Building a Legacy of Transparency and Trust
In 1O years, Emily Thoman expects to run Wevodau Insurance. The boutique agency’s president, Gerry Wevodau, has no problem with her plans. In fact, he’s the one who came up with the long-term succession goal. After all, who better to continue the family’s legacy of customized client care than his daughter?
Emily didn’t set out to rise through the family business, though. She originally focused on a career in physical therapy. Diligently, she learned how to navigate the complex, confusing healthcare system, all while educating patients on how to improve their outcomes.
Eventually, she realized that her experiences as a physical therapist could be invaluable on the other side of the insurance card. If she leveraged and built upon her expertise, she would be in position to help employers and human resources managers discover cost-effective, efficient, practical ways to give their workers health and wellness benefits. Thus, she gave into her father’s prodding and gave herself fully to the world of insurance and benefit strategies.
Typical of her detail-oriented nature, she jumped into her new role without hesitation, earning a standard license as well as a coveted Life Underwriting Training Course Fellowship (LUTCF) designation. Plus, she’s a prominent Board Member of the HR Professionals of Central Pennsylvania, an affiliate of SHRM, as well as the organization’s Programs Director.
“I want to understand what our HR Professional clients are dealing with,” she asserts. “It’s been quite a learning experience, especially since some of our clients incurred significant premium increases last year. Coming up with solutions involved creativity and know-how. But I’ve learned there’s always more than one alternative if you’re willing to look hard.”
Alongside Emily and Gerry, who has spent nearly 30 years in the industry, are Connie Caka, and Sara Schweitz. Each licensed and determined, the team members work diligently to complement each other’s strengths and provide individualized care for every account, as well as giving incoming calls and concerns the time and care they deserve. And when an insurer balks the first go-round? “We don’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” says Emily. “We’re persistent advocates. Yes, providers are our partners, but our relationship with clients’ needs take precedence.”
Adds Gerry, “We’re dealing with people during emotional times. The more compassionate we are, the better the outcome. That’s why I’ve hired people who are able to genuinely listen and react with empathy. Everyone here has a vested interest in our clients’ success.”
Although Emily keeps the future in her sights, she never allows her eventual transition to operations management to overshadow her current responsibilities. “I’ll have big shoes to fill,” she admits. “For now, I’m just concentrating on helping clients make the wisest decisions for their businesses. That’s my primary motivation, not the corner office.”
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