July 21, 2023
In 2003, John Gause founded Apex Benefits. He believed that he could help organizations build better benefits plans, while saving them as much money as possible. That core belief has not changed over the years – help organizations save more on benefits, so they can do more for their people. While this mission has not changed, it has certainly been tested.
In 2010, the Apex market analysis team identified that they could save several clients a substantial amount on their benefits by switching them from one major carrier to another. After ensuring this change would go off without any disruption to the client or the plan members, we made the move.
Naturally, the carrier losing these clients was not happy with the decision. A few weeks after the notification of termination, they canceled Apex’s contract under the “no cause” provision. This put our team in a challenging spot:
- Apex could no longer get quotes from the carrier for new business
- Our ability to serve our clients who remained with that carrier was impacted
A choice had to be made – back down and return the business to the carrier or stand our ground. For Apex there wasn’t a choice at all – our clients’ interest came first. John Gause reached out to the carrier, and over the course of several conversations – worked to remedy the relationship. “I respected their stance on the situation. They wanted to protect their interests,” said Gause, “and after all, I just wanted to protect our clients’ interests.”
Over time, and some tense conversations, we found common ground. The carrier realized the value of a long-term partnership with Apex and a new contract was signed.
Just the beginning
This was only the first chapter in the contract saga. A few years later, Apex introduced reference-based reimbursement (RBR) to the Indiana marketplace and helped a variety of clients achieve substantial savings on their benefit plans. Other advisory firms unleashed a barrage of complaints to the carriers. An all too familiar letter ended up on John’s desk – stop moving clients to RBR or lose the contract, again under the “no cause” provision.
However, Apex had grown substantially since 2010. In our position as one of Indiana’s largest independent advisory firms, we pushed back on the carrier’s threat. RBR allowed our clients to achieve transformative savings – building school and county reserves and allowing for richer benefits. After yet another series of conversations the carrier dropped the threat of a canceled contract – paving the way for RBR and savings for more Hoosier clients.
Today, as we continue to celebrate over 2 decades of helping organizations save more on benefits so they can do more for their clients – we reiterate our commitment: in the pursuit of our clients’ best interest, Apex never backs down.