• HEALTH INSURANCE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD

    To say that people are disenchanted with the health insurance industry is an understatement. It’s no longer front page news, either. In light of the current political climate, and with uncertainty still looming over Obamacare 2.0, the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and healthcare reform in general, we’re seeing the effects this uncertainty is having on our clients in the health care and affiliated industries.

    Perhaps nowhere is this topic more complicated, and more emotionally charged, than in the health insurance arena.

    As any goal-oriented, data-driven, insight-minded agency would do for its clients in a situation like this, we needed to understand the root of the problem – where these frustrations were originating – and what could be done to mitigate consumers’ fears.

    So we asked them. We talked to health insurance consumers around the country, as well as to human resources professionals responsible for making the health insurance decisions for organizations large and small. We found out what their pain points were, what they liked, what they disliked, and their general perceptions of the health insurance industry as a whole.

    We knew the public was unhappy with health insurance, but we didn’t know just how dire the situation was. Yes, the future of health care is UNCERTAIN. Yes, customers and administrators are increasingly FRUSTRATED and SKEPTICAL. But we certainly didn’t expect to hear responses as vitriol as these:

    “Shady, untruthful, and confusing.”

    “Complicated and money-grubbing.”

    “Necessary evil.”

    “I analyze the data regarding employer premiums as well as premiums on the market. I review salaries for executives working at the main insurance providers. Usually while drinking a glass of wine to dull the pain.”

    “A mystery wrapped in a puzzle.”

    “The health insurance industry is more concerned with their bottom line than with serving their customers.”

    “A scam.”

    “Huge increases to premiums. Severely bloated salaries for their executives.”

    “Scumbag money swindlers!”

    It sounds bad, and that’s putting it nicely. But there’s a silver lining. Reading between the lines of these pleas, a tremendous opportunity exists for one health insurer to step up and take ownership of the problem. To become the biggest part of a complex solution by simply choosing to hold themselves accountable to higher standards.

    Which is how, as an agency, we arrived at the following INSIGHT>FACT>STRATEGY progression.

    The INSIGHT: Individuals and plan administrators don’t believe that health insurance companies are working with their best interests in mind.

    The FACT: [LUCKY HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY] exists to take care of our customers.

    The STRATEGY: WE HEAR YOU.

    WE. HEAR. YOU. Three simple words that when used together, convey empathy, compassion, sincerity, understanding, and dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. But it’s one thing to merely hear someone. It’s another thing to lead by example. So the phrase “We hear you” needs to be part of a broader movement, something along the lines of, “We hear you. We’re different. And here’s what we’re doing about it.”

    It’s a position that not everyone is willing – or even able – to own. But for one lucky health insurer who jumps on this opportunity first, their long term prognosis calls for a full recovery.

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  • Outdoor Recreation Makes America Stronger

    The Outdoor Industry Association recently published a study we found very interesting.

    “Investments in outdoor recreation on public lands and waters earn compounding returns in the form of healthier communities, healthier economies and healthier people.

    More than 100 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt foresaw the crossroads at which we now stand. He said, “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets that it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.”

    From our national parks to local green spaces, from alpine lakes to transcontinental rivers, America’s outdoor recreation assets are its citizens’ common trust. Our public lands and waterways belong to every American, and they are the backbone of our outdoor recreation economy. They hold the promise of prosperity and well-being. It is as much our responsibility to invest in them as it is our right to enjoy them.

    From the smallest rural towns to the most densely packed cities, outdoor recreation powers a vast economic engine that creates billions in spending and millions of good-paying American jobs. Likewise, it is an underappreciated and underfunded weapon against crime, poor academic performance and rising health care costs.

    We are fortunate to live in a nation of iconic natural beauty, inspiring landscapes and bountiful waters. Going outdoors to hike, bike, camp, fish, hunt or just walk around the neighborhood orients us to the natural world. In the outdoors, we come together with friends and family, make lasting memories and find solitude and contemplation. And a growing body of research shows that being outdoors delivers health benefits that are, in many cases, on par with pharmaceutical treatments.

    By enjoying these places, we invest in our own well-being and affirm our shared history. In challenging times, when disagreements appear sharper and differences seem harder to bridge, it is the outdoors that reconnects us.”

    Read the whole study here. *images and content from Outdoor Industry Association.

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  • Golf Digest ranks our clients as the best

    We think our clients are the best, but it’s nice to hear it from other people, too!

    No surprises here, Bandon Dunes and Chambers Bay find themselves in the top 25 of Golf Digest’s latest 100 Greatest Public Courses.

    Pacific Dunes #2
    Bandon Dunes #7
    Old Macdonald #10
    Bandon Trails #14
    Chambers Bay #24

    Check out the whole list here.

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  • Not all Bandonistas are the same

    From the first tee at Pacific Dunes, you’re awestruck. Playing into the breeze, you’re taken in by the faded green of the fescue fairways against a blue morning sky, the rolling bluffs, and the dramatic wildness of the landscape.

    Traveling to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort for the first time, you already know this is the golf trip of a lifetime. But the excitement of finally arriving on property conjures up intense anticipation for what lies ahead.

    One thing you do notice from the first tee at Pacific Dunes is that the Pacific Ocean is nowhere to be seen … at least not yet.

    “Just wait until you come up to the third green,” your friend, a veteran Bandonista, assures you. “The ocean views are incredible. You’ve never seen or felt anything like it.”

