Insurance Group Launches Innovation Initiative

The National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals hopes the new department will expand membership and improve its suite of services.

The National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals (NABIP) has launched a new department focused on innovation, dedicated to leveraging member insights and AI to develop tools to better serve its audience.

According to a release, the new Strategy and Innovation Department, launched last month, will focus “on identifying rising trends in healthcare, developing new marketing opportunities and expanding NABIP’s membership.” Conversations around the new department began shortly after CEO Jessica Brooks-Woods took the reins at NABIP last year, she said. Member surveys had revealed a gap between member needs and what the association was delivering. “The comments were that we needed to be more agile in terms of how we communicate, from the local chapter up to national,” she said. “They wanted more tools available to them.”

In addition to developing new tools, the department will look at ways to draw new members to the organization. “We want to foster strategic membership growth, particularly where we don’t have it today—in the under-40 demographic, of folks who are being introduced to this profession,” Brooks-Woods said. 

We want to foster strategic membership growth, particularly where we don’t have it today.

NABIP CEO Jessica Brooks-Woods

To address those goals, NABIP has promoted one internal staffer to head the department and made one external hire, with more to come. Because the issues NABIP wants to address are so wide-reaching, Brooks-Woods said, it made more sense to stand up a dedicated department rather than establish an “innovation czar” for each part of the organization. 

“It has to be its own focused division that is incentivized to ensure we’re on top of an ever-changing landscape,” she said. “We also want it to be responsive. The KPIs are greater engagement, membership growth, adoption of new tools and resources that aid not just our members but those that they serve.”

Though the department has only existed since the beginning of the year, it’s already planning to announce some of its initial work products at its Capitol Conference later this month. “Some of it will be new tools, some of it is evolving existing tools,” Brooks-Woods said. For instance, the association is revamping an online agent finder to make it more user-friendly, and is looking at ways to leverage AI to make other improvements. 

“Every department right now is engaged in leveraging a variety of different tools, inclusive of AI but not exclusive of other other tools, to help them be more agile and connect more quickly with our members, elevate the member voice and marketplace voice,” she said. “That’s happening already.”

But the new tools are just a means toward NABIP’s specific goals, which Brooks-Woods said are “membership growth, revenue growth, and impact.” Membership and revenue can be measured straightforwardly, but to get a sense of impact, the department will be standing up regular focus groups to assess progress and needs. “Are our members’ businesses growing? Do they recognize the role we play in helping people have affordable, high-quality healthcare? Is NABIP becoming a household name—are we being seen as essential? We’re positioning ourselves as thought leaders in the marketplace and creating change in the marketplace, not just being a part of change.”

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