Are You Leading with Resilience?

Welcome. Interested in interesting COVID data? Check out this great graphic offered by The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living. It’ll tell you info on state-by-state COVID-19 positivity rates. Surprisingly, California didn’t make it in the top 10.  Scroll down to the bottom of this newsletter for a terrific guest post by Emma Fox on leading with resilience.


Telehealth Here to Stay?

Needless to say, there’s a growing demand for telehealth amid COVID-19. A new healthcare consumer survey from DocASAP says it’s not only a growing but temporary demand, though. According to new research, virtual care may emerge as a long-term preference.
Some of the findings from the recent survey:
  • 43% of respondents said that they wouldn’t feel comfortable going back to see a healthcare provider in person until at least the fall, with anxiety lasting into 2021.
  • When asked, “right now, which of the following facilities do you feel are safest to enter,” the majority of respondents (42%) selected a grocery store over a hospital (32%) or doctor’s office (26%).
  • Of those who have had a telehealth appointment, 92% of respondents said that they were satisfied with their overall experience.
  • An overwhelming majority of respondents (91%) who have had a telehealth appointment said they are more likely to schedule a telehealth appointment instead of an in-person visit in the future.
  • While routine check-ups were the top reason for scheduling a telehealth appointment across the board (56%), more than a quarter of telehealth visits (26%) were due to mental health concerns, exceeding COVID-19 (24%).
  • Nearly half of all respondents (45%) said if a provider offers telehealth appointments, it would influence their decision to use them.

Alignment Announces Virtual MA

As part of its product expansion for 2021, Orange, California-based Alignment Healthcare says it will announce several new options for seniors — most notably a signature virtual Medicare Advantage plan. Pending approval, the plan will emphasize digital, concierge-style solutions for primary care and specialty care services. Alignment will also offer HMO dual-eligible special needs and HMO point-of-service plans. In select plans, Alignment will introduce new benefits for eligible members — such as pet sitting — and will continue to address social determinants of health such as food instability, loneliness and lack of transportation that directly affect health outcomes. Last year, Alignment extended its ACCESS On-Demand Concierge program to include companion care as well as a partnership with Uber Health for non-emergency medical transportation to assist seniors. The payer is pushing into new markets in California, Nevada and North Carolina.


LTC is Among Industry Top Concerns

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a worry list  that includes long-term care insurance, reports Think Advisor. Louis Brownstone agrees with their concern. Don’t miss Cal Broker’s September issue where Brownstone, an LTC pro, discusses the state of this product and much more!


MIB Life Index: U.S. Life Insurance Activity Soars in July 

MIB Life Index says July’s numbers indicate the life insurance industry has successfully adjusted to how business is acquired and underwritten in the COVID-19 era. From MIB:

After sharp submission declines earlier in the year, U.S. life insurance application activity has come back vigorously, up 14.1% in July YOY, according to the MIB Life Index. The most expansive YOY growth for a July on record, this month’s results show a significant demand matched by a resilient industry…  July’s application activity grew 4.0% over June’s numbers, the first positive MOM change in the same timeframe since the inception of the MIB Life Index, and showcased double digit growth in all product lines on a YOY basis. At month end close, the composite MIB Life Index is up 3.2% YTD through the end of July.


What’s the Fate of 401(k) Plans?

Cal Broker pal Bob Lawton says that 401(k) plans still make a ton of sense — despite what you may be hearing. Read his whole post here.

Impact of CARES Act on 401(k) Plans

And in case you need more on 401(k) plans, LIMRA wishes to inform you that they’ve created this post about the impact of recent legislation on the plans. From the post:

Some of the Act’s provisions have the potential to deeply impact defined contribution (DC) retirement programs by expanding how workers can tap in to their retirement savings when affected by the virus and/or crisis. For eligible workers, CARES doubles the amount that can be taken as a loan, from $50,000 to $100,000. It also creates a new category of plan withdrawal, without the 10% penalty associated with traditional hardship withdrawals. A CARES withdrawal also allows the individual to pay taxes over a three-year period rather than in a single tax year.

It’s definitely worth the read!


