combsandco


Rockstars Rocking Podcast

Absolutely thrilled to be featured this week on Eric Silverman‘s Rockstars Rocking podcast!

Thank you so much Eric, for giving me a platform to share about my journey and my passion for the Mizzou Law Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri!

Click below to watch the episode!

Want to see more episodes, make sure you CLICK HERE to subscribe!



What’s the good news, ladies? Fall, y’all!

Original Post: BenefitsPro Broker Innovation Lab

Susan L. Combs | September 21, 2020 at 07:47 AM

I cannot believe that 4th Quarter is days away!  That means that open enrollment is on the horizon and oof … how it’s going to be different this year?  Hope you all have your virtual toolkit ready to go; I know we have been busy planning and gearing up for this in our office to make the process as easy and smooth as possible. But we’re all in insurance, right?  So we look at worst case scenario.  If you’re like me, you lay awake in bed thinking “What’s the worst than can happen?” And then you lay awake longer.  Gah!  Good luck, ladies.  Feel free to share the best idea or tool you are using; I’m sure many would love to hear about them.

We had such a blast at the virtual BenefitsPRO Broker Expo this year and got to meet some incredible women that way!  I’m really excited to introduces you to these fine women this month who are keeping it real in the world of COVID, home schooling and just being rockstars in our industry.  Please welcome Sarah, Robin and Sarah to the fold!

Sarah Wilson, Compass Benefit Advisors

“Interesting? Challenging? Uncertain?  I’m not quite sure how to describe the last 12 months.  For me, it has involved creating a new role for myself within a new firm while learning to be a teacher overnight to my 8 and 9 year olds.  Juggling and adapting have become my forte.

One thing I’ve learned is we’re not meant to do this thing called life alone and that it’s OK, even good, to put ourselves out there and lean on others.  Connecting has become my mission, even if only by Zoom.  I’ve pushed myself to make connections with mom friends and other female colleagues a priority, carving out time to share and encourage each another.  In an effort to connect with others, I’ve started a think tank for clients and prospective clients to discuss their good, bad, and ugly and to encourage one another when it comes to topics like COVID, compliance, leadership and employee morale.  It’s served as a great sounding board for human resource leaders.

When you make life a party, not a competition, and give yourself and others an opportunity to connect, it allows everyone to thrive together.  Here’s to ducking, diving and keeping our heads above water!”

Robin Wahby, CLU, Wahby Financial Group, LLC

“I am proud to say I recently conquered a goal that had always eluded me. This goal was to move families from managing money and financial advice to working towards the achievement of life’s purpose and leaving a legacy.  During the pandemic, I have been helping clients feel less anxious and more in control of their finances but am also now beginning to talk about the people and organizations that are important to them.  And talk they did!

Our client families are acting now to preserve their values and goals for future generations.  As a result, estate and charitable planning in my firm has increased significantly.  We have helped more clients than ever before design settlement letters and ethical wills.  An ethical will is a love letter to your family and bequeaths values. It can be as simple as a handwritten letter or a selfie video message.”

Sarah Gottheim, Savoy Associates

“Last month marked my 13-year anniversary in the dynamic health insurance industry. This year has been the most challenging, as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the nation. Adapting to a new virtual world, companies are expected to conform to an online-driven work environment, including benefits administration. To accomplish this, business owners are relying on trusted brokers.

Working at a leading general agency, it is my job to work hand in hand with my broker partners to provide top-notch benefits consulting for the most sought-after benefits. I have consulted with hundreds of clients and brokers at companies of all sizes and industries to help them keep up to speed on benefits trends and legislative changes.

Relationships are key, and pairing with a strong team with deep knowledge and expertise drives new levels of success. I’m excited for the opportunities to work with dedicated partners to support business growth and boost client satisfaction.”

Know of a rockstar woman in our industry who’s doing things better than the rest?  If so, I’d love to connect!  You can just shoot me over an email with their information or feel free to make a virtual introduction to me at scombs@combsandco.com   Stay safe, sane and mask up, my friends.



