Living The Dream series – William Cason – S1 E9

The Living the Dream series is about giving you inspiration and William Cason, President of The Cason Group, is a very inspiring guy. Our topic today is doing business with an abundant mindset and especially having the courage to engage in partnerships. We discuss our friendship and William's journey at The Cason Group which saw him becoming President at 30 years of age. Then we get into our specific partnership and how we overcame the fear, doubt and worry to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. Finally, Wlliam discusses what fuels him and his work which is his Christian faith. It is so engrained in him and in The Cason Group culture and it really has been the bedrock for them to build such an impressive operation. So there's a little bit for everyone in this podcast and we really think you'll come away inspired.

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This transcript has been auto-generated and has not been checked, proofread, or corrected.

  Hey everybody, Dominic Siciliano here. Season one, episode nine of What’s the Benefit podcast. But,  this is the second in our installment of the Living the Dream,  uh, series. And, um, I’m excited as heck to be joined by William Cason, who’s the president of The Cason Group. Many of you who listen to our podcast, follow us and do business with us, know that we’re, we have an affiliate agreement with The Cason Group.

They’re an important partner of us. Many people would wonder why a general agent in Michigan would partner with another general agency from the Southeast United States, especially one who does some of the same work we do. Why would you bring, uh,  In, in essence, a competitor into our state, but,  um,  really what we want to discuss today and hopefully it becomes a motivational podcast for you is. 

He’s doing business from, with the mindset of abundance, um, and really creating partnerships and sharing and finding what, finding what is best at your niche and what you do best and having the courage to allow folks to, um, maybe come alongside who do some things better. And, um, that’s what the essence of our relationship is.

But William is a very special guy. Yeah.  Um. He’s someone who’s been a very important part of my life. Uh, we became friends a while ago and just kind of, he’s, he was very generous and just literally by, uh, kind of opening his doors to us at Benefit Profiles as we were growing. He invited me down when we had three or four employees.

He literally handed us his agreements that he uses for Ben Admin. But we had no business relationship at the time. We were simply just friends. And um, he’s remained, I consider him a close friend, but we are business partners.  And I believe William, his father, and his colleagues at the Casing Group have a very unique take on business, uh,  and he’s going to share that with you today. 

And that’s what this Living the Dream portion is all about. It’s about,  you know, listening to folks who have had a ton of success as the Casing Group has,  how, what their philosophy is in that success and how they do things. That’s what this is about. So.  Without further ado, welcome William. Uh, everyone I want to introduce, as I said in the intro, uh, William Cason, the president of the Cason group.

Um, William and I have known each other long time now. Uh, gosh,  I would say 12 years ago is where we met. And, um, on a companion like leaders trip and, but over course of time, we became just kind of, we were blessed to go on those trips year after year for the first five or six years and our wives hit it off and, um, became friends.

And so I just really appreciate you joining today. I’m excited to talk about the topic today, which is going to be the abundance mindset in business and in partnerships. And, um,  you know, I told the audience in our introduction. Well, I believe you’re perfect for this. Obviously, we have a partnership. So if you don’t before we get going on that, do you mind telling the audience about, you know, the folks in Michigan?

Some folks know you, some don’t just kind of your story. Talk about The Cason Group. Um, and then we’ll talk about our partnership. That’s okay. 

Absolutely. Thank you for having me on. It is. It has been a blessing this dozen years now, knowing each other and. Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun with the case and group in our home offices, Columbia, South Carolina.

We’ve been in business for 33 years and some change. Now, my father started the business. He was a guardian group rep, uh, got cross ways with his, uh, his boss at the time and,  and the Lord called him quickly out of the guardian. And, and that’s where this started. Um,  I started here in 2003 after a one year,  uh, of selling insurance just out of college and have been here ever since.

So now 21 years.  

It started out in sales and kind of made your way, but you became the president.  One thing that was immediately unique about,  uh, our friendship is I think when I first met you, Benefit Profiles had just started. We had, I think two or three employees and you had just become president at a pretty young age. 

I was 30 when it, when I was 30 

years old. Yeah. How long had you been there at that point? 

That was 2011. I had been here for eight years. It was actually on my eighth anniversary. Which was also the then,  uh, it was the 20th anniversary of the company. How 

many employees were there just roughly when you took over as president?

About 60, I would say.  

Oh, wow. I guess I never knew. I never knew that.  So you, can you just tell the audience, we  are a little different in our general agents. We at BPI, as we all know, we’re a group general agency. We do, you know. Primarily that quoting,  selling, hustling, you know, we’ll go do groups of smallest to all the way up and Ben Adman will go a little higher.

Um, but there’s things that you guys do, you do all of that, um, in your core markets, but you also do more, um, including the life insurance side. So talk a little bit about that. And what was a, what you all were doing at that time? Cause I think we were pretty similar at that time.  

When I started in 2003, we were a  primarily South Carolina, some North Carolina, um, small group GA.

So most of our business was under 50, probably 85 percent of our revenue, I would bet 80 to 85 was group medical and probably 80  to. 80 percent of that was one particular carrier, a local HMO in South Carolina. So,  so yeah, today 65 percent of our revenue ballpark is group benefits. Um, about 12 to 15 is individual medical and then 20  to 25, somewhere in there is, um, financial services, financial services, individual life ability 

was financial services going on when you were made president.

Yes, it was. Yeah. We started, I actually started as a sales rep in 2003, in 2006, well 2005, we piloted financial service, life insurance brokerage with one carrier and in 06, I stopped doing group primarily. And started doing nothing but life insurance. So I did that for three  years and then led sales on both sides for two years and then became the president. 

So  I feel like you becoming the president at that age is obviously a testament to you. And, uh, for those who want to listen, there’s a great podcast, uh, William, The Cason Group has their own podcast too. And you interview your father who, you know, you came to work for. I think it actually. Uh, one thing that you, what I really admire about The Cason Group and the reason why we are partners and we became friends is the way you all run your company, the culture. 

I feel like culturally the fact that he made a 30 year old guy, I mean, obviously it’s a huge Testament to you and who you are, but  I mean, that’s kind of a big deal. Yeah. Um, so do you mind talking about the, like who he was at your, your founder, Louie and you know, how he set that culture? 

Yeah. So I want to make sure that it’s clear that he still is.

Uh, yeah, that’s correct. He still is young. That’s right. I always, yes. And he still is who he was. Um,  he’s an interesting study. Um,  You hear about family businesses. Most of the time the father is not willing to release relinquish control, particularly to his sons. Most founders are have a hard time releasing control to anyone. 

