Providing Critical Illness Insurance Doesn’t Have to Cost You Anything

Offer voluntary critical illness insurance to help your employees cover financial protection gaps.

by Brian Benedict

Protectors Life is now part of the top producing Colonial Life employee benefits agency in Indiana, Rogle & Associates Inc, as well as one of the top in the country.

Colonial Voluntary benefits for 3+ employees ( PDF Brochure )

You’d like to offer your employees a rich benefits plan like in the “good old days,” but rising costs and health care reform complexity may be making that a challenge. If you’re like most employers, you’ve had to reduce your health insurance coverage and offer higher deductibles and co-pays. These changes may have helped keep your costs down, but they’ve probably made it more difficult to attract and keep the best employees. What’s more, these changes could have created coverage gaps for your employees. This means they’re now more vulnerable to financial stresses if a family member is struck by a critical illness. That’s why many savvy employers are offering voluntary critical illness insurance.


How critical illness insurance is different

Understanding critical illness insurance requires a change in thinking. Most of us expect traditional health insurance to cover a portion of the cost of medical tests, procedures, medications and other disease-related medical expenses. For routine medical care, many families may be able to afford their portion of the bill.

With a critical illness such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or cancer, the picture changes. There can be gaps between actual medical costs to treat a critical illness and what’s paid for by traditional health insurance. High deductibles and co-pays can really add up when medical care is intensive and ongoing. Health insurance may not pay for alternative and experimental treatments or treatments at out-of-network providers, such as those at some of the nation’s leading clinics and specialists. Health insurance may also not cover reconstructive medical costs and prosthetics.

In addition, many indirect costs aren’t covered: lost wages or salary, assistance at home, transportation to and from a treatment center, lodging and meals and child care. If the insured is disabled, the family may have to make its home wheelchair accessible or purchase a new handicapped-accessible vehicle. A critical illness can affect a family on many levels.

How critical illness insurance can protect a family’s financial future

It may surprise you to learn that out-of-pocket costs associated with an unexpected health issue can be as high $14,444 for a critical illness.1

This is where critical illness insurance can help protect your employees’ financial assets and may help them avoid financial problems. Benefits from a critical illness insurance policy are paid in a lump-sum directly to insureds upon diagnosis. This way, insureds can use the benefits in any way they need.

Voluntary critical illness insurance is affordable for most employers

You can add voluntary critical illness insurance to your benefits line-up in a way that works best for you and your company. You can choose from individual or group voluntary critical illness products. Plus, you have the option of paying the premium, paying a part of it or offering it as a voluntary product your employees can pay for through payroll deductions.

No matter what the size of your workforce, you’ll find that critical illness insurance can be less expensive than you expect. For example, a 35-year-old employee can buy $25,000 worth of individual coverage for under $15 each month. If this same person is married, he or she can expect to pay under $25 each month for two-parent coverage.2

Critical illness insurance can be a real help to your employees – and to your company’s benefits program.

1 MetLife Accident and Critical Illness Impact Study, October 2013

2 Rates vary by state.

About the author

Brian Benedict is a Benefits Counsellor for Colonial Life. A veteran of more than 13 years in the insurance and benefits industry, Brian is responsible for marketing Colonial Life’s products and services in Indiana & Ohio

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, dental, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement indemnity insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support more than 80,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3 million of America’s workers and their families. For more information call Brian Benedict at 765-277-2770, visit or connect with the company at, and  

Protecting Hometown Heroes

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Protectors Life is now part of the top producing Colonial Life employee benefits agency in Indiana, Rogle & Associates Inc, as well as one of the top in the country.


Interpersonal Skills More Important than Intelligence |

Salesforce blog. Read more

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) projects that over 1.8 million students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2015. Despite this, and despite the fact that youth unemployment rates were at 11.9% as of February 2015 (more than twice the average national unemployment rate), businesses are still having trouble filling positions. Why is this? With so many potential candidates and available job openings, why are we still seeing such a discrepancy? The answer may be that many of today’s graduates are lacking interpersonal communication skills.

In a survey conducted by Workforce Solutions Group, it was revealed that more than 60% of employers say that applicants are not demonstrating sufficient communication and interpersonal skills to be considered for jobs. Apparently, while universities are able to nurture the necessary critical thinking and problem solving skills of the next generation of employees, they neglect teaching soft skills that employees use to interact with bosses, clients, and each other.

