The post below is a guest blog from Todd Yates who serves as Managing Partner for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.
The old English proverb, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention,” means that difficult or impossible scenarios prompt inventions that are aimed at reducing the difficulty.
We have seen inventions from necessities throughout history, but I was recently reading an article in Business Week that reminded me how true this statement can be. The article that highlighted inventions derived during the Great Depression. There were certainly some extenuating needs during this period. Yet creative, hard-working people elected not to succumb to the turmoil of the day, but instead they rose to the challenge and worked to make life better. Just take a look at how the electric razor was developed, as well as Xerox copies.
At Hill, Chesson & Woody, (HCW) we focus on innovation. We work to embed it into our daily work processes. We actually celebrate it with a monthly award of our “Thinking Cap” which goes to our team member that identifies and implements the most innovative idea that month. We work to apply this type of mindset to all of our business relationships.
One of the best “innovations of necessity” came from a relationship that HCW enjoys with CAI (Capital Associated Industries). Nine years ago we recognized that there was no widely accepted benchmark for health plans in the Triad, Triangle and Eastern NC. Most employers were simply guessing at the marketplace normative levels or they were taking national surveys and trying to extrapolate to their local NC market. Neither method yielded very reliable results. So together we built and deployed a survey that measures the major cost drivers associated with a medical plan, as well as the cost sharing between employees and employers to cover the premium associated with the plan. Each year the North Carolina Healthcare Benefits & Cost Survey has grown in participation. This year we are anticipating over 800 local employers to contribute their plan information to the survey. This is a great example of innovation spawning from necessity as there was certainly a gap in the marketplace resources.
This valuable survey opened November 13th and remains open for one month. If you would like to receive the aggregate report results free of charge, I would encourage you to take the survey today.