But  I mean, from day one, he’s, he’s just a, he’s driven. Um,  but he’s also very humble. He just doesn’t, he’s not a, I wouldn’t call him overtly humble, but he just doesn’t, um, He’s just matter of fact and black and white and it’s not about him. And  yeah, he was, he allowed me to move into the role at 30 years old into, one of the things that he was, has always done for me and my two brothers is allowed us to make mistakes.

And it hasn’t been like in a, I’m going to let you make this mistake and learn the lesson. It’s more like, Hey, you’re an adult, make a call. Like, let’s just make a decision and, and I,  and go. And he professionally did that as well. He let me make decisions, do things my way. Uh, we’re hardwired similar in a lot of ways and also different in, in many ways.

And he let me be me,  which  he, he deserves. All the credit in that because it’s very, very rare as you talk to people, and I’m sure you do too, who  run agencies or just family businesses in general, it’s just extremely rare that the generation older relinquishes control. easily.  

Yeah. And I think although I was running a much smaller GA, I had very similar situation where I was given the reins and go ahead, you know, at  a very young age too. 

So that’s where our kind of our bedrock of our friendship started, where you were just very helpful. We would see each other. I, you know, he said, Hey, this is what’s going on. But for the most part, we were just buddies. And as we grew, um, started talking more and more business, um,  So, bringing up who our partnership is today, um, it’s a journey, uh, many people who are listening to this today know that Benefit Profiles is affiliated with the Casing Group.

It started with Medicare and Individual, um, because the Benefit Profiles is a general agent that does group benefits.  We’re not in that Medicare and individual side. So two years ago for the audience, I called William and said, I’d really like to do business with you. Why I was, um, I had met William. I had met some of his colleagues that he works with.

And I just was like, man, there’s something here. It was just a gut feeling. And we started, it jumped kind of in, in the Medicare and individual side. William came up. It was for those. Williams from South Carolina came up in November. It was super, super cold. You might remember that. And we just, we kind of inked a deal  and it was really successful.

I would, I would, I think you would agree with that. Um, that, that success led to us talking last year, like how do we increase this again? Um, there’s some things that Benefit Profiles does not do up market. And one of those is enrollment solutions. So one on one, uh, enrollment, Planning and enrollment, um, either face to face or via call center.

We don’t have that service. Also, Ben admin, there was times when we would just kind of get redlined and I would kind of flip deals over to Williams team and then really upmarket. You know, now you have plan source, which is a different benefit admin system. It has an enormous group of professionals in it.

Who who managed that so those things, we kind of came to an agreement last year. It was an affiliate agreement and allowed us to, I think, serve the agent community even better  where we couldn’t feel that he Williams team definitely did. And now we’re kind of landed on this place where we have this giant. 

White space, I believe, where  it works incredibly well. Um, when we started out, I had colleagues, friends, et cetera, like, why would you do this? Why would you bring in what would one would consider a competitor into your market? Right. So  it was a really interesting journey between two people who are buddies, but also very, I think we’re wired similarly,  the same, right. 

Um, and I want to talk about that because I was at a. Sales, uh, for the audience, William is always generous enough to invite me to his internal sales meetings and you did a whole hour long,  uh, session on partnering with people internally at The Cason Group and having the courage to do that. So the talk today for everybody on the call is, I want to say that. 

Having the courage to take that leap to join kind of forces, even in the face of like, why would you do that? And kind of these internal fears has been very positive. We’ll talk about why, but.  What’s your take on how all that went down and what, you know, where, where we landed, where we are today, at least? 

Yeah, I mean, I think,  I actually, as I recall, the start of it was you coming down here and just visiting our office. That’s right.  Um, which I’ve been fortunate enough to do that with other folks to, to just go visit and see how they do business. Um, that’s 

how it started. I totally forgot about that. That’s where I met Brian and yeah.

Yeah. Um,  and then, Hey, there’s,  you said, Hey, y’all are doing some stuff that we’re not doing. And  I think  both of us, as we walked through it,  we knew we trust each other, that there’s  If there’s not a bedrock or a foundation of trust, then there’s, it’s hard to have a really successful relationship in general, probably, but, uh, but also business relationship.

So I think that there was a foundation of trust  and, and then I, as the relationship grew. I think both of us, I know myself, relinquished, let go of  things have to go the way I say they have to go. And I, I see the end of where this is headed. And I think both of us, Agreed that  well, part of our 10 year plan that we launched now, it was about two years ago.

I finished my sabbatical into the summer, midsummer, 2 years ago, and we came back with, with 3 things, a growth plan to be a bigger light and then, uh, a plan to be the best place to work for our target people and be the best at everything that we do and embracing the best, trying to be the best at everything that we do.

There’s a, there’s a freedom almost in saying, Hey, we want to be the best at this. You can’t be the best at everything. And me and you have talked about this a good bit. And if,  if we truly are the best, then we actually don’t have to be fearful of, of  who we let in and where we let in. And, and We also, we talked about this yesterday, but  the Michigan market is ginormous.

So is South Carolina.  This market’s much smaller than Michigan. Michigan’s about the size of maybe slightly larger than Georgia. Um,  but it’s a huge marketplace. And if you had,  if we together had 10 percent of the marketplace, we would be huge. There was so much. To to go get let’s go get what we’re great at  and I think we embrace that together 

Yeah, and along the way of that though.

There’s that natural. That’s what I want sales people to feel There’s a pretty natural fear,  you know Yeah, let’s take it to yours internally at casing group you encourage your reps to work together younger reps older reps more experienced reps right or Just can you give examples of that? 

Yeah. Um, do you mind if I go off on the abundance mentality at, yes, we had our 30th anniversary and my dad, uh, gave a speech and it kind of impromptu, sort of a, Hey,  speak for a second.

And  he,  He spoke through the 30 years that he has been involved at the Casing Group, and he used three particular Bible verses. The first one, when he was starting up, was  Proverbs, excuse me, it was Jeremiah 29 11, I believe it is. Which is, I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, to make you great.

And To move you forward. Essentially. It was a time of, he had just been fired. He started a new job and the Lord’s calling of, I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Um, midway through, so late nineties, early two thousands, the company was bigger than and had become more than he had expected it to be.

It was 15, 20 employees and it had become a going concern. And  

he did not have plans for that. He started 

not at all. He’s trying to feed his family. I mean, and. No, not at all. Um, and  He embraced the verse, the verse says, Proverbs 6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your understanding and all your ways.

Acknowledge him and he’ll make your path straight. And then as he handed the reins over, and I’m quoting him, Um,  Ephesians 3 20, I believe it is, which is, uh, and now to him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we could ask or think,  um, that’s where the abundance mentality comes from is, is God’s able to do more than we would ever ask or think.

