'My challenge is to master industry changes'

  • David Castillo

    David Castillo

 
 
Updated 5/21/2021 11:53 AM

Q: Describe your company.

A: My company is dedicated to improving the lives of my clients through my expertise as an over 20-year veteran of the health insurance industry. I work with small employer groups under 50 employees, individuals on Medicare and the individuals under 65 using the health care exchange and the private off-the-exchange plans.

 

Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

A: I've found that partnering with other brokers in the business, especially with the often-cyclical nature of health insurance, keeps costs down while providing a better experience for the client. That is one of the reasons I belong to the DuPage Chapter of the Health Underwriters Association.

Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?

A: There are lots of changes in the health insurance industry, quite literally on a daily basis, and my challenge is to master those changes on behalf of the clients. Whether it is helping employees on COBRA or individuals and families who need to update their health plan.

Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?

A: I would say the hottest trend in the industry would really be the opportunities for small companies to take control of their health care by taking advantage of the larger doctor networks that are available with company sponsored group health plans. One of the main complaints of the individual Obamacare health marketplace is the narrow doctor networks. Things have improved over the last few years, but there are still plenty of doctors that don't belong to those networks. Taking advantage of starting one's own company health insurance plan can widen doctor choices and create a competitive edge when recruiting new executives and critical positions. This market is open all year and not subject to enrollment periods with a startup health plan.

Q: If you had one tip to give to a rookie executive, what would it be?

A: Potential clients have all kinds of objections with changing or acquiring a health plan. I would say that it is critical to be aware of objections and have your responses worked out beforehand. Sometimes those objections are valid; they are sometimes based on outdated thinking or incorrect facts or stereotypes. So learn the objections and have your responses ready.

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Q: Do you have a business mantra?

A: Know more than the other guy and parlay that into the expertise clients need to make good decisions. With that knowledge create opportunities the other guy would not have thought about doing.

Q: From a business outlook, whom do you look up to?

A: I'm not much of a follower. There are three kinds of people out there, those who make things happen, those who see other people make things happen and follow; and, that poor soul who asks, What happened? I try to keep myself in that first category and keep my clients out of the third. Bill Gates came out with a book about 20 years ago called Business at the Speed of Thought where he talks about friction free capitalism. I believe it is important to make my clients' health insurance journey as friction-free as possible even with the complexities of our modern health care system.

Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?

A: Outside of a few friends most people probably don't know that I served the last eight years in the Marine Corps Reserve as an air control electronics operator. The same military occupational specialty as Lee Harvey Oswald. I had better marksmanship scores.

Q: Was there a moment in your career that didn't go as you had planned? What lesson did you learn from it?

A: My former career as a Marine Criminal Investigator and later an investigator for the state of Illinois, left me with certain skills I felt would dovetail quite nicely in the insurance business. It did not. I floundered my first year in the business until I went to work for Humana; a company that took the time to properly train me in the health insurance business. I'm forever grateful for Humana teaching me my craft.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I like playing golf, fishing, cooking with my wife, Tomoko, on the weekends and playing with my youngest grandson, Kai. My last vacation I spent out in the Mojave Desert and Death Valley tooling around in an RV to stargaze.

Q: What book is on your nightstand?

A: I'm reading The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Morgan: A guide to creating results through focus, commitment and accountability. It reminds me of a sales manager I used to have by reminding me of that I already know. With business being done in multiple venues, meeting rooms, Zoom rooms, restaurants, etc., it's good to be reminded about focusing on what's important.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: I have a tendency to be a professional worrier so my clients don't have to worry. But mostly when I submit new business to a carrier waiting for approval. It's a stressful moment up to the point the carrier issues the welcome letter to the client. For me it's like the bottom of the ninth being up by one run and the closing pitcher is about to get the last out.

Q: If you were not doing this job, what do you think you would be doing?

A: I really have trouble seeing myself doing anything else as I have great enjoyment doing what I do. But if I couldn't do what I'm doing now I would like to be the CEO of an insurance company. I also am on the board of directors for a small life insurance company in Indiana so that is as close as I'll probably get.

Q: What was your first paying job?

A: I worked for McDonald's for $1.60 an hour. Had a great boss there and where I learned my work ethic. I lied about my age at the time, I was 15. I started washing dishes and cleaning toilets and because no one really wanted to do that so I was working about 60 hours a week in the summer.

Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?

A: The Chicago Fire. I played soccer in my younger years and love the sport. Played in high school and while in the Marine Corps. I finally stopped playing at age 44 after double spraining my ankle. It's sometimes hard to watch the games because I want to play myself. I already have a jersey with my company logo on it.

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