Employer HQ Gold Circle
with Mick Rodgers, Principal and Managing Partner at Axial Benefits Group
andy neary

1. What do you love most about your job?
My favorite part of what I do is collaborating with forward-thinking individuals from diverse businesses and backgrounds. Every time I think I have a good idea, I speak with a client who has a way to make it better or an adviser who has a different perspective and way of executing it. It’s fun to watch something start with a spark and just grow in unexpected and cool ways. Short conversations and hallway brainstorms with talented people have a way of driving momentum and change, they make a huge impact.

2.What advice/”words of wisdom” would you give to young professionals in your line of work, or YOUR younger self?
Think for yourself, don’t settle for the status quo and never do something one way just because it’s the way it’s always been done. There is always a new way, always a better way - everything can be improved whether its a product, a process or a mindset.

3. What is most exciting about the employer health care industry today?
From my perspective, and I’m biased, group purchasing coalitions. From an employer perspective, employee benefits are so imperative to the productivity, employee satisfaction and profitability of their organization. Healthcare is hands-down one of the most complex financial decisions companies make. Coalitions provide better benefits at lower costs in a more accessible way, but most importantly, they give employers power. If you consider how the industry has been operating for years you realize it has become acceptable for premiums to go up and benefits to worsen. Many companies even plan for this. Coalitions give employers greater flexibility and stability and, in addition to overall cost savings, even return excess assets at the end of the underwriting year. I think the results they are achieving and the power shift they are creating are important, extremely valuable and exciting.

4. What industry story/topic/case in the past year caught your attention and/or was a catalyst for change in your workplace?
One of things I have done a good job of over the last few years is not looking within our industry but other industries to see what I can learn from them. For instance, we all make it a practice of going to our clients office one on one every year for the annual “insurance meeting”. Its not very efficient and creates an environment where the one on one client interaction does not foster creativity or collaboration between clients. Why do we do it that way in the insurance industry when other more forward thinking industries such as technology hold user groups for much the same function. We started hosting annual user groups several years back and the outcome, collaboration between clients and we can point to several techniques that have come from these collaborative sessions that have lowered all of our clients insurance costs. The other byproduct from these user group conferences is that we are able to meet and process 20-30 renewals in a day and half..

5. Can you share a short story of recent, significant professional achievement?
One of the proudest moments in my career happened late last year when i was named Employee Benefits Adviser Magazine’s “Adviser of the Year”. In my mind it is the most prestigious award in our industry. The award ceremony was at the Magazine's Annual Conference in Boca Raton. To meet so many new advisers from around the country who have seen some of the national attention we have been receiving for our Healthcare Purchasing Coalitions and Performance based compensation model was quite an honor.

6. Who was a mentor for you and what is a bit of their advice/instruction you often refer to?
I worked for a gentleman, Pat Hughes, early in my career for a large carrier in Boston. Pat was an amazing public speaker and always had a great way to boil something down to small sound bites that resonated among many of us. He would always weave several common themes to many of his presentation: “math doesn't lie” or “the numbers tell the story” were common expressions he would say over and over to make his points. As a former engineer, it resonated with me deeply and started my focus on the how the numbers are all related in the underwriting process and if we could figure our better ways to lower the frequency and volume of our client claims it would lead to repeatable strategies with sustainable lower costs for our clients.

7. Who is a current mover/shaker or innovator/disruptor you’re keeping an eye on in the healthcare industry and why?
Trey Taylor of Taylor insurance. Trey is a 3 generation employee benefits professional that came back to his family business in Georgia after many years in the professional world as a high ranking executive in technology and Venture Capital. Trey that is on a mission to take what he learned in other industries and elevate other employee benefits organization owners to become better Executives or CEO’s and run better organizations. It is something that i think our industry desperately needs. Trey and I are in a Collaborative Network of 30 advisors our of Nashville so i get to see him 4-5 times a year to hear about the work he is doing with his “CEO academy”, an executive MBA style curriculum that he has developed.


What do you like to do outside work?
Spending time with my family is my number one, but I’m an engineer by trade so I am always designing, building or fixing something at my house.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I have a slight obsession with Elvis Presley

Hear from Mick
Alongside other leading Benefits Advisers, Mick will present the session Beyond Fees and Pricing: Align Incentives in Benefits at the Employer Health Care Cost & Quality Congress – April 29 – May 2, 2018 in Washington, DC. Discussion points include:
  • Explore the imperative to align adviser incentives with employers
  • Impact on health care cost containment and the potential for innovation
  • Learn how advisers use performance-based compensation to move their chair to the client’s side of the table
To learn more or register to attend, visit www.worldcongress.com/EHCQ

About Mick
As the Principal and Managing Partner of Axial Benefits Group, Mr. Rodgers brings his extensive background in health and welfare plans to Axial's clients.

He has been pioneering Healthcare Purchasing Coalitions since 2009 specializing in assisting medium and large corporations, many of whom have multi-state locations, with the development of effective health care programs. Specifically, he has designed, implemented and managed 5 successful healthcare purchasing coalitions helping hundreds of companies lower costs and stabilized renewals.

Prior to co-founding Axial Benefits Group, Mr. Rodgers founded its predecessor company, Atlantic Benefits, in 2003. He also founded The Staffing Exchange (TSE) in 2012, a successful healthcare purchasing coalition dedicated specifically to the Staffing industry. He has had over 22 years of experience and held senior consulting positions at Hays Companies, William Gallagher Associates, and Marsh & McLennan. Mr. Rodgers is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts School of Engineering. He is a former Massachusetts high school wrestling state champion and collegiate wrestler. He is an avid national speaker on the Affordable Care Act and has become known as one of the nation's experts on the topic of its compliance. He is the former Chairman of the Boston Board of Directors for the March of Dimes and has been involved with the development of corporate programs for the both Friends of Boston's Homeless charity and various local Habitat for Humanity Chapters. He lives in Concord, MA with his wife and family, where he is also a town meeting member.