Introduction to the “Other Side” – What I know now that I didn’t know then

Since 1993 I have lived and worked in “The Last Best Place” Montana and Idaho.  Benefits and Payroll, my area of expertise, holds its own unique set of challenges specific to this area.  While attending a recent National User’s Conference out East, I introduced myself to a group of seasoned piers as a Payroll and Benefit Coordinator who had recently joined a Montana based Insurance Benefit Brokerage.  “Montana!  Wow, do you have Internet out there yet?”  they laughed.  But they weren’t joking.  I assured them that not only did we have high speed wireless Internet, in most places, but also those new fangled…what do you call them…oh yes automobiles. 

“What would make you want to move to the ‘Other Side’ (not to be confused with the Dark Side)” they asked.  By this they meant out of Human Resources and into the world of Insurance Benefits. A good question. For me it was an opportunity to do what I love best, provide education, quality benefits, and innovative tools to employers and employees.

What I know now, that I didn’t know before I took the leap to the “Other Side” is that there are numerous misconceptions that exists between the employer and the benefit carrier.  Speaking as a former HR Department client I can say the suspicion that carriers are only out to make a dollar runs deep.  The more I understand the other side of the equation the more I realize that carriers have the same goal as the employer; to provide quality benefits to the employee.  Carriers and providers may sometimes perceive our area as technologically behind the curve when in fact we have many progressive employers ready to embrace insurance technology, especially if it can save them time and money.   

In the end, we are all working toward the same goal and I am glad to be in a position to help both teams.   With proper education, and some hard work, we can move past these misconceptions and get down to business in “The Last Best Place.” 

Holly Ashcraft

Fringe Benefit Resources

Benefit Management Specialist

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