Meet Burman S. Clark, president and founder of Muneris Benefits, an insurance brokerage that specializes in consulting with small- to medium-sized employers.
Muneris assists businesses by helping employers and employees better understand their ever-changing options and requirements, consulting and educating them in regards to all types of benefits packages, from 401K’s to retirement packages.
The company – located in Roanoke, Va. – is known for its ability to tackle tough benefits-related issues that many other insurance brokerages won’t touch, such as helping an employee who is transitioning from company insurance to Medicare at retirement.
Burman received a B.A. from Randolph-Macon College, holds a Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) designation, and is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA). He takes his business seriously and has studied and worked hard at mastering it over the years. This is evidenced not only by his academic achievements, but also by his 28 years in the insurance business. In 1988, Burman began as a sales rep for Jefferson Pilot and worked his way up to the role of president for Muneris, where he consults and represents a variety of clients.
In addition to his many community involvements, Burman was also once the President of the Southwest Virginia Association of Health Underwriters. He has a happy family life with his wonderful wife and 4 children.
LXCouncil: How has Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act affected your business?
Burman: Dramatically. There has been a 180 degree change since 2010. Now we are more of a consultant firm than just a brokerage, educating employers on benefits available for employees, on confusing fees, penalties and mandate rules. In fact, 2015 was the first year of penalties for companies with more than 50 employers. The Affordable Care Act has been a game changer for the industry and for employers. We do a lot more than just sell insurance, now. We’ve become legislative experts, even giving attorneys advice. Frankly, we give more value to our customers as a result. It’s been good and bad for us, financially, as there has been a 25% cut in fees the last 4 years. However, we have taken on many more clients who need help, so it’s been a net positive.
LXCouncil: What changes do you foresee for your business in the future?
Burman: The challenge is that the legislation has been earth shattering, and with the coming Presidential election it could be repealed, amended, or simply changed. No matter who wins the elections, in fact, the legislation will change. It’s a work in progress, so many more people with insurance, and the cost of healthcare continues to rise. It didn’t make healthcare more affordable, just insurance more affordable for some.
LXCouncil: What has been a specific experience that you can share about being involved in a peer group – one that has helped you as a leader in your business?
Burman: LXC has helped me grow my business. It has provided guidance, helping me grow as a speaker, as well. I have been asked to speak across the country on the Affordable Care Act. In fact, I spoke on the national level at the national CSA Convention in D.C. this summer. I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity without the help from my peer group. I probably wouldn’t be doing this without help from the guys in my peer group. LXC has helped me better market myself and my business.
LXCouncil: In general, how has this experience helped your business or you as a leader?
Burman: It allowed us to look at “can we grow our business by being an expert” realistically. Most of our business is local but we are picking up some business from outside the state now. Basically, it has helped me look outside the box on marketing, and now I am getting more involved with growing my business and revenue streams.
LXCouncil: What do you do that is unique, that separates your company from the rest of the market?
Burman: We provide consultation for both employers and employees, not just employers – and this is a great selling point. Smart companies, especially growing companies, want happy employees. As employees transition to retirement and Medicare, we help with the transition, for example. We have become retirement benefit specialists, which most brokers don’t want to mess with as it is heavily regulated now. So we have become employee advocates. We explore options with employees and employers. Basically, we have made a moral and ethical commitment to be experts in the Obamacare market. We also help people buy insurance in the new marketplace, which can be confusing, so we’re in a few markets others won’t enter.