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Borislow Insurance & Captivated Health gives back and touches the lives of those in their community

Borislow Insurance & Captivated Health gives back and touches the lives of those in their community

Founded in 1982, Borislow Insurance is a strategic partner that serves more than 300 businesses throughout New England and the country with an expertise in transforming workplace culture by creating a community of consumerism and empowering employees to make informed health care choices.

The firm also runs another line of business known as Captivated Health. Borislow Insurance partners with organizations that purchase employee benefits on their own, while Captivated Health partners with organizations that purchase in a consortium.

Captivated Health is a leader in helping its members gain access to progressive, high quality patient care with significant investments in connecting members to leading physicians, nurses, and staff, as well as advanced technology.

We interviewed the two owners and Co-CEOs of the firm, Jennifer Borislow and Mark Gaunya. Here are a few excerpts of the interview:

Q. How do you remain consistent despite the culture of constant innovation?

The bedrock of our firm is the clients we serve and our passionate commitment to providing an outstanding experience for those clients and their employees and families. With that as our keystone, constant innovation doesn’t change our mission. It informs the future and allows us to bring ever better solutions to our clients. It also reinforces our commitment to thought leadership in our profession.

Q. What are your core beliefs? How have you been successful by inculcating it in your growth process?

While we understand that each client’s needs are unique, our north star is to provide service that is above and beyond expectations. Our firm is highly relationship-based, and those relationships create a unique bond that goes far beyond the solutions we provide – it’s why our average client tenure is 15+ years. We haven’t just inculcated it in our growth process. It is that intential design that fuels our growth.

Q. How do you help your customers create strategies that are unique and perfect for them?

In short, we ask a lot of questions, and we listen. The client’s goals become our target destination. Our role is to serve as their guide. Once we understand why the client offers benefits and how their current plans are/aren’t meeting those goals, we craft a custom-tailored unique solution with our Centers of Excellence service model to fill those gaps.

We want to understand their desired future, dangers they want to be eliminated, opportunities they want to seize, and strengths they want to maximize. The answers to those questions allow us to think about their thinking in a context that matters to them.

Q. How often does your organization assess its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to understand its current business climate?

Constantly and consistently. Our senior management meets regularly to assess the marketplace. We encourage our leaders to give back to our profession by volunteering our time, we hold positions on the national board of trustees of the National Association of Health Underwriters and The Commonwealth Health Connector as well as other state board/committee appointments, which inform us to help make those critical assessments. Additionally, our middle management team meets monthly and provides direct input from the field that helps us understand the business climate. Finally, both Jennifer and Mark stay active in the business as they are committed to knowing what is going on at the ground level and staying connected to the firm’s clients.

Q. How often does your organization form and make profitable use of partnerships?

Our commitment to innovation has enabled us to create a set of best-in-class strategic partnerships with solution providers. As a premier employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm, we are constantly approached by solution providers, and we invite them to participate in a rigorous vetting process, always asking, “If I were a member of one of our groups, would I want this solution?” Our role is to bring our clients the best of the best, and once that process is completed, we partner for everyone’s benefit.

Q. When developing and implementing strategy, does your organization effectively balance short and long-term priorities?

After nearly 40 years, we are clear-eyed about working in today’s climate while helping to create tomorrow’s future. We believe that our flat organizational structure provides an equal voice to those working with clients today and those planning for the future.

For example, Mark and Jennifer have authored five books, and one of those books is “Bend the Healthcare Trend” (BTHT). BTHT was written for employers as a practical guide to help them demystify and understand how to create a culture of consumerism, health, and well-being by offering a Consumer-Driven Health Plan years before becoming a common practice. We are always future-focused while providing exemplary execution today. 

Educate us on your corporate social responsibilities.

One of our founding principles is to give back and touch the lives of those in our community. Employees take advantage of a matching donation program and are provided with paid time during which they can work with the organization of their choice. Efforts are funded with a voluntary payroll deduction “sunshine fund” and other fundraisers that the Charitable Giving Committee manages throughout the year.

A sample of our recent efforts is varied, fun, and – most of all – meaningful. They include: Wear Red For Heart Health; Spring flowers with a donation made to the American Cancer Society; Salad In A Jar, sold to employees for $10 each, which raised $4400 and benefited four charities; providing turkey dinners for Thanksgiving; various food collection drives; a day all employees donated to pre-season camp cleanup for the YMCA; book collection and donation; creating fully-stocked back-to-school backpacks for the YWCA; providing 30 Thanksgiving dinners, and “adopting” foster kids for Christmas.

Q. How did you deal with the loss caused by the pandemic? What strategies did you implement in order to stay consistent and satisfy your customers?

We are committed to harnessing the power of technology to minimize any disruption in the service of our clients. We moved most of our functionality to the cloud and equipped everyone in the firm with the technology tools they needed to serve our clients and perform their jobs.

Pre-pandemic, we allowed almost every position in the firm to work at home at least one day per week, and even those we didn’t have proven they can effectively work remotely as well. As a result, we can honestly say that there was no “loss” other than enjoying each other’s company in person.

Our team members are empowered to work from wherever needed, whenever needed, and through using new tools such as Zoom, Teams, etc. Our client’s feedback is that we didn’t miss a beat providing the service they are used to.

Meet the legend

Jennifer A. Borislow is the Founding Principal of Borislow Insurance, a leading provider of innovative health and well-being benefits solutions. Jennifer is an industry leader and an active participant on several insurance company advisory boards. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Northern Essex Community College as Chairwoman, Merrimack Valley YMCA, and Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, NH. Jennifer is a frequent keynote speaker at many national and international events. Her commitment to community involvement is highlighted by her passion for making a difference in the lives of others.

Greet the luminary

Mark S. Gaunya is a principal at Borislow Insurance and the Founder of Captivated Health. Mark is an employee benefits advisor with over three decades of experience and a tireless, passionate advocate for transparency, consumerism, health, and well-being. Mark is the National Legislative Chair for the National Association of Health Underwriters and appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts to the Board of the Commonwealth Health Connector. He is passionate about making healthcare easier and more affordable for people.

“Since our founding in 1982, we have been privileged to work with many of the finest employers, municipalities, and charitable organizations to help craft unique benefit solutions for each client’s unique needs.”

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