College Prep in 2020: Covid GO Bag
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Originally Posted by:  Evelyn Gellar
If you have a child going to college, have them pack an emergency COVID-19 bag in case they test positive and have to quarantine.
In these uncertain times, the possibility exists that your child may test positive, and have to leave his or her dorm for a quarantine location. It’s probably a VERY GOOD idea to have a pre-packed quarantine bag in his or her closet. It would be so much easier to ask a roommate to grab “the blue Nike bag in my closet and my laptop” than to try to figure out what he or she will want/need for two weeks.
_______________
COVID-19 QUARANTINE GO BAG:
  • Extra cell phone charger
  • List of important peoples’ phone numbers written out,
  • List of any allergies
  • 2 or more complete changes of comfy clothes: sweats, PJ Pants, T’s, Fuzzy Socks
  • Fleece throw (take the tiniest one in the house and squish it into an XL Baggie, then force the extra air out.)
  • Thermometer
  • Body Lotion/baby oil
  • Feminine Hygiene,
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste,
  • Shampoo/Conditioner,
  • Hair comb/brush, Hair Ties
  • Cough Drops
  • Tylenol to bring fever down, help with aches
  • Vicks VapoRub
  • Prescription medications (optional Mucinex DM or Robitussin Cough & Chest Congestion)
  • Tissues
  • Snacks
  • A few Masks
  • Some sort of distraction-even a coloring book and crayons or a deck of cards,
  • Powdered Gatorade to mix in water.
Good luck to all of the college students and also to their parents!
Stay healthy.


The Lessons I Learned From COVID-19

Original Post:  NAIFA Advisor Today

TellMeSomthingGood

“I need to hear something good.”

This is what a friend of mine said to be about 4 years ago, when we were having a trying time in our industry and just needed an influx of positivity.

Fast forward 3 years and some odd months later, I found I was the one who needed to hear something good.  My husband and I both tested positive for Covid-19, and although the symptoms for us were mild, I found myself being the one that was bummed out.  Days upon days of seeing emails about Covid-19 and what to do and what not to do, and suffering from information overload , and I just needed to hear something good….

This made me hit pause and remind myself, “Innovation is born from necessity.” What a bold statement that just rings so true today!

I’m in New York City, the epicenter of Covid-19, and it is definitely not business as usual.

But we have found new ways to connect with family, friends and clients and also support them in ways we never thought possible.

After doing some brainstorming with my peers, these are the things we started to do to feel more connected:

  1. We did not actively sell.  If people come to us and need coverage, we help them.  We got so many calls at  the  beginning of the quarantine from people who had been laid off and were in need of Individual Insurance. – New York City doesn’t pay brokers for their advice; so, instead of our normal $185/hour, we are dropping it down to $100 flat. But we are finding out that we are using more leeway on just answering some general questions from people and pointing them in the right direction without their retaining us.
  2. We reached out in kindness.  We had a lot of prospective clients who were in the process of setting up new group plans or business insurance policies and we reached out just to check on them, tell them we know things have changed, and want them to know that we can pick things up whenever they are ready
  3. You know those 4,712 emails all of us received about Covid-19?  We pulled out a lot of important information from them , put it into one blog posting, and reached out to all our clients with just a “Checking In” email. – We got a positive response from this email and our clients shared with us what they are going through and what they are doing. One client is writing a new book, one is shifting their cooking classes to online classes, and some have created disaster relief funds for their own staff.  So, what we did with these responses was to ask them to share with us links or information, and then we passed that information on to others.
  4. Whenever a client reached out to us about a fund they have created, we made a donation and shared the information on our Social Media accounts.

One of the things I learned from all of this is that you have to let people do things for you, too.  When my brother was sick with cancer when we were kids, the Chaplain at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital told my mother, “You have to be a gracious receiver.” So, I have eaten a little piece of humble pie and let people do for me.

I can’t tell you how many industry friends have reached out to me just to check on me and offer support.  I have had people send us masks, go food shopping for us, and just “Face Timed” with us to see how we are doing.