And he said, I had to sort of release control. I didn’t have it anyway. And the Lord had already at this point provided way more than he had expected. And there’s a freedom. In a in a mindset of well, this is not mine. Anyway, it’s yours 

So so i’ll  this is exactly all right So everyone knows this is exactly what I want people what we want to work on right here. 

Um,  You you didn’t say it, but when he started he was pretty freaked out. I mean probably Different personality than me like, you know, 

yeah, he uh, you can hear it in his podcast But he he had three kids and I was 11, I think at the time 10 So 10 12 and 8 Where his three sons, wife, you know, yeah, he didn’t have a job.

That’s scary. It’s not 

like there was a 

bunch of money in the account, a little bit of money, but not a ton.  

And I think it’s a natural human tendency to look toward negativity. I don’t know, care who you are, man. I’m a pretty positive guy. I think you are as well. We all, it’s pretty natural. Yeah. You know,  

no question.

And you, you asked about salespeople particularly. And, um, and all of us are this, it’s it, the, the, when you get two or three steps removed from a particular situation, it’s easy to sort of be more objective. But when you’re like,  all of us are at certain times, We are, we are emotionally wound. Um, but one of the things that we’ve really been trying to ask our sales team to embrace is  let, let’s do first of all, what we as a company are best at.

Let’s let’s, if we’re not the best, just say, we’re not the best at this. Go to somewhere else that is, because we want to win what we are the best at. Cause we’re going to provide the best experience then. And the same is true, even at a step down level. For our sales folks,  a salesperson can’t be the best for every different scenario.

So I just mentioned, we have three different divisions, group benefits, financial services, individual medical. We have different salespeople for each division. There was a time. 

Different true. And in group benefits, William, you have two kinds of things you do there. Correct. Three or actually three or four.

So enrollment, Benadmin, small group anslay, right? Yeah. 

2005 when I started here or when I was in sales, we sold, I sold group benefits, individual medical, individual life insurance. At some point we break those out and yeah, inside of group benefits as we’ve grown. Even there needs to be specialization inside of that.

Um, folks that are focused on the larger case market folks  gentlemen and ladies that are focused in the smaller case market and I would  One of the things that we do a lot of work with reagan consulting and yeah in the consulting work that they have done  growth and profitability Go  up when specialization goes up inside retail agencies, the more specialized you are, the more opportunity you have to be the best at something.

And interestingly, and maybe not surprisingly, it drives better than market growth and better than market profits. 

And probably because people are doing right where they need to be confident experts.  presenting. 

I think so. Yeah. 

If you translate that, do you find that your sales, can we give an example of, uh, you know, obviously our example is from the outside.

Here I am general agency in Michigan, 14 employees. Um, here’s case in group 200 plus employees and here we are this partnership, which is actually highly benefited benefit profiles. I’ve learned a ton. We’ve done, um, we’ve done joint work on quoting systems. You all helped us with expanding our relationships with our agents already.

Uh, we’ve learned a lot about how you all do Ben Admin. You’ve literally given us a playbook for Ben Admin and we’ve taken a lot of that. Like you’ve literally handed it to us, you know, so you could, it could be construed from your side. Like we are teaching this GA how we do things, you know what I mean?

Like  all that negative, negative, negative, negative, negative. But if you pivot and say, but what have we gained from it? And we, you know, benefit profiles, I believe has gained from  having a united front in the marketplace. People go, I think it gives us a sense of, um, uh, deeper professionalism. And, you know, now these guys have some, some horses in the stable if we need them and vice versa for you all, like you didn’t really, people that know of The Cason Group as much in Michigan.

You know, so it’s been good. Um,  so that’s our example at our, at our level, overcoming that fear and, and enjoying that kind of the good things that came out of that at your sales folks, are they resistant? So if they say, Hey, Mr. Salesperson, we want you to bring this young person in or this other person into, you might be a better fit.

Is that sometimes get tricky or is that pretty good? 

Yeah. I mean, it’s definitely true. We had, uh, a particular example pops into my head and I hope this broker,  he knows who he is. Um, we had a broker who was been doing business with us for a dozen years, at least recruited by one of our top salespeople.

Okay. Great relationship, personal relationship, um, that, um,  Over time,  for one reason or another,  they just didn’t work extremely well together, but this broker had Uh, a really big case that he ended up placing his life insurance case, ended up placing it. Um, but there was friction the whole time and there’s, there’s, yeah, just natural 

human  

friction.

Yeah. And  I, I’m, I wish that this call had happened faster, but I’m also proud that it did happen, that our seasoned rep on our side eventually, um,  called the broker and said, look, I’m I’m not the best person to serve you here. There’s another person here who would serve you better. And  he had not called him previously, in part because there was potential business to be had, but in part because there was a personal relationship there and it’s, yeah, you didn’t want to give up on, on that.

And per a business relationship there,  um, you know, fast forward eight months now.  This broker, I had breakfast with him two weeks ago and he said, my relationship with y’all has never been better because I’ve got somebody now who really is serving me. And a lot of the art behind our more seasoned person was, was really positive.

He, he wanted to serve this person, but it just wasn’t working. And sometimes that happens because Life situations change. Sometimes it happens because the solution that you as a broker, for example, would be providing has grown past the client segment that, that you have, um,  probably one of the best agencies in the Southeast that I worked that I have worked with in my career had a concept of downshifting and it was ingrained in the agency that  every producer would.

Would push down the bottom 20 percent of their book of business to someone down below them so that they could be freed up to go win the bigger business. But if the whole company’s doing it, well, everybody’s giving  every pretty much everybody. Maybe everybody would set the very high purse top person is also receiving.

And so it’s a, and that top person hopefully has the  Ability to go be freed up and go build in that top 20 percent as opposed to the bottom. 

Yeah, that’s phenomenal. And if we take that to the agent retail model to piggyback on what you’re talking about, You know, when we talk to benefits agents, i’ll ask them you’re in a big agency.

How much cross selling are you all doing and sometimes? There’s agents doing a lot of it. And other times  people are kind of holding on, like, that’s my good account. I don’t know if I want to bring in a benefits professional or vice versa, you know, um, 

doing this a while too, but how many PNC agencies have tried to launch a benefits agency only to, to see it fail because there’s no.

Confidence in the new benefits producer for cross. So there 

you go, right? So what is taking it back to you, you know, the case in group,  very unabashed. You,  uh, you guys run your company based on Christian biblical values. I would think that I’m not answering for you, but in those times when you get a little tight or you’re wanting to clutch,  I mean, your go to is Bible verses.