    Unbeknownst to a Bandon Dunes rookie, your playing partner is one of our favorite types of Bandonistas — The Tour Guide. You see, not all Bandonistas are the same. In fact, Bandon Dunes veterans usually fall into at least one, but typically a combination of four main personality categories.

    Who are these distinct members of the Bandon Dunes family? Well, it helps to think of them like our four championship golf courses: Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails, and Old Macdonald. Starting with the course and player where it all began, here’s a rundown of the four courses of Bandonistas:

    Bandon Dunes, aka The Tour Guide

    Hard to believe that Bandon Dunes was once just 18 holes and a vague idea to most, but not to The Tour Guide, who has made pilgrimages year after year to the Southern Oregon Coast. He read Dream Golf cover to cover before his first trip and will read it again just before his next. Simply put, The Tour Guide has seen it all over the years, and now wants to show others how to do Bandon Dunes right.

    Want to know where The Labyrinth is? The Tour Guide will not only lead you there, he will explain exactly what and who inspired its creation. Ever notice that David McLay Kidd routed the par-4 fourth hole at Bandon Dunes in a way to reveal the ocean on the approach shot rather than tee box? The Tour Guide knows exactly why.

    Pacific Dunes, aka The Flash

    Like Pacific Dunes, The Flash gets showered with accolades. From the first tee, it becomes obvious that this Bandonista is the player in the group. They have all the shots, and look picture-perfect in form and fashion while making each one. The Flash doesn’t have a bad hole in him, but rest assured he will play a few holes that will make your jaw drop.

    All along, The Flash somehow still manages to stay true to humble beginnings. He loves and respects the game, and to see The Flash play is to see a true artist at work.

    Bandon Trails, aka The Independent

    He has a different look about him than most, and The Independent does not mind that a bit. Opinionated and unafraid, The Independent relishes the chance to stand out from the crowd. The Independent is the fun one, even if not everybody quite gets him at first, but once they do, they can’t help but fall in love.

    The Independent might show up to the first tee in knickers. He may smack a “Texas wedge” from 50 yards off the green, or use a three-quarters swing of a driver off the deck to skid a ball down the fairway. With little use for convention, The Independent is only limited by an almost unlimited imagination.

    Old Macdonald, aka The Traditionalist

    Reserved and humble, The Traditionalist feels an uncommon spiritual connection to the game. For this person, golf is a journey meant to be cherished. The Traditionalist has an unwavering passion for the game and its history. He might even have a persimmon wood driver in his bag, because The Traditionalist does not believe that contemporary is always better.

    The Traditionalist is devoted to the Rules of Golf, but does not care much for the scorecard. In fact, to dwell on the score is to miss the point altogether. To The Traditionalist, golf is a historic game and that history should be honored.

    When it comes to your course persona, are you more Bandon Dunes than Pacific Dunes? Or are you the Bandon Trails or Old Macdonald Bandonista? Maybe you have a bit of all of them in you.

    A trip to Bandon Dunes is the only way to truly know for sure.

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  • Millennials and Credit Unions

    FPO COPY – Guess what? Millennials don’t use credit unions because they don’t know much about them. They tend to default to bigger banks and then stick with them, because it’s a hassle to change banks once multiple online payments are tied to one card. Specifically, the “membership” concept is confusing. Millennials are inclined to think that they have to be “eligible” to be a member.

     We found it interesting that the idea of a “community bank” has much more cache than “credit union” among this group.

     Through this and other articles I came across, it seems that one of the primary considerations for millennials when choosing a bank is digital service offerings. Their preferences are oriented toward quick interactions, either online or in a mobile app.

    Read the entire white paper here.

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  • Millennials? Nope. It’s Gen X who can’t put their phones down

    NY Times – We all know the stereotype: silly millennials, tethered to their phones, unable to accomplish the simplest tasks without scrolling their Instagram feeds, snapping their friends and/or tweeting inanely. But a Nielsen report released last week shows that Americans from 18 to 34 are less obsessed with social media than some of their older peers are.

    Adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes for the younger group. More predictably, adults 50 and over spent significantly less time on the networks: an average of 4 hours 9 minutes a week.

    Sean Casey, the president of Nielsen’s social division, said the finding initially surprised him because “the going thought is that social is vastly owned by the younger generation. It’s kind of synonymous, when you think of millennials, you think of social. At a time when we wanted to be connected, it came out right when we were at the top of our media consumption,” he said. “It’s become second nature to our generation.”

    The finding underscores how ubiquitous the smartphone has become. The report, released on Jan. 17, found that in the United States, 97 percent of people 18 to 34, and 94 percent of people 35 to 49, had access to smartphones. Seventy-seven percent of those 50 and older used smartphones, the report found.

    The 29-page report was based on data from 9,000 smartphone users and 1,300 tablet users across the country from July through September. The data was not self-reported. The report also broke out which social networks were most popular on smartphones, finding that Facebook still dominated on mobile, with about 178.2 million unique users in September. It was followed by Instagram, with 91.5 million unique users; Twitter, with 82.2 million unique users; and Pinterest, with 69.6 million users.

    Snapchat, a favorite of younger users, was sixth on the list, behind the professional networking site LinkedIn.

    Finally, the report looked at second-screen activity on social media, measuring how many times Facebook and Twitter users employed those sites to post about programs they were watching or to interact with others’ posts.

    Again, in this category, it was Generation X that could not look away from its devices: On an average day, the report found, 42 percent of those interacting with television on Facebook were from 35 to 49; only 40 percent were millennials.

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