It’s been amazing to have Zoom dinner parties and Happy Hours and be able to feel connected when we felt like we were on an island.  There are truly so many incredible people in my life, including many men and women in our industry.   These peers of ours are working hard to make an impact on our industry during this difficult time.  They all serve as a shining light in such a dark time, and I am grateful to all of them.

Stay strong, my friends.

Bio:

Susan L Combs, PPACA, ChHC, is president of Combs& Company, LLC, a full-service insurance brokerage firm. She is a past recipient of NAIFA’s Four Under Forty Award, and past president of Women in Insurance and Financial Services.

 



To the Mizzou Grads of 2020!

Combs 2020

Thinking of all the Mizzou grads this weekend in the class of 2020!

I graduated in 2001 from the Ag School with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management. I’ve always described my degree as a business degree with cooking classes and where all the fun people were. I started out at Mizzou with a full ride in Air Force ROTC for a Chemical Engineering degree and had 4 additional declared Majors (Mechanical Engineering, Atmospheric Science, Elementary Education and double Major in Communications & German) until I found my home with the HRM people….hey, it’s not my fault I have so many different interests.

I even remember when I decided to look into HRM, my father was in town for a military ball that was at the main conference center at the time (Holiday Inn Select) and he said “Suz, I was talking to some kids at the Front Desk and they told me their Major was Hospitality, I think you’d really enjoy that and could see you being a meeting planner.” So I went at checked out the program, talked to Professor Michael Keene and Dr. Jim Groves, switched to the program, started showing up on the Dean’s List and served as a TA for Hospitality Accounting and Professional Bar & Beverage Management. I also went back and worked at that same hotel at the Front Desk and in Corporate Sales before landing at the Hearnes Center to work in Events where I got to help plan concerts and sporting events.

I still hold dear the friendships I made my Freshman year and beyond. The past 4 years I was lucky enough to be asked to “come back home” and serve on the University of Missouri Alumni Board, work with the Mizzou Law Veterans Clinic and excited to announce that I will be a part of The Jefferson Club Board of Trustees this coming Fall. Every time I think of my professional journey, Mizzou has been in the background as my foundation for my career, my business and my connections. So to the Mizzou grads that have a case of the Ho Hums since they won’t get to cross the stage this weekend, know that you are honored by this Alum and so many others. When I look back, I don’t remember the ceremony, I remember the people that helped make me Mizzou Made.

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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Amanda Kindler

This week’s #WonderWomanWednesday is someone near and dear to us in NYC. Amanda Kindler was a Registered Nurse working in Oncology prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic and was part of the first Covid Unit in the NYU Hospital System. When Amanda has some downtime, which is rare, she’s sure to log in her CrossFit workout from the CrossFit Dutch Kills box in Queens, NY where she has been a member for about 2 years. We salute Amanda and all the other healthcare providers putting themselves at risk during this time to help the people of our city!

Amanda Kindler WWW

 

 



Wonder Woman Wednesday: What’s the good news, ladies? April edition.

Hello from the Covid-19 epicenter, aka NYC.  I don’t know about you all, but the past few weeks have been crazy, exhausting and just plain sad at times.  It is definitely not business as usual here and I know that’s true in many other places as well, but I also know we will all make it through this time.  One of the things that has kept me going during quarantine is connecting with the incredible women from our industry who are still able to share some great ideas with me about what they are most proud of in the last 12 months.  Be on the lookout for another article coming soon that will include many of the featured women in this series who will share what they have been doing to stay connected with their clients during all of this.

This month, I’m going to introduce you to two new friends who have been a great source of information and support for me during this time.  I know I have said it before, but it is so important to develop these peer-to-peer mentorship relationships, because when there are rough times like these, we pull each other up and help each other to excel.  Please join me in welcoming Chelsea and Jennifer to the fold.

Chelsea Whalley,  J Donovan Financial

“In the past 12 months, my biggest accomplishment has been learning that my business is not actually about me.

When I owned my first agency, I was infatuated with the idea of developing other agents. While this sounds admirable, I was truly motivated by the energy rush I received seeing others succeed. Even though I was helping others, at the core of it all, it was still about me.

