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Heather Mosley | SBJ

2022 Trusted Advisers Insurance Professional: Ken A. Stephens

Employee Benefit Design LLC

Posted online

For Ken A. Stephens, the insurance business is about meeting the clients’ needs, giving honest and accurate counsel and recommending the insurance coverage that’s essential. He doesn’t just focus on getting the sale, but also strives to be an advocate for his customers on any issues or questions that arise about the coverage they’ve purchased.

Employee Benefit Design LLC, where Stephens is an owner and partner, offers individual and group health, life, dental, vision and disability insurance policies. Mainly, the company focuses on helping employers offer benefits to their staff.

“We have counseled our employer clients through the complex areas of employee benefits and the compliance associated with these plans,” says Stephens, who in 2021 sold $5.5 million in insurance premiums among 225 employer groups and over 1,000 individual policies.

One of those companies is Citizens Memorial Hospital. Human Resources Director Jeremy MacLaughlin says the health care system has worked with Employee Benefit Design for almost 30 years, and the comprehensive benefits package designed includes medical, dental, vision and voluntary life plans.

“They continue to provide us with prompt and wonderful customer service, giving us that value-added benefit of working with (Stephens) and his team,” MacLaughlin says, adding Employee Benefit Design is constantly reviewing benefits options to make sure CMH is compliant.

Stephens says being a trusted adviser is about always working with the client to balance cost and provide the best benefit experience to the client’s employees, to help them keep and retain their people.

Stephens says the market is changing, and Employee Benefit Design works to meet the needs that arise.

“We provide daily assistance to our employer clients such as employee enrollment assistance that is not common in the marketplace any longer,” he says. “We also help them secure benefit enrollment portals, communications tools and apps for their smartphones.”

Employee Benefit Design is a partner firm in United Benefit Advisors, a national, independent firm that helps share best practices with its members to help their clients navigate insurance industry issues.

“Both health and prescription inflationary trends still outpace the overall economy inflation, so it is a yearly challenge to manage these costs to keep health coverage affordable,” he says. “Telemedicine and wellness education are keys to helping keep costs affordable.”

Additionally, Stephens is a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters and the Springfield Association of Health Underwriters.

In the community, Stephens is a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast and a past board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks. He has also helped to support Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, Care to Learn, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southwest Missouri and the Ronald McDonald House.

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