Ignite Success with Larry Adkins of ACBS Insurance Services

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On Ignite Success, Suzie Becker welcomes outstanding leaders to this uplifting and interesting show, filled with practical advice and tips for business professionals. This week, Suzie sits down with Larry Adkins of ACBS Insurance Services.

SUZIE BECKER: Welcome to Ignite Success, where we talk about people, places and projects that fire us up. I’m your host, Suzie Becker, and I’m here with Larry Adkins of ACBS insurance. Hi, Larry.

LARRY ADKINS: Hi, Suzie. And thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

SUZIE BECKER: Thanks for being on. You talk work and help. Some of my most favorite customers, the over 65 clientele or what we call active adults.


SUZIE BECKER: So there’s two ways that you help. The first way is with the insurance needs. Your company provides health insurance in the Medicare space. Can you talk to me a little bit about enrollment in Medicare?

LARRY ADKINS: Yeah, there’s a few different times that enrollment comes into play. the first time is your initial period. And, what that means is three months before you turn 65 and three months after you have to enroll in Medicare Part A and part B, failure to do so can be, penalized for you monetarily. so that’s the first enrollment period that most people think about as the initial enrollment.

Then throughout the year, there are a couple of other enrollments. The first enrollment is called the annual enrollment period. It starts October 1st and goes through December 7th. That’s, one time a year annual enrollment that if you had a change in your health condition or if your doctor is leaving or left the network, or if the hospital that you’re currently going to, isn’t covered in your plan, that’s the one time of year that you can make a change.

Then once you’ve made that change, if you get to the new plan starting January 1st of the next year till March 15th, if you got to the new plan and unfortunately the coverage had a gap somewhere, like a doctor went out of network or a hospital is no longer covered or medicine went from tier one to tier three.


LARRY ADKINS: That’s your one chance to change that. After that, you’re kind of locked in. Unless you have, a special needs that happened, throughout the year. Like, maybe you moved to a new state or whatever. There’s also different enrollment periods there as well. I hear you.

SUZIE BECKER: So I want to talk about the first thing you said, the time frame that you have to enroll. So I will say from personal experience that I’m getting the stuff from AARP in the mail now, and I’m throwing it in the garbage because it’s scaring me. What you’re saying is that when you start to get the Medicare things, don’t throw it away. That’s your notification that your enrollment period is about to start. The government sent you this or do you have to proactively go looking for it?

LARRY ADKINS: Yeah. The government doesn’t send you a lot. the individual carriers are out there or the people that the plans that, represent carriers. They’re actually the ones that are out advertising. And you’ll start to see a lot of ads on television. you know, with famous athletes, famous actors. And just know that that’s not your agent. that’s the biggest key.

You’re actually calling a call center somewhere. It could be in the United States. Could be out of the United States. but once you start seeing those ads, you’ll know. Hey, we’re coming up on the, annual enrollment period, because that’s the time that everybody can change.

SUZIE BECKER: I hear you. So those six months, if you missed them, can cost you money in the future. But let’s talk about the second way that you help people who are approaching the retirement age. A lot of what you do is acquire companies, insurance agencies that are family businesses. These are usually outfits who are providing insurance for their friends, their families, their neighbors, their religious affiliations. They care about their customers, their clients, and the idea of leaving their office to pass them along to an 800 number call center doesn’t feel confident. So how do you help those kinds of businesses?

LARRY ADKINS: Yeah. just like every other part of our population, we’re increasing in age and especially in the insurance, phase, because it’s not one of the sexy industries, that people go into, like technology or whatever. there’s a big gap between the number of agents that are out there and the number of agents retiring.

And so what we’ve been able to do is provide an economic solution for agencies in small communities or large communities throughout the United States that say, hey, you know, I’m 65, I’m 75, I’m 80. I don’t want to, abandon my customers, but I need to retire myself and go enjoy, life as I know it. And so we provide a solution for them whereby we we allow them to continue their legacy in their community. We provide all the customer service so that they’re not abandoning their friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, you know, people, they go to a religious.

SUZIE BECKER: You have to face these people afterwards. And once you’ve built this trust, this connection, this transparency.

Now, I will remind you, we spoke a little bit earlier about how my dad would once a year welcome his insurance agent into our home, and it was like a family member. We share stories. He attended our weddings as we grew up and he himself retired. That has sort of transitioned over time. And now we see caricatures or characters, a duck that quacks or an apron, whereas the agent, the person, the connection, the contact with someone who’s listening to me has sort of fallen to the wayside at CBS. What is your motto and how do you stand behind that?

LARRY ADKINS: Yeah, so we try to meet the customer wherever they are. We have some customers that are very technology savvy and they say, you know what, I really don’t want anybody to come visit my home. Let’s do it. via zoom or a webinar of some, some variety. I love that, but we also have individual agents that will come out that are all licensed, that will come out and meet with you in your home if that’s where you choose.

So you have the ability to do everything electronically, however, guided with advice, either online or face to face, whichever you prefer, as the customer, which is most important to us.

SUZIE BECKER: That is such a privilege. I think a lot of what reassures a customer in a client is knowing that their questions can be answered anytime that they have them, and so once you build that connection with ACBS is that what that means? You’re not calling a center. You’re talking to your agent in your community who’s familiar with the changing trends, laws and guidelines where you live in real time.

LARRY ADKINS: That’s exactly right. And in addition to the license agent that comes out and helps you, on an annual basis or over the phone that helps you enroll, you also are assigned a dedicated customer service representative. So when you have a question about a claim or a physician or you have, a problem when dealing with your insurance carrier, you can call and say, hey, would you mind intervening on my behalf? And because of our relationships with over 50 different companies nationally. we we have very strong relationships where we’ve got, ways to get in contact that, that maybe you don’t have to sit on the phone for three hours waiting for an answer. We can get that information for you fairly quickly.

SUZIE BECKER: That is exceptional. I think what you just said about having a relationship with 50 national brands highlights the experience that you’ve invested in to ensuring that you can pull your customer’s needs to get the best prices and the best services that they might require. Does that sound right?

LARRY ADKINS: That’s exactly right.

SUZIE BECKER: So let me ask you, where would we find you? Are you located nationally?

LARRY ADKINS: We’ve got offices all over the United States. so depending on where you’re located, chances are where you’re going to have an office there or an affiliation. so we’re able to, to meet customers needs wherever they are.

SUZIE BECKER: I have to thank you, Larry, for reassuring me that the future plans of so many people in this scary space and transition is going to be helped along by your research and your wealth of knowledge. Thanks for coming and sharing your time with us.

LARRY ADKINS: Well, thanks for having me, I appreciate it, and, look forward to seeing you again soon.

SUZIE BECKER: It is such a privilege to find out more about Larry Adkins ACBS insurance. You can find us on Daily News Network.com. I’m your host, Suzie Becker. Stay inspired and inspiring.