Booncast Episode 4: Boon and Your Broker

August 19, 2022

Booncast Episode 4: Boon and Your Broker

Boon is a friendly partner to the broker community and supports independent agents, insurance brokers and consultants to better service their clients with government contracts. We act as a third-party administrator (TPA), wholesaler, and subject matter expert for thousands of insurance consultants who do business with us today.

Grant Elam, Boon’s Head of Business Development, joins Booncast to discuss Boon’s unique partnership with the broker community, the ways that brokers can benefit from collaborating with a third-party administrator, and to put broker anxieties about wading into the government contracting space to rest.

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Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome to Booncast, a podcast where we discuss evolving healthcare needs and flexible employee benefit solutions. Join our experts for unique insight into the niche market of fringe administration, solutions to address the needs of the American employer and the hourly worker, compliance concerns, and updates on developing topics in the industry.

Caitlin Kennedy with Booncast: Welcome back to Booncast. Today’s guest host is Grant Elam, Head of Business Development here at Boon. Boon is a partner to the broker community and nobody knows that better than Grant. Today he’s going to discuss Boon’s partnership philosophy and the unique relationship that Boon has with the broker community. Grant, please introduce yourself to the listeners.

Grant Elam: Good to be here. Appreciate the opportunity. And looking forward to the discussion, no doubt.

Caitlin Kennedy: Alright! So Boon works as a third-party administrator, or a TPA. That is what we do. For the listeners that aren’t familiar with this term could you explain what a TPA is?

Grant Elam: Absolutely. And I’ll tell you, it’s a good question. And it comes up quite a bit out there in the market. I think sometimes, you know, this gets lost at the beginning of most conversations we have. Boon being a TPA means we perform many different business functions for our clients. You know, from the front end, from obtaining quotes from various carriers, to then creating proposals for those said, you know, benefits and the prospects. We also take on implementation and enrollment capabilities for those new clients, if need be. And that’s, quite frankly, that’s just the front end, right? That’s just the first piece of the onboarding process and those beginning stages. You know, from there, we can serve as a paypoint for our clients, tracking and distributing the different premium payments to the multitude of carriers that our clients might have. Right?

And that’s, we like to say, that’s really where the fun starts. And then we start talking about, you know, paying claims. You know, we’re a full claims paying third-party administrator. And that’s a big deal and being able to do that. And that really means a lot for our clients, in the relationships that we build with them. Because look, if there are any issues that arise, you know, along the way, we can easily target, address, and resolve very quickly. So that gives you a brief snapshot in terms of the TPA functions here at Boon.

Caitlin Kennedy: Yeah, so you spoke to clients briefly and, for a lot of instances here at Boon, we work very closely with the government contracting community. In the world of government contracting, what makes the services of a TPA valuable?

Grant Elam: Absolutely. And another good question. And timely, especially in today’s world, coming out of COVID, and a lot of contractors out there trying to find out, “Hey, how efficient are we?” Looking under the hood of their own businesses trying to find maybe some cost-saving strategies. And ultimately, for us, there’s a tremendous amount of administrative and compliance burden that’s put squarely on contractors today. You know, take for instance, the various executive orders that have come out in the past couple years, keeping track of multitude of fringe rates, engaging in numerous carriers from various product lines. All this, right, while still trying to go out and win contracts and travel the world and market themselves as a contractor and bid.

So, being a competitive employer and still being attractive to prospective employees. That’s a lot. Right? That’s a lot. So, we have a lot of admiration for those contractors today. Because you know, the onus is squarely on them to make sure it’s done right. That’s where That’s where Boon can step in.

Caitlin Kennedy: So beyond just government contracting in the broader scope. Today, we’re specifically talking about Boon’s partnerships with the broker community. So could you dive in a little more on what is Boon’s relationship to the broker community?

Grant Elam: Sure, I would say today, it’s very strong. And really, we’ve seen a lot of collaboration. Most recently because look, brokers are committed to find the best solution — the best value. They’re looking to find alternatives to maybe a solution that they’ve had their clients with for years. And that’s again, where we can add that mutual relationship and value add. So, to their client, providing a resource in terms of education, to the broker education to the contractor. If that isn’t their strong focus, if they don’t have (this is on the contractor side) a division within their own business, that’s actually looking at the market and the industry and changes that are happening of Department of Labor, Wage and Hour etc. Again, that’s just one piece that we can provide for that broker.

You know, for us, you know, being able to engage, especially now, I hear more and more from the legal component, right, the legal side and having our own in-house legal counsel. I gotta tell you, in talking to brokers and being able to articulate, “Hey, if your clients are having challenges, and you know, they have the, the unrest at night. When they’re not, you know, not sure, if they’re handling their contracts appropriately. We’re able to engage.” And that is a true value add and a true service that we can bring to the brokerage community.

So, you know, look, if it all comes down to those relationships, and having a broker partner that’s willing to engage us, right, and willing to engage obviously, with their clients. It’s a collective resource that can pay dividends from years to come.