  • LAAHU’s Zoom Happy Hour is now the last Wednesday of each month from 4-5p.m. Members and non-members alike are invited! Register here.
  • MDRT 2020 Virtual Event, Aug 8-28

This five-day main event will feature the MDRT Main Platform, MDRT Speaks, Focus Sessions and ConneXion Zone breakout sessions in morning, afternoon and evening time blocks. Unique digital networking opportunities including the MDRT Build Your Network matching service and an interactive virtual scavenger hunt. MDRT members can register for the MDRT Virtual Event at any time before the August 3 opening date. Members are encouraged to register at least one week in advance to connect with fellow attendees and have the best platform experience. Any qualified financial services professional seeking MDRT membership can still join this year, with all late fees waived under the MDRT Productivity Action Plan. To learn more about MDRT and the benefits available to members, visit

  • 16th Annual BenefitsPRO Broker Expo 2020 will be Virtual

BenefitsPRO Broker Expo 2020 will now be virtual in August. Preview the virtual experience here. Register for free here.

  • LAAHU/VCAHU Present “Get Up, Go and Grow – You Got This!”, Aug 20
Los Angeles and Ventura Country Associations of Health Underwriters will host a panel of ancillary experts who will help producers identify opportunity within their books of business where they can add value while maintaining a growth mindset. The panel will take place August 20, 3- 4:30p.m. Pacific. it’s free for Members, $15 for non-members.
Chad Eichten, Mutual of Omaha
Zachary Copeland, Reliance Standard
Michael Lewis, Guardian
Laura Murphy, Principal
Brian Sullivan, Humana
Register here.
  • California Statewide Medicare Expo, Virtual, Aug 26-27

Ten local California Association of Health Underwriters chapters will host a California Statewide Medicare Expo. Join the online, two-day dive into all things that can help Medicare agents serve seniors. More than 100 sessions and opportunities for certifications and CE. $49 for AHU members; $59 for non-members. Register here.

  • NAIFA-Los Angeles Events

Thursday August 27, 2020: Life Insurance Awareness webinar with 4 great speakers. Info and registration here.

Friday September 25, 2020: Health Forum. Info and registration here.
  • National African-American Insurance Association (NAAIA) Events

Agent Round Table Series: How Are You Performing? Tuesday, August 18, 9a.m. Pacific. Register here.

Conquering the World of Virtual Presentations with Gilda Bonanno. Thursday, August 20, 9-10a.m. Pacific. Info and tickets here.
  • The Senior Summit, Virtual, Sept 1-3

A collaboration of Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego Associations of Health Underwriters. Certifications, product trainings, CEs, guest speakers, industry experts, as well as a virtual exhibit hall and more! Price: $49 AHU Member or Non-Member (3 Day Admission). Deadline to Register: August 28. Info and registration here.

  • IICF Foundation Women in Insurance Regional Forums Rescheduled

Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation has rescheduled the Women in Insurance Regional Forums:

Chicago: October 14
New York: October 26

Los Angeles: October 30
Dallas: November 17
More info at IICF’s website.
  • CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit will be March 2021

CAHU’s WLS committee announced that the second Women’s Leadership Summit has been rescheduled for March 24-26, 2021, at the JW Marriott in Las Vegas. Questions should be emailed to


Leading with Resilience 

By Emma Fox

I can still picture my older brother’s face in my mind: frozen with a mixture of disbelief, regret, and fear. From where I sat in the living room, looking through the splintered and mangled pane of glass that separated us from one another—outside to inside—I noted to myself that he wasn’t going to get away with this one. He had, like most kids, shattered some glass from time to time, but a rock through the main living room bay window of our house was set to turn my young, redheaded mother pure grey. Just seconds later, as the furious vision of my mother emerged in the gaping space where our window once was, my brother promptly bolted directly out of our cul-de-sac with my mother quickly charging outside with vocals on high volume. Chaos erupted in our house that afternoon.

That night, my brother sheepishly returned home to face the inevitable consequences. I realize now that my older brother, Darren, was perhaps my very first look at what it meant to be resilient. He, of course, did not want to return home that night, or any other night where his reckless boyishness had landed him in hot water with our shared parents. But he understood that sooner or later he had to face the consequences of his actions, even if it was uncomfortable and even if his unintended consequence had been born by accident. In short, my brother taught me how to take onus of my mistakes. And boy, was it ugly.

Fortunately, I do not have enough bandwidth in this article to start cataloging all the mistakes I’ve made in my life and my career. But if there were a regal recognition of ‘she-who-has-failed-most’, I’d be sitting high on my throne with a crown slightly askew as the Queen-of-all-flubs. In place of this imaginary kingdom of acceptance is the very real Empowered Leadership, and it’s thriving community of former (and current) flubbers, like me.

