carriers are publicly traded or required to publicly disclose this information.

Tracking Medicare-eligible consumers’ preferences is hard to do in real-time, so we have to look historically at the most recent data the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services) publishes about Medicare enrollments. This data is usually six to 12 months old but still very useful for spotting trends.

5. Are you changing any of your work habits at this stage of the pandemic? Why or why not?

The majority of our team at the AWL Insurance Agency is — and has always been — work-from-home or work-online, as we call it. This has not changed during the pandemic. The key to success when working online (or from home) is to have a dedicated workspace and a computer and internet setup that is every bit as fast and functional as what you would have in an office environment. This leads to better productivity and results.

6. What’s your biggest hobby and what was the last event/activity you did related to it?

In reality, my role as CEO of AWL consumes most of my free time. I do enjoy golf and am focused on playing more and improving my swing and my scores.

7. How about your latest community/charitable activity/event/cause?

I am the chairperson of the Side By Side Kids board in Austin, Texas, where AWL is based. SBSK provides quality afterschool programming for kids in grades pre-K through fifth who are in need of academic and emotional support. We operate in Austin’s most economically disadvantaged areas.

8. What book are you reading now and why?

“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. This book is about how, as a leader, I can inspire people to do what inspires them. This is certainly how I desire to be led — and I want to be much better at leading my team here at AWL in this way.

9. Any special holiday plan, activity or focus do you have for the new year?

For 2022, my focus is on continuing to build the AWL team for the long term. The very long term — the next 15 or 20 years.

10. Any other update/fact about you or piece of advice/wisdom you’d like to share with our advisor audience?

I’ve never encountered a business problem that I did not think I could overcome. We don’t know what we are capable of until we go through difficult circumstances, come out on the other side, and then — and only then — look back.

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Bill Daniel (Photo: All Web Leads)