I would think no. Or is it like friendships all of the above?  

You know, if I’d say it’s,  you hear about servant leadership, that is a biblical principle for sure, but it’s also effective in the marketplace. Um,  if we’re leading for the benefit of the people that we’re serving. Um,  then when we ask people to,  to give folks up, we’re not asking them to give folks up for the, we’re asking them to do that because we believe it’s the best thing for the individual, um, to continue to grow.

So, and the client, yeah. And the client for sure. Yes.  We got a bunch of folks here who want to be great and want to win. Um, you do too. I know you don’t want to go do things that, and your people don’t want to do things that we’re really not that good at. Sometimes we’re trying something new and we have to learn that we’re not that good at it.

But when you know, you’re not that good. And when we, when your people know you’re not that good, it’s frustrating to continue to do that. It’s actually freeing when you allow yourself to go, this isn’t where I’m the best. Now, in our scene, 

I love that.  Yeah. You know, that the example we had  was two, a year and a half ago, Connor, Beatty is a person we work with.

He’s, Your rap, William, he does a lot of Ben admin and, you know, enrollment, larger stuff.  We had an eight, one of our best agents, honestly, he’s one of our best agents had called in a huge cases, a thousand lives, um, for an agency like my, it’s a really big deal, but he called in November. And he needed something done in a week and a half, uh, create a full ben admin solution and needed to be up and running in a week and a half.

And you know what our, Ben, our value is, and you would, you’ve said this is one of the things that’s awesome about bp, about BPIs, we’re nimble and flexible, but at that time of, um, the time of the year, we just didn’t, we knew we were not gonna do a good job. And Connor, you know, with your, and you’ve not.  But you have a lot of horses in the stable and Connor was able to get that thing running and going in a week and a half.

It was unreal. And, and  so what, what, what happened now, the, the agent who, again, is a great relationship for BPI, so even more value by us, you know, I think that’s what you’re pointing out, right? Well, yeah. 

You know, one of the fun things in working with you, um, has been. The recognition of that y’all do have y’all have an awesome niche Yeah, I have an awesome lane and you need to apologize to no one for what your value proposition is and how Y’all are very I think boutique and no and And that is valuable.

That’s extremely valuable. And it’s a gift and you need, yeah, you don’t have to apologize or, or be fearful of any competitor. Not that you’re arrogant about that, but, but y’all are great 

now, especially with you guys.  Right?  Yes. That’s cool though. Like, so when we go to a larger agency and we say we are nimble and flexible in some agencies quite frankly, like, well, they’re too little from Grand Rapids.

Well, great. Here’s Connor. He isn’t, you know what I mean? Like, um, although I have to be 

honest, Columbia is not that bigger, much bigger than our actually. I know. Exactly. 

Exactly. 

But so I guess, 

uh, what What I want folks to take away from this, this podcast is  this philosophy of business. And one thing I’ve always been, and I, I believe our cultures are very similar.

My culture was started by my parents, yours, by your father.  And they’re very similar. Serve first cultures, employees,  clients, carriers, right? I mean, that’s what we’re about. 

Yeah. 

We come at it a little different, but at the We come literally, but we have the same spirit, I believe. Um, but I’ve always been attracted by that, that abundance mindset. 

And you mentioned the service servant leadership  at your darkest times. So I’m going to ask you this again in a different way. Like when you, where do you go personally, William, this is for the folks. Cause you’re early. I mean, pretty successful, you’re very humble guy, very successful career, right? I mean, you’ve had some tough times.

Do you lean in on. People, silent study,  faith, wife, like the tough times.  

I mean, the core of everything is, is, is my faith. 

Yeah.  

And even for this company, if you listen to our purpose statement, it is that we exist to provide a platform for employee employees here for people to serve, to be challenged and to be a light in the marketplace. 

Yeah, I mean, if you’re asking me personally, um, I believe that there’s a God who created the world and he set the world in motion and he’s built us in his image, all of us. And we all have ingrained fears and sin since the fall of man. And I believe there’s a savior for the for us. Um, and I do believe in the scriptures and the truth in them.

Um, and. Um, try very poorly much of the time to live, uh, live by those, but yeah, that’s,  it all comes back to that.  If you work here, you’ll hear this a lot.  Um, we want to have an impact on every person who works here professionally, personally and spiritually. Um, that’s the goal and  the hope is to have eternal impact ultimately because  this place, this case, the case in group, me, um, We’re going to pass away.

We’re looking at document redo, rewriting some corporate documents yesterday. And the attorney who spoke, who I was speaking to said, I can tell you this, you will not own this forever. No one will because eventually somebody else owns it because they buy it or you give it or you die, but you hang on it forever.

So, yeah, I mean, for me, it does ultimately come back to  the eternal perspective and And how do we have eternal, eternal impact?  

Yeah, and  I believe that  it’s, I’m not, I’m fumbling over my words, but I feel like that’s where you and I have connected as well. For sure. And it’s, it’s been cool. Really, really cool.

And, and for the audience, like for,  and I would just encourage it. It’s been okay for a small, a smaller, we’re not small as we were. Which is a blessing, but smaller  organization to become buddies with a bigger organization. It’s pretty unique, but I think it’s based on, like you said, William, mutual trust.

We have an agreement. Yeah,  it’s about as good as the people who shook hands on it. Quite frankly, it’s a great, it’s fine. And we did, we did all the, I want everyone to know we did all the right stuff we did,  we had made agreements, we have guardrails, we, we talk a lot. Um, 

the attorney who wrote up our agreement told me  six years ago, never sign a contract with somebody you don’t trust. 

If you’re trying to build a legal document to  build trust,  you, you got it wrong. Um, 

you’re absolutely right. 

I think good fences don’t make good neighbors. I think good neighbors make good neighbors, good fences, make good neighbors, stay good neighbors. So yeah, we have a document in place, but there’s a, a level of trust.

And I’ll tell you that the, the business relationships been fun and it’s been a blessing  way more.  Um, of a blessing than that has been the personal relationship. Um, and even particularly the spiritual connection that we’ve been able to have over the last three years. That’s the, that’s what. Will remain for me 

for sure and I want people to know when you when you’re considering partnering I would encourage you to have the courage to do it.

You got to find the right person Which I think obviously we found the right two organizations It’s not like you’re doing this across the market, but you are doing more of You know, each little GA that you talk to, cause you, you guys are kind of in that space now where you’re branching out and thinking about acquisitions and working with people like us.