I am a healthcare benefits consultant and partner of E Powered Benefits—a firm widely known for specializing in constructing and managing non-network, self-funded health plans for large employers. But, parallel to my day job, I am the founder of the Empowered Leadership movement—a community of women and men just like me (and likely you), who are willing to say, “hey look Ma, I failed!”

The truth is that we’re all holding ourselves back from our own potential because we cannot get over the mistakes or missteps we’ve taken in the past. We all know it; it’s perhaps the most debilitating human emotion—regret. I know you all hear me on this. So often it’s our own feelings of regret or remorse for a job-not-achieved that prevents us from continuing to move forward. Our paths are not necessarily halted due to lack of opportunity, but often our lack of accountability (with a smidge of humility) that stalls the progress we so desperately want to make. It’s that combination of fear and failure that causes us to hesitate when it comes to speaking up, taking a risk, or doing what we really love. And all that fear—all of it—is bred from failed attempts that came before. Sound familiar?

When I finally realized that I was my own barrier to the success I coveted, I was left feeling frustrated and anxious and, for a time, at a loss for how to rectify it. While I have embraced a sense of responsibility for my own shortcomings for many years now, it was not until somewhat recently that I was provided a truly safe space to emote and ponder my failures. And not just to consider them as reflections of the past but a celebration of my journey to this point. Wow—how far I have come!

Haven’t you had those moments of hindsight when you said to yourself, “Thank goodness that happened the way it did, or I would never have had…”? Of course! And let’s face it, some of the toughest times in our lives—break-ups, divorces, lost jobs—have led to bigger, better and brighter times at some point down the road. Now, I’m not suggesting that we start celebrating life’s most tragic injustices. I am suggesting that a little recognition of the fact that you stand today, likely stronger and more resilient than ever before, as a direct result of those ugly days and nights you had way back when; and if we take some time to honor the difficulty we were forced to face in those situations, perhaps we can find a deeper appreciation of what we’re truly capable of. Were you capable back then of what you are now? Heck no.

I recognized very quickly that the only way to get people to let go of the shame attached to their failures (the same shame holding them back from their future successes) was to give them an environment in which they could admit that without those uncomfortable happenings, they could not be in the position they are today. And that’s the hard, cold truth. Without your failed business ventures, your lost friendships, your embarrassing temper tantrums, that lost promotion, the dead sale after promising prospecting—you could not have learned (and re-learned) behaviors that have gotten you to the fork you stand in front of today. And when we take a moment to sit in the discomfort of those cringe-worthy memories instead of denying them, we also take a moment to acknowledge how necessary they really were for our growth as people and professionals.

The Empowered Leadership Community was founded on the idea that it is totally okay to look back and take stock of every ‘oops’ along the way. We shouldn’t leave the past behind us as irrelevant because in reality it’s the guide that leads us forward. We shouldn’t be speaking only about the ways we’ve achieved success because if we’re being honest with ourselves, success is actually not something easily achieved on the first try. Instead, we welcome leaders of our industry to speak up about how badly they’ve screwed up and what those moments have taught them along the way. It’s been a beautiful exposure of our industry’s most well-respected (and often misunderstood) thought leaders and change-agents. It may surprise you to know that the people who appear the most confident are often those that have faced the most adversity along the way.  It might shock you further to know that they still don’t have it all figured out. But what all our leaders have in common is one innate trait: vulnerability. It takes courage and vulnerability to share our most personal defeats to help someone realize that what they may be facing right now is really just a small detour in the journey. We are a community of advisors and representatives that have fallen flat on our faces and gotten back up again and we’re not afraid to admit it and share it. If you want to feel empowered, or help others to feel that way, please join the Empowered Community.

Emma Fox is an employee benefits consultant specializing in advising large employers in a self-funded, open access health plan environment. She dedicates herself to bringing effective strategies to clients and the industry alike, to improve quality of care while lowering costs. Emma is the founder of the Empowered Leadership movement on Linked In that has since become the Empowered Community: an organization dedicated to highlighting resilient leadership and providing a public platform for all voices in the insurance and leadership industry. When she is not working, Emma spends her time between Oregon and North Carolina with her partner, two children and two step-children. 




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