Caitlin Kennedy: You use the term “best solution” early in your answer to discuss the goals of the broker community. And just, also that is such a huge part of what Boon provides is these are the best possible solution that can be offered to a very unique niche. I love how you summarize that. So with that being said, there, there are some misconceptions about TPAs within the broker community. Can you touch a little bit on what those misconceptions are? In terms of working with the TPA?

Grant Elam: Absolutely. You know, one common thing we hear in the market, and again, going back to the clearing these up from the first conversation, this usually helps, right? Is we’re not a broker. Right? Surprise, we’re a TPA! Okay? We work and we perform our administrative duties for our collective clients, and engage and rely upon our brokerage community for new opportunities, new business, and ultimately, to round out the whole of the relationship. We count on them. It’s an important partnership.

So you know, if that in itself is a “Oh! Aha! I thought you were a broker?” No. So we’ve gotten past that piece, right? We check that box. And then the next piece is “Well, great. So how do you guys, you know, how are you guys compensated?” Well, look, being a third-party administrator, we’re compensated by our carrier partners. Right? Because, as mentioned earlier, of those administrative duties that we do as a TPA, paying claims, answering phones, etc.

And obviously, we’re compensated on those specific administrative functions for government contractors. Right? The fringe accounting, the compliance aspect, holding fringe dollars and trust, pulling those trust dollars, and applying those and accounting toward the various carrier partners, and so forth. So those are big differences. And I like to say this, we’re here to enhance and ultimately provide a resource for the broker client relationship.

Caitlin Kennedy: A cornerstone of what we do at Boon is serving the government contracting community. That’s where the bulk of the expertise and wealth of knowledge at Boon exists. And I think you exemplify that in this discussion. But, there are some brokers that have cold feet when it comes to entering the government contracting space. What would you have to say to those brokers?

Grant Elam: Yeah, I would say “fear not.” I mean, look, I’ll say 10 plus years ago, right? Before I was at Boon, if you were to ask me what a government contractor was, I would say, “I have no idea.” Or maybe, “That sounds confusing and hard.” Right? So a lot of, you know, brokers in the community say, “You know, I’ve heard that phrase before, and it just seemed like a lot of work, or it’s challenging or confusing, or I don’t have the right license to pursue that kind of business.” Again, we can we can squash all of those or alleviate all those fears and say, “Hey, it’s actually no different than what you currently do today. Odds are, you’re actually touching a government contractor and have them as a client, you just may not have that side of the house.”

So for us, we feel part of alleviating the fears is to say, hey, talk about broad strokes what the industry is, right? These are private companies that are out there bidding on jobs to do something for federal, state or local governments. And they might say, “That makes sense”, right?

Okay. Next piece. These employers not unlike the current groups that you have today on the books, whether that’s on the employee benefit side, or also on the P&C side of the house, right, all of those employer groups are needing to offer some level of benefit. The special thing about government contractors and who we’re talking about in our scope, is they actually have dollars to spend toward bona fide benefits somehow, someway. So again, that’s really where we can come into play. So as we kind of walk through this, and again, for me, this is on a on a weekly, daily basis, kind of giving the explanation of here’s the environment, here are the rules of the road, and then ultimately, for the brokers, here’s the opportunity. And oh, by the way, in that opportunity, you might currently actually have them as clients today. So it can be a real, you know, eye opening moment, for a broker out there.

Caitlin Kennedy: Just great stuff. I think you summarized that just beautifully. Grant, we are coming to the end of our time. So I wanted to get from you, in your own words, what do you think is the ultimate value that Boon provides to our broker partners?

Grant Elam: Yeah, it’s a great question. And quite frankly, it can mean many things today. But for us, I would say this. It’s education. It’s a platform for prospecting, and, quite frankly, a sounding board for creative solutions that might be needed in the market.

You know, for us having the flexibility, being able to go to some of our current or existing carrier partners, or new ones that are burgeoning on the horizon, and saying, “Hey, we’re hearing from the community, specifically the brokerage community, And we think a product that does this would make sense because…” And so that is also another great spot in terms of my role here at Boon, Head of Business Development, and saying, “Hey, broker. Hey, brokerage. What are you seeing out there? What is the need? And hey, maybe we can engage in and shore that up and provide some utility there.” So hopefully, that answers the question.

Caitlin Kennedy: Absolutely. Education. Expertise. Partnership. I mean, that’s, that’s the crux of it all. Absolutely wonderful. Well, Grant, thank you so, so much for sitting down with us and offering us your expertise. Just really fascinating stuff.

Grant Elam: Absolutely. Thanks, Caitlin. Appreciate the time.

Caitlin Kennedy: Alright. Thank you!

That’s all for this episode of Booncast! Thank you for listening! Visit us on for more podcasts, blog posts, and information on Boon’s benefit offerings.