Each one’s a little different, isn’t it? Each it’s not. Yeah. Yeah.  

Uh, similar in that they’re all unique and we’re all unite neat, by the way, it’s not this day. We, you said to me a couple of times. There are certain things y’all got to do it your way. Cause this your way.  Some of those you’re saying they do it.

And some of those you’re like, we, we want to keep doing it our way. And that’s good. It’s been fun. It’s appropriate. There’s  also think that the blessing of this partnership has been that we’ve had candid conversation in love and also, but also candid.  

Very candid, and that just happened again where, um, we just kind of revised some things and, but it put you, it’s again, it’s one, it’s time after the other, you putting your money where your mouth is and saying, hey, we want to respect you.

There’s, we believe there’s a ton of business. We don’t, we can do it  together. And if, you know, there’s certain people who don’t work with benefit profiles a lot. Then great hope casing group does great. And you said, Hey, we don’t  for agents who love BPI, you tell us when you want to bring us in. And it’s very respectful relationship.

So when it comes, I think ultimately landing the plane on all of this.  Is if the audience can get a sense of  you can have the courage to do it. And for me, it was a big, big leap, William. You know, I don’t know if it was for you, but it was for me. Um, and I’m very, I feel very rewarded that we did it. It’s been positive on a, on a business perspective and on a profession, personal perspective. 

Um, if anybody.  You know, wants to learn more about The Cason Group about our partnership. Certainly reach out to me. We’ll get connected to to the representatives from The Cason Group in Michigan, both on the individual side and the group side.  Is there anything we left out that we didn’t that we wanted to cover? 

Not from my perspective. Um,  has it, have there been moments of fear? Maybe I tell you that  about two years ago,  um, I feel like I, at least, and maybe we, um, embrace the journey, uh, in general, but maybe specifically with you and, and once, once that happened, at least for me, the fear and the,  it probably wasn’t as much fear as it for me, as much as it was desire for control.

Um,  Fear for me, desire for control for you. Those were the two pieces. And when I relinquished a level of that, it’s actually made the journey and, uh, fun and. Allowed for some fluidity to it as well.  

Yeah, I could, I could go on and on, but that, that is it. And so if you think about it, if you’re in an agency, and you’re concerned about maybe, well, what if I bring in this senior rep to help me sell this case?

Well, I don’t, I’m not going to have as much money and all those things.  If your gut is leading you in that way,  I say do it personally. 

I agree. It’s just more fun doing stuff with other people too. 

And you don’t know what’s behind that other side. Again, the abundance mindset leads to more abundance leads to more abundance.

That’s actually a bit that goes back to what your, those three passages you mentioned.  I mean, you’ve told me before you, you guys run your business on biblical principles because you believe. But also cause they make a lot of sense from a business perspective. 

If God really did create the world, um, and he set the rules, then following his rules does make some sort of, uh, objective sense too. 

Yeah, absolutely. Well, my man, thank you so much for your time. So I hope to see you soon.  

Same to you. Maybe 

back here in Michigan someday. We’ll see. 

Sounds good. I think we’ve got the crew coming up in July. So 

yes, yes, sir. 

  Hey everybody, Dominic Sestliano here. Season one, episode nine of What’s the Benefit podcast. But,  this is the second in our installment of the Living the Dream,  uh, series. And, um, I’m excited as heck to be joined by William Cason, who’s the president of The Cason Group. Many of you who listen to our podcast, follow us and do business with us, know that we’re, we have an affiliate agreement with The Cason Group.

They’re an important partner of us. Many people would wonder why a general agent in Michigan would partner with another general agency from the Southeast United States, especially one who does some of the same work we do. Why would you bring, uh,  In, in essence, a competitor into our state, but,  um,  really what we want to discuss today and hopefully it becomes a motivational podcast for you is. 

He’s doing business from, with the mindset of abundance, um, and really creating partnerships and sharing and finding what, finding what is best at your niche and what you do best and having the courage to allow folks to, um, maybe come alongside who do some things better. And, um, that’s what the essence of our relationship is.

But William is a very special guy. Yeah.  Um. He’s someone who’s been a very important part of my life. Uh, we became friends a while ago and just kind of, he’s, he was very generous and just literally by, uh, kind of opening his doors to us at Benefit Profiles as we were growing. He invited me down when we had three or four employees.

He literally handed us his agreements that he uses for Ben Admin. But we had no business relationship at the time. We were simply just friends. And um, he’s remained, I consider him a close friend, but we are business partners.  And I believe William, his father, and his colleagues at the Casing Group have a very unique take on business, uh,  and he’s going to share that with you today. 

And that’s what this Living the Dream portion is all about. It’s about,  you know, listening to folks who have had a ton of success as the Casing Group has,  how, what their philosophy is in that success and how they do things. That’s what this is about. So.  Without further ado, welcome William. Uh, everyone I want to introduce, as I said in the intro, uh, William Cason, the president of the Cason group.

Um, William and I have known each other long time now. Uh, gosh,  I would say 12 years ago is where we met. And, um, on a companion like leaders trip and, but over course of time, we became just kind of, we were blessed to go on those trips year after year for the first five or six years and our wives hit it off and, um, became friends.

And so I just really appreciate you joining today. I’m excited to talk about the topic today, which is going to be the abundance mindset in business and in partnerships. And, um,  you know, I told the audience in our introduction. Well, I believe you’re perfect for this. Obviously, we have a partnership. So if you don’t before we get going on that, do you mind telling the audience about, you know, the folks in Michigan?

Some folks know you, some don’t just kind of your story. Talk about The Cason Group. Um, and then we’ll talk about our partnership. That’s okay. 

Absolutely. Thank you for having me on. It is. It has been a blessing this dozen years now, knowing each other and. Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun with the case and group in our home offices, Columbia, South Carolina.

We’ve been in business for 33 years and some change. Now, my father started the business. He was a guardian group rep, uh, got cross ways with his, uh, his boss at the time and,  and the Lord called him quickly out of the guardian. And, and that’s where this started. Um,  I started here in 2003 after a one year,  uh, of selling insurance just out of college and have been here ever since.

So now 21 years.  

It started out in sales and kind of made your way, but you became the president.  One thing that was immediately unique about,  uh, our friendship is I think when I first met you, Benefit Profiles had just started. We had, I think two or three employees and you had just become president at a pretty young age. 

I was 30 when it, when I was 30 

years old. Yeah. How long had you been there at that point? 

That was 2011. I had been here for eight years. It was actually on my eighth anniversary. Which was also the then,  uh, it was the 20th anniversary of the company. How 

many employees were there just roughly when you took over as president?

