NABIP’s new CEO wants to ‘influence healthcare delivery in a meaningful way’

Healthcare touches nearly every aspect of life, and the new CEO of a professional association of health insurance brokers wants members of his organization to have a significant impact on healthcare delivery.

Jessica Brooks-Woods, CEO of NABIP
Jessica Brooks-Woods

Jessica Brooks-Woods will assume her new role as CEO of the National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals in September. She takes the reins from Janet Trautwein, who will step down as CEO of the 100,000-member organization after serving 26 years in that capacity.

Brooks-Woods has nearly 20 years of experience as a business leader and health equity expert. Founded the Executive Action and Response Network (EARN) and EARN Staffing Solutions, a full-service diversity, equity and inclusion focused talent consultancy and talent placement firm that has played a crucial role in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within the greater Pittsburgh business community.

She was president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health from 2013 to 2022 and was a board member of the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange. She also founded US Health Desk, a solution for patients who are facing potential harm or adverse outcome due to actual or perceived discrimination, lack of consideration, and inadequate treatment.

I’m excited about the opportunity NABIP has to influence the trajectory of where health care is going, Brooks-Woods told InsuranceNewsNet. I can think of no other single entity that touches, through its members, all the complexities and segmentation of health care, from the individual market to the employer market to the Medicare market.

I think we have a great opportunity to get people to quality healthcare, and do it in a sustainable way, through our network of people across the country.

New name, new opportunities for NABIP

NABIP recently underwent a rebranding effort, changing its name from the National Association of Health Underwriters, to more accurately reflect the role its members have in assisting employers and individuals in obtaining health insurance and benefits. Brooks-Woods said it believes the new name gives us an opportunity to have a new brand in the marketplace.

I want to leverage that to grow the organization significantly. And I also think there’s a great opportunity to be disruptive and talk about really important topics that we haven’t been so intentional about in the past.

She mentioned a topic such as women’s health, especially the maternal mortality crisis in the United States

I want people to look at our organization and expect that we will have a say on certain issues, he said. And because we represent all Americans through this organization, I think we have an opportunity to be more intentional about what we talk about and what we take a stand on over time.

Diversity and transparency

Diversity and transparency are two elements Brooks-Woods said he wants to focus on as he leads NABIP.

We need to consider not only the diversity of this country, but also the diversity of our membership, from rural to urban agencies. And the population that our members serve includes everyone from the lowest socioeconomic groups to some of the wealthiest people in our country. I think we have a great opportunity to ensure that we adequately represent that diversity in how we develop our membership, the policies we support and the new models we may need to consider adopting for our members’ businesses.

On transparency, Brooks-Woods said NABIP will continue to work with its members to help them comply with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which established compensation disclosure requirements. The disclosure requirements on compensation in the Consolidated Appropriations Law mean that brokers and providers of health plan services must disclose their sources of compensation and the services they provide. Examples of compensation include commissions, research fees, and incentive payments.

It’s a process we need to navigate through and understand how we respond to our customers and how we as an organization can assist our members in their fiduciary roles and responsibilities, he said. How can we make sure we have the right information, at the right time, and for the right person at the point of care?

I think we have to play a part in advancing that in a way that works for everyone.

Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. Previously she worked as director of communications for an association of insurance agents and was an award-winning journalist and newspaper editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.

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