Even in my second agency, there have been times when I put together the best options for a prospect to save them money and time; yet, I still don’t win. When this would happen, I would make it about me (my presentation skills, my sales skills, etc). Perhaps it was, but there’s a good chance that it was about one of the million other factors that business owners consider when making decisions.

The truth, and my biggest lesson, is that nothing is about me. I have learned that the only way to truly scale my business and help as many employees and clients as possible is to let go of the belief that the outcome is directly tied to my worth as an advisor or as a person. With this, I can finally be present and enjoy the work I am doing.”

Jennifer Warfield, CPF®, National Life Group

“I’ve been in financial services many years and I’ve never been more excited to do what I do.  My passion lies in supporting women and giving back.  In my role, training and developing agents to build their business, I’m able to do both.  I’ve seen great success among the women leaders who count for almost half of my business.  In the last year, I’m pleased to have been highest-producing field leader at my company, hitting record sales. And helping my agents learn and grow gives their clients peace of mind.

One of the best aspects of our industry is the relationships among the women within it. I am fortunate to be supported and inspired by many great women.  In 2019, I was named WIFS Woman of the Year, a wonderful honor. Celebrating success within our field is an important way to create community and inspire the next generation.”

I know that I, as well as the crew here at BenefitsPRO are thinking of everyone during these uncertain times.  As always, if you know of great women in the field who are working hard to make this this industry even better, send an email introduction to me at scombs@combsandco.com. I’d love to connect!  Stay safe my friends.

Click Here for the original article at BenefitsPro



Small Business Exemptions for Paid Sick Leave Explained
Looking for an easy digestible explanation of the exemptions for companies under Paid Sick Leave? Check out this great video from colleague, Chelsea Whalley of J Donovan Financial.
DOL Clarifies Exemptions to Coronavirus Paid Sick Leave Laws
– Less than 50 employees
– Leave is requested because the child’s school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 related reasons
– An authorized officer of business has determined that at least one of the 3 conditions described below have been met:
1) The provision would result in small business’s expenses and financial obligations to exceed available business revenue and cause business to cease operating at minimal capacity
2) The employee requesting leave has a specific set of skills and knowledge that without it, the business’s financial and operational health is severely threatened
3) There are not sufficient workers who are able, willing and qualified to perform duties of person requesting leave and this would not allow business to operate at minimal capacity.
DOL is encouraging employers and employees to work together to find a solution during this time that allows the business to be maintained as well as the safety of employees.

 

 

 



Federal Loan Forgiveness CARES Act

Curious how the forgivable loans work under the CARES Act?  Check out this great video from colleague, Chelsea Whalley of J Donovan Financial.

Coronavirus Aid and Relief Economic Security Act
Emergency grants: The bill provides $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 to provide emergency funds for small businesses to cover immediate operating costs.
The application process ends on June 30th (“The Covered Period”)
Forgivable loans: There is $350 billion allocated for the Small Business Administration to provide loans of up to $10 million per business. Any portion of that loan used to maintain payroll, keep workers on the books or pay for rent, mortgage and existing debt could be forgiven, provided workers stay employed through the end of June.
Relief for existing loans: There is $17 billion to cover six months of payments for small businesses already using SBA loans.


Federal Payroll Tax Credits for Paying Sick Leave

Check out this great video from colleague, Chelsea Whalley of J Donovan Financial. Chelsea explains how eligible employer tax credits will fully reimburse employers for all qualifying sick and child-care leave payments mandated under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act by REDUCING PAYROLL TAXES owed to the IRS.

*Employers will be entitled to an ADDITIONAL CREDIT for the cost of MAINTAINING HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE!*

– Employers will be able to file for accelerated payments to refund employers for qualifying leave payments in excess of federal payroll taxes owed.

– Small businesses will be eligible for an exemption to the mandated sick and leave payments if they demonstrate that payment of child-care leave under the Act threatens the viability of their business.

– Enforcement actions will be delayed by thirty days for employers that act reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act.

*Note: Information is changing daily, please check with Dept of Labor and/or an employment attorney for exact information*