Why Word & Brown? 38+ Years of Business Innovation – and More

Why Word & Brown? 38+ Years of Business Innovation – and More

John Word and Rusty Brown started the Word & Brown General Agency in 1985. As insurance sales professionals, they understood the challenges involved in preparing health insurance proposals for small businesses clients. In the early 1980s, while different carriers could be presented in a single proposal, underwriting guidelines were not integrated. The result was business owners could see options for which their businesses were not eligible.

John and Rusty knew there was a better way to serve brokers and meet the diverse needs of their small business clients. They responded by creating Quot-O-Matic®, a revolutionary technology platform that transformed small group quoting. It included not only carriers, rates, and benefits, but also underwriting guidelines.

With that change – the addition of underwriting guidelines built into the quote – John and Rusty were able to guarantee rates, unlike any other insurance quoting tool available at the time. Not only were quotes more accurate, but Quot-O-Matic made quoting available to all California brokers at no cost.

Quot-O-Matic was the first of many insurance industry innovations developed by Word & Brown.

In 1986, John and Rusty created CobraPro, the first company with a focus on COBRA compliance and administration. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) passed by Congress allowed workers and families losing their group health benefits to maintain coverage for a limited period. CobraPro helped businesses comply with the federal COBRA law and streamlined administration.

A new flexible benefit plans division, FlexPro, was added to assist employers with Section 125 (cafeteria plan) administration and disbursements in 1990. A Section 125 plan gives employees access to certain taxable and nontaxable pretax benefits like a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Employees contribute a portion of their salary on a pretax basis to pay for qualified benefits. The amounts contributed are not includible in income for federal income tax purposes. Cafeteria plan contributions are also not usually subject to FICA taxes, which fund Social Security or Medicare, or FUTA taxes, which fund the federal unemployment insurance program.

In 2001, Word & Brown launched web-based COBRA services. Two years later, COBRA and flexible benefits administrative services were consolidated in a new company. CONEXIS was subsequently sold in 2014 to WageWorks, which was acquired by HealthEquity in 2019.

In 2006, Word & Brown introduced a new website-based quoting engine. This enabled brokers to compare all health plans, rates, and benefits, and create customized client proposals instantly online.

In 2014, Word & Brown introduced WBQuote, a second-generation of Quot-O-Matic, which further expanded quoting capabilities for small businesses and their employees. A mobile quoting platform, WBQuote Lite, went online in 2018. A Large Group quoting and enrollment division also began that year. WBBroker, a fast, easy, secure way for brokers to better manage their Word & Brown business from the palm of their hand was added in 2020.

In addition to all our technological advances, Word & Brown is also responsible for other programs and services that benefit brokers, small businesses, employers, and employees. These include:

  • Creation and introduction in 1996 of the CaliforniaChoice private insurance exchange, the state’s first multi-carrier small business health insurance exchange with 130+ coverage options from eight health plans.
  • Launch of the California Rx Card discount prescription drug program. It allows individuals to save up to 80% on prescription drugs – often reducing their out-of-pocket costs to less than their health plan copay. The Nevada Drug Card was added in 2008. Since their launch, the two cards have helped cardholders save more than $800 million on brand-name and generic prescription drugs, including some not covered by health insurance.
  • Introduction of ChoiceBuilder, the nation’s first ancillary benefits exchange, in 2009. ChoiceBuilder, a sister company to CaliforniaChoice, offers employer-sponsored and voluntary plans including nearly 40 Dental, Vision, Chiropractic & Acupuncture, and Life Insurance plans from nine carriers.

Technology and security are important at Word & Brown. Three times since 2019 our systems have earned HITRUST Certified status for information security, the country’s most prestigious certifiable security framework for the health care industry. There is no business requirement for this accreditation, but we have spent considerable time and money to earn this respected certification.

Start to finish, before and after the sale, we are here for you and those you serve. Our diverse roster of products and services, innovative technology, and a commitment to “Service of Unequalled Excellence” enable you to write more, renew more, and earn more.

Contact your Word & Brown representative for details. Or if you’re not already a partner broker, call us today at 800-869-6989, or fill out our online form to get started.

How Much Can You Earn as an Insurance Broker?

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