Filed Under:Health Insurance, Individual Health

NAHU 2012: Looking Past the Decision

Steve Selinsky and Scott Leavitt (LHP Photo/Allison Bell)
Steve Selinsky and Scott Leavitt (LHP Photo/Allison Bell)

LAS VEGAS -- The National Association of Health Underwriter (NAHU) is doing more to help members diversify their businesses and prepare for change.

Steve Selinsky, a former president of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), Washington, and Scott Leavitt, another former NAHU president, talked today about the forces reshaping the lives of health insurance producers during an interview in Las Vegas.

Selinsky, manager of specialty product sales at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Detroit, and Leavitt, national distribution director at Orriant, Sandy, Utah, also talked about the role they think NAHU may play in preparing producers to face those forces.

Health insurance "is one of those industries that continually changes," Selinsky said. 

Producers may need to sell a wider array of products to do well in that environment, whether the change comes from a Supreme Court ruling upholding, denying or modifying the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), from technology, or from some other factor, Leavitt said.

NAHU, Arlington, Va., is attracting about 1,000 NAHU members and others to its annual convention this week.

Members still attend the NAHU annual convention to network, as they have for years, but they also come to learn from an expanded professional development class program, Leavitt said.

The sessions taking place this year will provide a glimpse at topics such as the future of the PPACA health insurance exchanges and strategies for promoting private long-term care insurance

"They're going to be here for the long haul," and staying educated may be oe of the ways to survive, Leavitt said.

Selinsky and Leavitt said formidable challenges face NAHU members.

Selinsky noted that the Great Recession hit Las Vegas hard. Las Vegas is a popular tourism destination and easy to get to, but Selinsky said he is especially happy that NAHU is holding its meeting here this year because that's a way to support health insurance producers who do business in that community.

The keynote speaker during the first general session talked about being grateful and having a positive attitude.

Selinsky and Leavitt both praised the speaker.

"We have a lot to appreciate," Leavitt said. "But there's sometimes so much doom and gloom we get side tracked."

What producers must, and do, talk about is the things they do that help improve clients' lives, Leavitt said.

"Our industry has been hit hard," Selinsky said. But "we do have a future. We play a huge role in the financial future of our customers. 

Scott Martin and Tim Cook are at the convention to promote Ternian Insurance Group, Phoenix, a managing general underwriter that creates products such as limited medical insurance.

Martin said the atmosphere in the exhibit hall has been good.

"It was great," Martin said. "A lot of energy, a lot of traffic. Very positive."

Cook suggested that the uncertainty about the Supreme Court's PPACA decision may be increasing NAHU members' openness to hearing about new ideas.

"They're not sure what's going to happen," Cook said. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article described NAHU's location incorrectly. NAHU has moved to Washington.

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