About 60, I would say.  

Oh, wow. I guess I never knew. I never knew that.  So you, can you just tell the audience, we  are a little different in our general agents. We at BPI, as we all know, we’re a group general agency. We do, you know. Primarily that quoting,  selling, hustling, you know, we’ll go do groups of smallest to all the way up and Ben Adman will go a little higher.

Um, but there’s things that you guys do, you do all of that, um, in your core markets, but you also do more, um, including the life insurance side. So talk a little bit about that. And what was a, what you all were doing at that time? Cause I think we were pretty similar at that time.  

When I started in 2003, we were a  primarily South Carolina, some North Carolina, um, small group GA.

So most of our business was under 50, probably 85 percent of our revenue, I would bet 80 to 85 was group medical and probably 80  to. 80 percent of that was one particular carrier, a local HMO in South Carolina. So,  so yeah, today 65 percent of our revenue ballpark is group benefits. Um, about 12 to 15 is individual medical and then 20  to 25, somewhere in there is, um, financial services, financial services, individual life ability 

was financial services going on when you were made president.

Yes, it was. Yeah. We started, I actually started as a sales rep in 2003, in 2006, well 2005, we piloted financial service, life insurance brokerage with one carrier and in 06, I stopped doing group primarily. And started doing nothing but life insurance. So I did that for three  years and then led sales on both sides for two years and then became the president. 

So  I feel like you becoming the president at that age is obviously a testament to you. And, uh, for those who want to listen, there’s a great podcast, uh, William, The Cason Group has their own podcast too. And you interview your father who, you know, you came to work for. I think it actually. Uh, one thing that you, what I really admire about The Cason Group and the reason why we are partners and we became friends is the way you all run your company, the culture. 

I feel like culturally the fact that he made a 30 year old guy, I mean, obviously it’s a huge Testament to you and who you are, but  I mean, that’s kind of a big deal. Yeah. Um, so do you mind talking about the, like who he was at your, your founder, Louie and you know, how he set that culture? 

Yeah. So I want to make sure that it’s clear that he still is.

Uh, yeah, that’s correct. He still is young. That’s right. I always, yes. And he still is who he was. Um,  he’s an interesting study. Um,  You hear about family businesses. Most of the time the father is not willing to release relinquish control, particularly to his sons. Most founders are have a hard time releasing control to anyone. 

But  I mean, from day one, he’s, he’s just a, he’s driven. Um,  but he’s also very humble. He just doesn’t, he’s not a, I wouldn’t call him overtly humble, but he just doesn’t, um, He’s just matter of fact and black and white and it’s not about him. And  yeah, he was, he allowed me to move into the role at 30 years old into, one of the things that he was, has always done for me and my two brothers is allowed us to make mistakes.

And it hasn’t been like in a, I’m going to let you make this mistake and learn the lesson. It’s more like, Hey, you’re an adult, make a call. Like, let’s just make a decision and, and I,  and go. And he professionally did that as well. He let me make decisions, do things my way. Uh, we’re hardwired similar in a lot of ways and also different in, in many ways.

And he let me be me,  which  he, he deserves. All the credit in that because it’s very, very rare as you talk to people, and I’m sure you do too, who  run agencies or just family businesses in general, it’s just extremely rare that the generation older relinquishes control. easily.  

Yeah. And I think although I was running a much smaller GA, I had very similar situation where I was given the reins and go ahead, you know, at  a very young age too. 

So that’s where our kind of our bedrock of our friendship started, where you were just very helpful. We would see each other. I, you know, he said, Hey, this is what’s going on. But for the most part, we were just buddies. And as we grew, um, started talking more and more business, um,  So, bringing up who our partnership is today, um, it’s a journey, uh, many people who are listening to this today know that Benefit Profiles is affiliated with the Casing Group.

It started with Medicare and Individual, um, because the Benefit Profiles is a general agent that does group benefits.  We’re not in that Medicare and individual side. So two years ago for the audience, I called William and said, I’d really like to do business with you. Why I was, um, I had met William. I had met some of his colleagues that he works with.

And I just was like, man, there’s something here. It was just a gut feeling. And we started, it jumped kind of in, in the Medicare and individual side. William came up. It was for those. Williams from South Carolina came up in November. It was super, super cold. You might remember that. And we just, we kind of inked a deal  and it was really successful.

I would, I would, I think you would agree with that. Um, that, that success led to us talking last year, like how do we increase this again? Um, there’s some things that Benefit Profiles does not do up market. And one of those is enrollment solutions. So one on one, uh, enrollment, Planning and enrollment, um, either face to face or via call center.

We don’t have that service. Also, Ben admin, there was times when we would just kind of get redlined and I would kind of flip deals over to Williams team and then really upmarket. You know, now you have plan source, which is a different benefit admin system. It has an enormous group of professionals in it.

Who who managed that so those things, we kind of came to an agreement last year. It was an affiliate agreement and allowed us to, I think, serve the agent community even better  where we couldn’t feel that he Williams team definitely did. And now we’re kind of landed on this place where we have this giant. 

White space, I believe, where  it works incredibly well. Um, when we started out, I had colleagues, friends, et cetera, like, why would you do this? Why would you bring in what would one would consider a competitor into your market? Right. So  it was a really interesting journey between two people who are buddies, but also very, I think we’re wired similarly,  the same, right. 

Um, and I want to talk about that because I was at a. Sales, uh, for the audience, William is always generous enough to invite me to his internal sales meetings and you did a whole hour long,  uh, session on partnering with people internally at The Cason Group and having the courage to do that. So the talk today for everybody on the call is, I want to say that. 

Having the courage to take that leap to join kind of forces, even in the face of like, why would you do that? And kind of these internal fears has been very positive. We’ll talk about why, but.  What’s your take on how all that went down and what, you know, where, where we landed, where we are today, at least? 

Yeah, I mean, I think,  I actually, as I recall, the start of it was you coming down here and just visiting our office. That’s right.  Um, which I’ve been fortunate enough to do that with other folks to, to just go visit and see how they do business. Um, that’s 

how it started. I totally forgot about that. That’s where I met Brian and yeah.

Yeah. Um,  and then, Hey, there’s,  you said, Hey, y’all are doing some stuff that we’re not doing. And  I think  both of us, as we walked through it,  we knew we trust each other, that there’s  If there’s not a bedrock or a foundation of trust, then there’s, it’s hard to have a really successful relationship in general, probably, but, uh, but also business relationship.