But just how important are soft skills? That’s a difficult question to answer, mostly because it’s next to impossible to find an aspect of business that does not depend upon interpersonal communication in some way. Even a solitary app designer who works from home and never sees another human face will still have to reach out to others in some way for his or her product to be made available to the public. Every interaction, business or otherwise, depends on a person’s ability to communicate ideas and concepts to another person. Employers recognize this fact, with 77% of employers saying that soft skills are just as important as hard skills. However, it actually goes even further than that. Interpersonal communication skills aren’t just as important as other skills, they’re actually the most important skills prospective employees can learn. They stand to become even more vital in the years and decades to come: A study performed by Pew Research Center asked a national sample of adults to select from among ten options the single skill which is most important for children to learn in order to succeed in the world, and 90% of respondents selected ‘communication’ as their answer.

To put it simply, interpersonal communication skills are more important than intelligence in the business world. Here’s why:

1. Customer service is more important than ever

Customer service has always played a part in business, but now more than ever before, organizations are realizing that the satisfaction of their customersis tied directly to the success or failure of the company. Where once customers’ purchase choices were limited to what businesses were located within easy travel distance of their homes, the modern market provides nearly limitless potential choices from around the world—all connected and accessible at any time. For businesses to really stand out from competition, they need to offer more than just convenience and low prices. Employees with the necessary communication skills to easily interact with customers in a friendly and non-threatening way provide potential clients with something they may not be able to get elsewhere, increasing loyalty and customer retention. Given that, on average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times the cost of their first purchase, this results in significant increases in revenue for an organization. Customer experience today isn’t limited only to the individual, but a shared experience via various social media channels (positive or negative). 67% of customers have used a company’s social media site for servicing, which means a significant amount of customers are turning to social media to address service-related issues. Those with the interpersonal skills to help these customers are actually helping to create brand ambassadors, because customers who feel engaged by businesses through social media spend on average 20–40% more with that business, and are three times more likely to recommend that business to others.

In theory, the organization with the best products or the lowest prices should always be the one to succeed. In practice, however, this just isn’t always the case. When faced with decisions, most people will unconsciously lean in the direction of the choice that they feel better about, regardless of what facts and logic may dictate. This is especially true in today’s market, where many options offer similar solutions, making a number-driven decision especially difficult. While most businesses recognize that emotion and feeling play a part in the decision-making process, few realize just how large of a part that is; 98% of top salespeople identify relationships as the most important factor in generating new business. The ability to effectively understand, communicate and influence are underrated skills in the workplace. Even for those who do not work directly with clients, interpersonal communication skills are still vitally important. These skills help facilitate productive co-worker relationships, and can have a large impact on the overall success or failure of a business. For example, the stress caused by having to work underneath a manager who lacks interpersonal skills is believed to cost American companies an estimated $360 billion every year.

3. Hard skills are increasingly being performed by machines

There is little doubt as to the value of soft skills in business, but it may still seem like a stretch to say that interpersonal communications skills are more important than intelligence. Consider automation, however: As technology continues to progress, it’s becoming painfully obvious that more jobs than just those centered around production lines are in jeopardy of being made obsolete. When at one time automated systems could only perform simple tasks, now they’re able to handle a magnitude of responsibilities, including accounting, marketing, sales, and more. But one area where automation is unlikely to overtake humanity is in being personable. Those who’ve mastered people skills will always have an edge over automation. In fact, certain forecasters predict that the job market of the near future will consist of only two types of people: those who know how to design and operate automated systems, and those with creative and social skills whose job it will be to deal directly with customers. In essence, soft skills may soon be some of the only marketable skills that new hires can bring to the table.

As the costs associated with college tuition continue to climb, many students are graduating in their chosen field, only to find that the hard skills they’ve spent years studying don’t allow them the standard of living they’ve been anticipating. Instead, those who are attempting to enter the workforce should focus on developing their communications skills, and should be looking for ways to demonstrate those skills to potential employers. After all, most employers recognize a certain amount of on-the-job training is necessary when bringing a new hire into the company. What cannot be so easily taught are things such as etiquette, adaptability, teamwork, internal communication, and conflict resolution. And, when it comes to business, these are often the most important skills of all.

As you hire the employees who will potentially become the backbone of your business in the years and decades to come, ask yourself where your focus lies. Are you considering candidates based solely upon the hard skills they include in their résumés, or are you looking for something more? If soft skills are not a prerequisite for your new hires, you may find yourself operating a business filled with an exceptionally skilled—yet completely ineffective—workforce.

via Why Interpersonal Communication Skills Matter More in Business than Intelligence – Salesforce Blog

What are U really afraid of?


Ask yourself “What am I really afraid of?”

Are you afraid of getting in trouble?

Are you afraid of being embarrassed?

Are you afraid of making a mistake?

If you allow yourself to be afraid of just one of these things aren’t you preventing yourself from growing?

Experts throughout history have told us that you must make mistakes in order to learn. If you never make a mistake you’re not challenging yourself.

