Allison White Insurance opened in January
For more than a dozen years, Allison White built her reputation as a Medicare and health insurance expert in Minnesota working for a corporate firm. In January 2018, Allison put her knowledge and industry experience to the test when she opened Allison White Insurance. The risk of opening her own agency has paid off, and she is now helping families and individuals navigate through the twists and turns of Medicare and health insurance from her own office in Little Falls.
“I enjoy providing guidance to my clients to help empower them to make well-educated decisions about their health coverage,” she said.
White meets with clients from central Minnesota and beyond, many of whom lack confidence in Medicare and health insurance when they first walk through her doors.
“I can ease their worries; it is fantastic,” she said. “When someone comes in with anxiety and worry about their insurance coverage, I know that when they leave, there will be hug or a handshake, and they will no longer have that worry. When I can ease that worry, it is a fantastic feeling. Most people don’t like to talk about insurance or put it on the back burner and talk about later, but it is a reality of our life. Being able to talk through that worry and allow my clients to have me shoulder that worry, gives them peace and comfort. That is an extremely rewarding part of what I do.”
As an independent broker, White can work with several insurance companies.
“Being independent allows me the flexibility to offer a variety of plan options from a number of providers. We do not sell insurance; we help people find the right plan for their needs,” she said. “We offer a whole suite of products. It comes down to what is best for the clients, not what the insurance companies are pushing. If it is two good pieces of the puzzle that fit together, that is what I will recommend. If they don’t fit together, then we look at something else.
When it comes to Medicare, there are many different products. Knowing which plan is a good fit is the hard part.
“If this was an easy process, everyone would be able to do it on their own. It isn’t as simple as going online and filling out a form,” she said. “There are so many unknowns. You only go into Medicare once in your lifetime, so by seeing me you are doing your due diligences. And the more complicated the process gets, the more value I can bring to the client and their situation.”
Learning the products and the process is an important step and White is experienced in breaking it all down.
“About 90 percent of my job is education. There are no silly questions. There is fear, and there is no fear, and I can help people get to no fear. People get scared when they don’t know what is available. I’m the teacher who can help you get to that spot where you are comfortable.”
And the help doesn’t stop once the right plan is selected. White prides herself on being a valuable resource for her clients in the days and years following the initial enrollment.
“They don’t have to worry about who they should call. We will find the answer for them. I’m not a ‘yes’ person; I will make sure I get the correct answer and get back to them. I genuinely want to help people. I enjoy the challenge, and I enjoy being a go-to person in an industry where there is really not a lot of expertise.”
As changes happen to insurance plans and changes happen in people’s lives, White is there to navigate through the changes.
“I will be there for them to follow up and review their plan every year. A person’s situation can change, and products can change. If someone moves out of the state or out of the county, things could change. Prescription needs/health needs can change. A person’s financial situation can change. All those things affect your plan. It really isn’t ‘here is a brochure,’ now get a plan. It is about learning their dynamics, their story. Every person and couple is in a different situation. No two people who come in are the same.”
Changes to plans happen regularly. This year, a big change is happening that will affect nearly 400,000 Minnesotans. The change is a result of a federal law that eliminates some options in certain counties across the state, according to White.
“If you have a Medicare Cost plan and live in a sunsetting county, you will receive a letter from your insurance company stating that your plan is ending. The plan will terminate at the end of 2018, so a new plan will have to be picked out prior to the end of the year to avoid any gaps in coverage. The open enrollment period starts in October, and people affected will want to get ahead of the game and not procrastinate on making their new plan choice.”
How much does White charge for guiding her clients to the right plan and navigating them through the changing health care/Medicare landscape? Absolutely nothing.
“I am not paid for my services,” she said. “I don’t ever charge. I get compensation from the insurance companies after you are enrolled, but my clients will never receive a bill from me.”
White keeps a watchful eye on state and federal health reform and continues to strengthen her education on health insurance plans available in the Minnesota marketplace. This is a very important part of her success, but it is the connection that she has with her clients that really sets her apart.
Brad and Dawn Laager were working with White in the past, and they were delighted to learn that Allison was operating her own business in Central Minnesota.
“I bet there were at least 10 or 12 people who recommended her, which is a lot,” said Brad. “And once you work with Allison, you know why. There is no need to work with anyone else. She is just top shelf. We just think she is the best around.”
When White opened her new office, the Laagers immediately contacted her to switch over. Now the Laagers are the ones recommending her to their family and friends.
“We tell everyone about her. She is there to help any time of the day and always pleasant,” said Brad. “We trust her completely and that is very important for seniors. She listens to what we have to say and then gives us all the options. We really appreciate all that she has done for us.”
White said when she first meets with a couple or individual, she does a lot of listening.
“I get to know their individual situation,” she said. “I listen to what their needs are. I am most interested in the relationship piece of it. We talk about options to them, and if I am a good listener, I will be able to provide exactly what they are looking for. I’m a good listener. I am knowledgeable and relatable. I am a faith-believing person, and I have people’s best interest at heart in every decision.”
Those attributes and her knowledge of health insurance/Medicare helped White grow into a trusted ally in her former job. Now she is using those skills and knowledge to help people from her new office
“When I started in 2005, it was a regular job, but it quickly evolved into what I wanted to be as my career,” she said. “I don’t look at this as a job. I want to do this the rest of my life. The time I spent in the corporate world has prepared me for what I needed to know and what I am doing today.”
For about a decade, White was traveling around the state helping people in her corporate job. She put in a lot of “windshield time.” While she is still willing to travel to help families, she is happy to have a home base in the city she loves and close to the family she loves.
“People in this area deserve to have someone that can take care of them. Just because you live in a smaller town doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have good people. I have just as much knowledge as someone who is in the high rise. People here deserve that.”
And her family is happy to have her close by, too.
“This is who I am working for,” said White, looking over at a family photo in her office. “They are my life. I work very hard because of them. They deserve the best. My goal is to just try to do better than I did yesterday, both in my business and with my family.”
Allison and her husband, Mark, have two children, Landon (10) and Isabella (8). Allison and Mark are Iraq War veterans who have called Little Falls home for 15 years. Allison is active in her church and her community. When she isn’t at work, she enjoys the outdoors, family movie nights, church and boat rides with her family and friends.
Allison White Insurance is located at 53 East Broadway, Suite C in Little Falls. For more information or to set up an appointment, call 320-414-7910 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Her office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Learn more at allisonwhiteinsurance.com.
Open enrollment for 2019 Medicare coverage plans runs Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2018.