So I think that there was a foundation of trust  and, and then I, as the relationship grew. I think both of us, I know myself, relinquished, let go of  things have to go the way I say they have to go. And I, I see the end of where this is headed. And I think both of us, Agreed that  well, part of our 10 year plan that we launched now, it was about two years ago.

I finished my sabbatical into the summer, midsummer, 2 years ago, and we came back with, with 3 things, a growth plan to be a bigger light and then, uh, a plan to be the best place to work for our target people and be the best at everything that we do and embracing the best, trying to be the best at everything that we do.

There’s a, there’s a freedom almost in saying, Hey, we want to be the best at this. You can’t be the best at everything. And me and you have talked about this a good bit. And if,  if we truly are the best, then we actually don’t have to be fearful of, of  who we let in and where we let in. And, and We also, we talked about this yesterday, but  the Michigan market is ginormous.

So is South Carolina.  This market’s much smaller than Michigan. Michigan’s about the size of maybe slightly larger than Georgia. Um,  but it’s a huge marketplace. And if you had,  if we together had 10 percent of the marketplace, we would be huge. There was so much. To to go get let’s go get what we’re great at  and I think we embrace that together 

Yeah, and along the way of that though.

There’s that natural. That’s what I want sales people to feel There’s a pretty natural fear,  you know Yeah, let’s take it to yours internally at casing group you encourage your reps to work together younger reps older reps more experienced reps right or Just can you give examples of that? 

Yeah. Um, do you mind if I go off on the abundance mentality at, yes, we had our 30th anniversary and my dad, uh, gave a speech and it kind of impromptu, sort of a, Hey,  speak for a second.

And  he,  He spoke through the 30 years that he has been involved at the Casing Group, and he used three particular Bible verses. The first one, when he was starting up, was  Proverbs, excuse me, it was Jeremiah 29 11, I believe it is. Which is, I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, to make you great.

And To move you forward. Essentially. It was a time of, he had just been fired. He started a new job and the Lord’s calling of, I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Um, midway through, so late nineties, early two thousands, the company was bigger than and had become more than he had expected it to be.

It was 15, 20 employees and it had become a going concern. And  

he did not have plans for that. He started 

not at all. He’s trying to feed his family. I mean, and. No, not at all. Um, and  He embraced the verse, the verse says, Proverbs 6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your understanding and all your ways.

Acknowledge him and he’ll make your path straight. And then as he handed the reins over, and I’m quoting him, Um,  Ephesians 3 20, I believe it is, which is, uh, and now to him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we could ask or think,  um, that’s where the abundance mentality comes from is, is God’s able to do more than we would ever ask or think.

And he said, I had to sort of release control. I didn’t have it anyway. And the Lord had already at this point provided way more than he had expected. And there’s a freedom. In a in a mindset of well, this is not mine. Anyway, it’s yours 

So so i’ll  this is exactly all right So everyone knows this is exactly what I want people what we want to work on right here. 

Um,  You you didn’t say it, but when he started he was pretty freaked out. I mean probably Different personality than me like, you know, 

yeah, he uh, you can hear it in his podcast But he he had three kids and I was 11, I think at the time 10 So 10 12 and 8 Where his three sons, wife, you know, yeah, he didn’t have a job.

That’s scary. It’s not 

like there was a 

bunch of money in the account, a little bit of money, but not a ton.  

And I think it’s a natural human tendency to look toward negativity. I don’t know, care who you are, man. I’m a pretty positive guy. I think you are as well. We all, it’s pretty natural. Yeah. You know,  

no question.

And you, you asked about salespeople particularly. And, um, and all of us are this, it’s it, the, the, when you get two or three steps removed from a particular situation, it’s easy to sort of be more objective. But when you’re like,  all of us are at certain times, We are, we are emotionally wound. Um, but one of the things that we’ve really been trying to ask our sales team to embrace is  let, let’s do first of all, what we as a company are best at.

Let’s let’s, if we’re not the best, just say, we’re not the best at this. Go to somewhere else that is, because we want to win what we are the best at. Cause we’re going to provide the best experience then. And the same is true, even at a step down level. For our sales folks,  a salesperson can’t be the best for every different scenario.

So I just mentioned, we have three different divisions, group benefits, financial services, individual medical. We have different salespeople for each division. There was a time. 

Different true. And in group benefits, William, you have two kinds of things you do there. Correct. Three or actually three or four.

So enrollment, Benadmin, small group anslay, right? Yeah. 

2005 when I started here or when I was in sales, we sold, I sold group benefits, individual medical, individual life insurance. At some point we break those out and yeah, inside of group benefits as we’ve grown. Even there needs to be specialization inside of that.

Um, folks that are focused on the larger case market folks  gentlemen and ladies that are focused in the smaller case market and I would  One of the things that we do a lot of work with reagan consulting and yeah in the consulting work that they have done  growth and profitability Go  up when specialization goes up inside retail agencies, the more specialized you are, the more opportunity you have to be the best at something.

And interestingly, and maybe not surprisingly, it drives better than market growth and better than market profits. 

And probably because people are doing right where they need to be confident experts.  presenting. 

I think so. Yeah. 

If you translate that, do you find that your sales, can we give an example of, uh, you know, obviously our example is from the outside.

Here I am general agency in Michigan, 14 employees. Um, here’s case in group 200 plus employees and here we are this partnership, which is actually highly benefited benefit profiles. I’ve learned a ton. We’ve done, um, we’ve done joint work on quoting systems. You all helped us with expanding our relationships with our agents already.

Uh, we’ve learned a lot about how you all do Ben Admin. You’ve literally given us a playbook for Ben Admin and we’ve taken a lot of that. Like you’ve literally handed it to us, you know, so you could, it could be construed from your side. Like we are teaching this GA how we do things, you know what I mean?

Like  all that negative, negative, negative, negative, negative. But if you pivot and say, but what have we gained from it? And we, you know, benefit profiles, I believe has gained from  having a united front in the marketplace. People go, I think it gives us a sense of, um, uh, deeper professionalism. And, you know, now these guys have some, some horses in the stable if we need them and vice versa for you all, like you didn’t really, people that know of The Cason Group as much in Michigan.

You know, so it’s been good. Um,  so that’s our example at our, at our level, overcoming that fear and, and enjoying that kind of the good things that came out of that at your sales folks, are they resistant? So if they say, Hey, Mr. Salesperson, we want you to bring this young person in or this other person into, you might be a better fit.

Is that sometimes get tricky or is that pretty good? 

Yeah. I mean, it’s definitely true. We had, uh, a particular example pops into my head and I hope this broker,  he knows who he is. Um, we had a broker who was been doing business with us for a dozen years, at least recruited by one of our top salespeople.