So what are you afraid of? Maybe you should be afraid of the status quo because the only thing in life that is certain is “change”.

5 Tips to Multi-Tasking? | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

Is the next generation able to multitask?

Pictured above:

Dylan Benedict, 16.

5 Minutes before leaving for summer football practice.

That answer would be a resounding YES!   Anything is impossible.  Juggling to do lists everyday in our work and home life is ever evolving.  Because of this we need some type of system.  An order or priority list so we can move our attention at a moments notice to the most efficient and way to accomplish our daily goals.

Here are 5 tips that may help you “multitask” more efficiently.

1. The morning to-do list

I’ve found my first 15 minutes to each day is making coffee, sitting at the table and writing a list of things I’ve been thinking about all night while they’re fresh in my mind.  I’ve also found that if something is keeping me awake at night that it helps to write it down and amazingly it leaves my brain long enough to sleep for a while.  Then I prioritize the list depending on whether they’re phone calls, texts, physical stops or computer entries.  I rarely have to travel back and forth from destinations because I’ve became fairly efficient with managing my drive depending on my tasks.  Doing This helps you prioritize and visualize your day more clearly.

2. Prioritizing the list

Which task is more important?

Prioritize the list to make sure the items with top-priority are handled one at a time.  Focusing on that tasks and not being diverted is more difficult than you might think.

At the end of the day review your list and see how you did.  The next morning you’ll need to take the remaining tasks and put them on the new list.

3. Group Certain Tasks

Do your best to try to group similar tasks which can be completed together.  If it’s a group of emails you can log on and focus on just emails.  If you’re tasks include social media.  Schedule a time to scan your social media pages, read post and share.

4. Are “U” easily distracted

Simple Solutions.  Turn off your phone.  Notification emails and other computer-generated distractions can prevent you from checking off many tasks because they grab your attention and soon you’ll find yourself way off the map.  Allow yourself time to concentration and focus.

5. Getting things done by delegating

Which tasks can you delegate.  Which must you do.  Could you delegate simple tasks like answering phone calls, replying to emails, writing social media postings.  Could easier tasks be simple enough to pass on to someone else?  In a world of virtual assistants and automation, the ability to upload, post, share and organize can be made a little easier.


A great site that can be used to help delegate and manage time better is  It’s simple and you can try it free.


Brian JMT B&W 150

Brian | Build the Business of “U”

5 “Connecting” Tips

by Brian Benedict

Build the Business of “U” by Connecting

Most firefighters dread walking into a room and attempting to break the ice with a bunch of strangers.  Especially those leaders within the community or city.  The truth is it’s an important part of building you and the departments value and influence.

I visit fire departments across the country and they all have one thing in common.  The lack of city influence.  This not only makes contract and wage negotiations tougher each year but grievances, fundraisers and budgets more difficult.

How can we correct this?  We need to utilize the individual strengths of our firefighters.  Young and old.   Erase the seniority and “get some time” phrase when it comes to community influence.  Your careers are dependent upon your community value.  As firefighters, we know we add value but it’s tested several times a year by the decision makers upstairs or across the street.

So how do we ease the pain of connecting with others and begin to build a network of trust?   Here are a few steps when visiting a community event, chamber of commerce or young professionals meeting.  Remember the younger members of these organizations are made up of future city and county leaders that will dictate your raises and working conditions.

Here are five ways to begin Building the Business of “U”

  • Say “Cheese”. Walk in the room and smile. It’s that simple.   Just smiling will make you and them feel better about the situation.  As a bonus it will make others relax while around you.  I think its a good idea to smile in the car prior to entering the event.  Why?  So you can see yourself calm and confident.  The other is to check and pick food particles from in between your teeth if visible.


  • The crucial “First Impression”.  Share positive enthusiasm. Win people over with your a healthy attitude.  Be the sunshine of their day.  Make every person feel as though they’re the most important person to you right now.  Be enthusiastic and  excited about the future.


  • Ask a question, listen, then ask another.  The quickest way to get the conversation started with a stranger is to ask them a question.  What would you want someone to ask you?   Remember listening to others feels odd when you’ve never focused on it.  Many of us tend to want to win one up during conversations with others. Warning to all extroverts…  It’s not about you!  It’s about them, so listen.


  • Sell “U” First.  Be yourself and keep the salesperson at home. Connecting is all about relationships.  Building long term relationships begin with a question and then listening.  Keep it fun and light hearted.  Don’t use offensive humor or remarks.  Selling “U” first is the key.


