2024 Looking Back and Going Forward
We started Industry Perspectives 3 ½ years ago with the goal of providing relevant insights from our team of experts, with a ClaimDOC spin. Consistent with how we approach everything at ClaimDOC, we weren’t going to try a splashy marketing trick without commitment. We’ve since released 36 editions of Industry Perspectives and this is my 4th annual edition of Looking Back and Going Forward. The great thing about our consistency is just that, a steady effort focused on results. The downside to that pragmatic approach to delivering results is that I don’t get to share a bunch of sexy ideas that sound great in an article (but don’t really drive better results).
We prepare a game plan, we practice hard, we play the game hard, we learn from our mistakes, and we show up the next day at practice ready to do it all over again. We don’t announce every time we put in a new play. We don’t announce every time we get stronger. Our clients and brokers expect those things from us. They don’t hire us to try, they hire us to succeed. We have built this business by being focused on client success and building tools that improve the odds of client success instead of chasing how to win the next piece of business. My primary themes are the exact same as they have always been:
- Pride in our people
- Pride in our model
- Refine and improve
- Stay focused on the fundamental mission of providing an affordable medical plan alternative
- Build relationships with those who understand and appreciate why we are different
2023 provided another year of comfortable growth for our organization. I push Omar Arif and our Sales Team for exceptional growth because I want them all to be wildly successful. As the CEO, I understand a steady growth trajectory supports better overall organizational health. The average client size was about 714 as we added 25,705 new member lives through 36 new clients. Sales numbers were slightly down compared to the previous two years, however, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Our sales team has improved their discernment in identifying good buyers. We’ve seen challenges with getting looped in with programs and volume business where poor performance from other vendors in the stack causes client turnover. In fact, we saw our retention rate dip down to 88%. Given the upfront investment in clients we make by operating our Pave the Way® program, I’ll always prefer sticky business over padding sales numbers.
Our sales team continues to work hard to educate the market on our brand and differentiators. We wrote new business with 27 different firms in 2023. Thirteen of those already had clients on the books and 14 are getting their first experience with ClaimDOC. We are seeing across the entire industry that moving toward non-traditional solutions is becoming more and more mainstream. Firms like Gallagher, Brown & Brown, HUB, Lockton, McGriff, Sterling Seacrest, and USI all wrote new business with us in 2023. I love it because that will mean more affordable healthcare opportunities for the working class in America.
The independent shops still provide a backbone for boldly exploring alternatives for clients. We have great relationships with many of these firms nationwide and admire the passion and drive they operate with. With the increased popularity of non-traditional solutions, we see an abundance of groupthink happening within this population. While this is natural to a degree, it also sometimes pushes the outspoken to the top instead of the cream rising to the top in terms of vendor selection. Our organization has benefited from word of mouth in these circles, so I’m not complaining, however we are seeing an increased amount of curious vendor selections based more on networking efforts than merit. We’ve all been there working on the frontier, and my advice is to be bold, but be diligent. For example, there are exceptional independent TPAs not working the conference scene, so don’t discount a vendor based on their lack of visibility and popularity.
Nothing makes me feel better than the environment we have created to allow amazing people to do amazing work. From sales, marketing, member services, client services, provider relations, legal, audit, claims processing, to IT; we continue to attract people who want to make a difference. Instead of just doing their jobs, they are creating change. We operate with a lot of trust and very little middle management. Ideas on how to provide a better member and client experience are elevated quickly and put into action. What exists under this roof is what is written about in textbooks and pontificated about on LinkedIn. I wish I could take credit for what exists, but fortunately it happened here organically where leadership provides a canvas and the team determines what the painting looks like.
That canvas continues to grow and we will soon be kicking off a $1.8 million renovation of shell space we set aside when our headquarters was built in 2021. The space we work in today was designed to accommodate growth of around 85 employees over five years before the additional buildout was necessary. Exceptional performance in all areas of the company allowed us to hit that growth target in three years. This reminds me of the occasional message I get from a broker letting me know they just spoke to one of our competitors and were told ClaimDOC is struggling. Mark Twain said something about rumors of his death being greatly exaggerated, however I think the more appropriate Twain quote would be “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”
Innovation isn’t an initiative here, it’s our existence. We might be most widely admired for the uniqueness of Pave the Way®. The more people know, the more they appreciate the enormous challenge it presents and the value it provides when done successfully. Every competitor has tried, and everyone has failed. Along with having exceptional Member Advocates dedicated to winning every day, we have a proprietary system we call Compass designed entirely around executing Pave the Way®. We sync up all relevant information to organize and facilitate the provider outreach effort accurately and efficiently. Pave the Way® was a great idea, however the continued refinement and evolution of Compass is the engine powering the success. We have processed 49,902 nominations over the last five years. Every one of those nominations has been an opportunity to learn. The historical participation rate runs at 90.5%. In 2023, we completed 14,915 nominations, and the success rate skyrocketed, with 94% of providers participating.
This type of success happens because of the willingness to learn, the willingness to care enough to share ideas, and the willingness to listen to the people doing the work every day. Through the work of calling out on nearly 50,000 nominations over the last five years we continuously improve upon how to effectively communicate with providers. Through the work of managing nearly 50,000 nominations over the last five years, we continuously improve Compass to make our team more efficient. Nothing demonstrates this more than the fact our developers made over 850 unique enhancements to Compass in 2023. Striving every day to make the experience better for members is who we are, and that is who you can count on us to be tomorrow.
We won’t always be first to market with fancy gizmos, but we will always evaluate what makes the experience better and commit to investing in those initiatives. Areas like refining the data we provide to brokers, refining the member portal, and providing effective cash pay tools are on the docket for 2024; but don’t hold your breath if you are wanting the Hollywood ending where people find out the dorky teenager was attractive. Us dorks here in Iowa don’t need you to see us in a tux or with our glasses off. We aren’t right for everyone, but we are right for those who want things done right.