Industry Leader Les McPhearson Joins United Benefit Advisors as New Chief Executive Officer

Indianapolis, IN [July 24, 2014] United Benefit Advisors (UBA), the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organization, announces that Les McPhearson, an insurance veteran with more than 15 years of experience, will serve as CEO effective immediately and be based in the company’s Chicago office.

UBA Board Chairman Rob Calise, says, “I am delighted that Les chose to accept this important, strategic position with UBA. He is perfectly qualified to address the many challenges facing UBA and its Partners as we move forward in our mission to provide best-in-class advisory services to employers across the U.S. His leadership will assist these employers to better manage costs and, in turn, provide superior health care benefits to their employees and families.”

A former Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, Les received his undergraduate degree at Samford University and an MBA from the University of Louisville. Prior to joining UBA, Les held the position of vice president, product innovation at Trustmark Voluntary Benefit Solutions where he lead the development of VBS’ marketing strategy and was primarily responsible for ensuring a market-driven approach to new business opportunities and offerings. Les has also held leadership positions at Florida Blue (BlueCross BlueShield of Florida) where he was senior director of business innovation and Humana, where he held a variety of positions, including several as director, over a long period of time.

“I am humbled and honored to be joining UBA at a time when the role of the benefit advisor plays such an important and critical part in helping employers navigate PPACA and leveraging benefits as a strategy to success,” says Les McPhearson, CEO of UBA. “The opportunity for UBA Partners to take a leadership role by providing value to their clients through wisdom and expertise, and by enhancing the lives of their clients’ employees and their families, has never been greater.”

Below is a brief Q&A session with UBA CEO Les McPhearson regarding his perspectives on the industry and how he sees his role in guiding UBA:

“What is your vision for UBA as a trusted advisory organization?”
There has never been a more important time to be able to provide leadership, direction and value and be able to impact and influence the health & benefits industry. The industry is in the midst of dramatic, unprecedented change, change the likes of which we will likely never see again. UBA has established itself prominently as the leading trusted advisory organization and it is the opportune time to take a commanding leadership role to create additional and ongoing value for our Partners.

“How is the insurance industry changing to adapt to PPACA?”
The entire industry is dealing with unprecedented change — change among insurers, providers, the government, employers, and employees alike. We are seeing a much greater focus on value-based and bundled care arrangements, accountable care, and the “consumerization” of health insurance. I’m not sure any stakeholder fully sees how health care will be delivered and financed in the future compared to the business models of the past, so it will be increasingly important for all constituents to work together to make the system work for those we serve.

“What advantages do UBA Partners offer employers?”
As always, UBA Partners offer trust, credibility, and familiar relationships that are fundamental to providing the intimate, caring service that employers are thirsting for.

“Will advisors play a role in helping employers stay compliant with the challenging regulatory demands to minimize risk?”
They will have to. Health care reform has forced dramatic change and uncertainty on everyone, and employers — now more than ever — are feeling overwhelmed, confused, and even frightened at the burden of providing equitable benefits to attract and retain superior talent to compete in the marketplace. The role of advisors as trusted companions and strategic business partners is incredibly important to help employers navigate today’s regulatory demands.

“What are the opportunities for advisors?”
Most importantly, deliver and quantify value. People typically spend more time researching and choosing a TV or a car than they do selecting insurance. Insurance is complicated and not nearly as fun as buying a new car, so being able to clearly provide and articulate the value and benefits is at the top of the list of opportunities for advisors.

“How important will data analysis and population management play in the future?”
Very important. Critically important! Appropriately and securely leveraging data through new technologies, predictive modeling, and health analytics will be foundational to success before we know it. Our Partners are able to provide a variety of cost management tools and offer employers exclusive access to the largest and most comprehensive plan design and benchmarking survey available in the market. Helping our Partners provide solutions for employers that improve quality and outcomes, lower costs, and make for a better experience will be a key aspect of UBA’s future value proposition.

“Will thought leadership continue to set UBA apart from the competition?”
Absolutely. UBA will not only continue to provide industry-leading expertise and support to help our Partners successfully navigate today’s challenges, but through innovation and strategic thinking we will also be considering the challenges of the next 10 years and the solutions needed to solve them in three years.

“Will Exchanges change the role of the advisor?”
Exchanges are driving the consumerization of health care. Exchanges are creating a significant distribution shift in the benefits marketplace and the most successful advisors will recognize the new opportunities this creates — specifically, increased choice, changing funding mechanisms, defined benefit or defined contribution, and opportunities for new product offerings (voluntary and supplemental benefits, retirement and financial planning, etc.). UBA Partner Firms have access to three private insurance exchange options – Benefits Passport(R), benefitbay(TM), and UBA Senior Benefits Passport (AmWINS Retiree Benefit Choice) – to help their clients offer affordable health insurance options to employees.

“Has the need for a trusted advisor changed?”
The role of the trusted advisor is clearly changing and, in my opinion, the need is more important than ever. Economic pressures, the war for talent, and increased regulation continue to burden all businesses, especially small and mid-sized businesses. The latter two will continue to have a tremendous need for a trusted advisor to help them be successful.

“Will Partners serve as the eyes and the ears for their clients to guide them through the maze of health care reform?”
If they don’t, then I am afraid no one else will.

About United Benefit Advisors
United Benefit Advisors is the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organization with more than 200 offices throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. As trusted and knowledgeable advisors, UBA Partners collaborate with more than 2,200 fellow professionals to deliver expertise, thought leadership and best-in-class solutions that positively impact employers and make a real difference in the lives of their employees and families. Employers, advisors and industry-related organizations interested in obtaining powerful results from the shared wisdom of our Partners should visit UBA online at