  • Be friendly and interested.  A pleasant personality is hard to find.  If you’re attending a networking event after a long work day you’ll be tired, hungry and grumpy.  If you can’t change into a friendly and likable person don’t go.  Splash water on your face.  Do a few jumping jacks.  Get the energy and enthusiasm back so you can turn on your interest and bring your awesome personality out for display. is a site for firefighters who would like to know more about becoming a person of influence within their communities and departments.


The Hidden Power of Networking |

by Brian Benedict
We all make use of traditional forms of getting new business in advertising, direct mail, brochures etc but networking is one form of marketing which, has been under-utilized. Until now that is.  Professionals are finally beginning to under stand the power of networking.

But what is networking?

In its most basic form, it’s word-of-mouth advertising but originated by you, not your customers. It involves taking every opportunity to raise awareness of your product or service amongst the people you meet. At a more sophisticated level, networking can be achieved by taking advantage of the formal networking groups or events that have been arranged purely with the idea of putting potential partners together.

But how can you, as a professional, become a more effective networker and take full advantage of the opportunities presented?  We are going to give you some key tips and ideas on how to be a better networker.

What are the key advantages of networking?

Networking has some very good advantages over the traditional type of marketing:

  • It’s free! Talking to someone costs nothing except your time
  • It’s targeted marketing in that it’s likely the person you are talking to has a direct interest in your product or service. Consider newspaper advertising, which will mostly be read by people who have no interest in what you have to offer
  • It’s face-to-face marketing unlike direct mail, adverts and telephone calls. You have the immediate opportunity to establish rapport.
  • You have the chance to mix with other professionals in other industries, which may open the door to new opportunities you had not previously considered
  • It’s not only a way of creating business but also a great way to solve problems and seek advice. Why sweat over a solution when someone has probably already experienced and solved the same problem? Ask and find out who can help you

Where to find a network

Finding a place to network, where like minded professionals are present, is not that difficult. While you should be networking all the time and taking the opportunity to promote yourself where ever you can it’s more effective if you can meet people who are there to do the same thing; you can get onto the same wavelength that much quicker.

Here are some possible networking opportunities to think about:

  • Your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI group or business club – as well as hosting their normal meetings (which are great networking opportunities anyway) they may hold regular networking sessions which are dedicated to putting business people together
  • Trade Associations in your industry may have an association which holds regular meetings. Although you are interacting with businesses in the same line you will still be able to find solutions to problems and pick up new ideas. Who knows, if you establish good rapport with another business, they may be happy to refer surplus work to you or tap into a unique specialization you may have?
  • Keep a look out for seminars being run for small business owners. As well as being informative, they are a great networking opportunity, especially over coffee and lunch when you have the chance to start a conversation going along the lines of, How do you think you’re going to apply that point we learnt this morning in your line of business?
  • In just this one question you will have found out what business they are in and one of the problems they are currently facing. If you’re lucky, you may be able to offer help as well ñ one extra sale!
  • Anywhere and everywhere remember to network all the time! Never miss an opportunity to tell people what you do. You may only get a successful hit in one out of a hundred contacts, but one sale may be enough to make it all worthwhile!Where and when are meetings likely to be held?

Formal networking events can be held over breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast sessions are popular because it allows professionals to start the day on a positive note, leaving the remainder of the day free for business as usual. But how good are you at holding a sensible conversation at 7 o’clock in the morning? If you don’t look or sound your best in the early morning, then you had better find an alternative!

The best networking events are where you are free to work the room and not be tied to a table with food being served.

What to prepare

As with any marketing promotion, networking should be thoroughly prepared for. Badly presented introduction pitches lead to networking distrust. So what should you do before attending a networking session?

Step 1: Know your products and services inside out. If you are only just starting out, make sure you are fully briefed on all the inn’s and out’s of your product.

Step 2: Write and rehearse an opening statement to the question “What do you do?” This may sound an easy question but try thinking an answer on the spot and at the same time making it some good!  Not so easy. Write a clear and concise statement, which encapsulates everything about your business. Remember, this is your chance to impress! Having decided on your opening line, rehearse, rehearse and rehearse. It has to be word perfect and confident sounding.

Step 3: Make sure you have enough business cards. You don’t want to scribble your number on the back of a napkin! Not very professional.

Step 4: Double check the venue and time. You don’t want to turn up late and miss any opportunities or appear to be lacking in time management skills.

Step 5: Dress to impress. Make sure you are neat and tidy. Be everything a successful professional should be.

Step 6: Leave your house/office in plenty of time to make sure you don’t arrive totally stressed out

You’re off!

You have arrived at the venue and if this is your first time, what are you likely to do? Find the nearest corner and pray that someone doesn’t approach you! Networking, especially the first time, can be nerve-wracking. It does take a degree of confidence but over time this gets better.

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