Okay. Great relationship, personal relationship, um, that, um,  Over time,  for one reason or another,  they just didn’t work extremely well together, but this broker had Uh, a really big case that he ended up placing his life insurance case, ended up placing it. Um, but there was friction the whole time and there’s, there’s, yeah, just natural 

human  

friction.

Yeah. And  I, I’m, I wish that this call had happened faster, but I’m also proud that it did happen, that our seasoned rep on our side eventually, um,  called the broker and said, look, I’m I’m not the best person to serve you here. There’s another person here who would serve you better. And  he had not called him previously, in part because there was potential business to be had, but in part because there was a personal relationship there and it’s, yeah, you didn’t want to give up on, on that.

And per a business relationship there,  um, you know, fast forward eight months now.  This broker, I had breakfast with him two weeks ago and he said, my relationship with y’all has never been better because I’ve got somebody now who really is serving me. And a lot of the art behind our more seasoned person was, was really positive.

He, he wanted to serve this person, but it just wasn’t working. And sometimes that happens because Life situations change. Sometimes it happens because the solution that you as a broker, for example, would be providing has grown past the client segment that, that you have, um,  probably one of the best agencies in the Southeast that I worked that I have worked with in my career had a concept of downshifting and it was ingrained in the agency that  every producer would.

Would push down the bottom 20 percent of their book of business to someone down below them so that they could be freed up to go win the bigger business. But if the whole company’s doing it, well, everybody’s giving  every pretty much everybody. Maybe everybody would set the very high purse top person is also receiving.

And so it’s a, and that top person hopefully has the  Ability to go be freed up and go build in that top 20 percent as opposed to the bottom. 

Yeah, that’s phenomenal. And if we take that to the agent retail model to piggyback on what you’re talking about, You know, when we talk to benefits agents, i’ll ask them you’re in a big agency.

How much cross selling are you all doing and sometimes? There’s agents doing a lot of it. And other times  people are kind of holding on, like, that’s my good account. I don’t know if I want to bring in a benefits professional or vice versa, you know, um, 

doing this a while too, but how many PNC agencies have tried to launch a benefits agency only to, to see it fail because there’s no.

Confidence in the new benefits producer for cross. So there 

you go, right? So what is taking it back to you, you know, the case in group,  very unabashed. You,  uh, you guys run your company based on Christian biblical values. I would think that I’m not answering for you, but in those times when you get a little tight or you’re wanting to clutch,  I mean, your go to is Bible verses.

I would think no. Or is it like friendships all of the above?  

You know, if I’d say it’s,  you hear about servant leadership, that is a biblical principle for sure, but it’s also effective in the marketplace. Um,  if we’re leading for the benefit of the people that we’re serving. Um,  then when we ask people to,  to give folks up, we’re not asking them to give folks up for the, we’re asking them to do that because we believe it’s the best thing for the individual, um, to continue to grow.

So, and the client, yeah. And the client for sure. Yes.  We got a bunch of folks here who want to be great and want to win. Um, you do too. I know you don’t want to go do things that, and your people don’t want to do things that we’re really not that good at. Sometimes we’re trying something new and we have to learn that we’re not that good at it.

But when you know, you’re not that good. And when we, when your people know you’re not that good, it’s frustrating to continue to do that. It’s actually freeing when you allow yourself to go, this isn’t where I’m the best. Now, in our scene, 

I love that.  Yeah. You know, that the example we had  was two, a year and a half ago, Connor, Beatty is a person we work with.

He’s, Your rap, William, he does a lot of Ben admin and, you know, enrollment, larger stuff.  We had an eight, one of our best agents, honestly, he’s one of our best agents had called in a huge cases, a thousand lives, um, for an agency like my, it’s a really big deal, but he called in November. And he needed something done in a week and a half, uh, create a full ben admin solution and needed to be up and running in a week and a half.

And you know what our, Ben, our value is, and you would, you’ve said this is one of the things that’s awesome about bp, about BPIs, we’re nimble and flexible, but at that time of, um, the time of the year, we just didn’t, we knew we were not gonna do a good job. And Connor, you know, with your, and you’ve not.  But you have a lot of horses in the stable and Connor was able to get that thing running and going in a week and a half.

It was unreal. And, and  so what, what, what happened now, the, the agent who, again, is a great relationship for BPI, so even more value by us, you know, I think that’s what you’re pointing out, right? Well, yeah. 

You know, one of the fun things in working with you, um, has been. The recognition of that y’all do have y’all have an awesome niche Yeah, I have an awesome lane and you need to apologize to no one for what your value proposition is and how Y’all are very I think boutique and no and And that is valuable.

That’s extremely valuable. And it’s a gift and you need, yeah, you don’t have to apologize or, or be fearful of any competitor. Not that you’re arrogant about that, but, but y’all are great 

now, especially with you guys.  Right?  Yes. That’s cool though. Like, so when we go to a larger agency and we say we are nimble and flexible in some agencies quite frankly, like, well, they’re too little from Grand Rapids.

Well, great. Here’s Connor. He isn’t, you know what I mean? Like, um, although I have to be 

honest, Columbia is not that bigger, much bigger than our actually. I know. Exactly. 

Exactly. 

But so I guess, 

uh, what What I want folks to take away from this, this podcast is  this philosophy of business. And one thing I’ve always been, and I, I believe our cultures are very similar.

My culture was started by my parents, yours, by your father.  And they’re very similar. Serve first cultures, employees,  clients, carriers, right? I mean, that’s what we’re about. 

Yeah. 

We come at it a little different, but at the We come literally, but we have the same spirit, I believe. Um, but I’ve always been attracted by that, that abundance mindset. 

And you mentioned the service servant leadership  at your darkest times. So I’m going to ask you this again in a different way. Like when you, where do you go personally, William, this is for the folks. Cause you’re early. I mean, pretty successful, you’re very humble guy, very successful career, right? I mean, you’ve had some tough times.

Do you lean in on. People, silent study,  faith, wife, like the tough times.  

I mean, the core of everything is, is, is my faith. 

Yeah.  

And even for this company, if you listen to our purpose statement, it is that we exist to provide a platform for employee employees here for people to serve, to be challenged and to be a light in the marketplace. 

Yeah, I mean, if you’re asking me personally, um, I believe that there’s a God who created the world and he set the world in motion and he’s built us in his image, all of us. And we all have ingrained fears and sin since the fall of man. And I believe there’s a savior for the for us. Um, and I do believe in the scriptures and the truth in them.

Um, and. Um, try very poorly much of the time to live, uh, live by those, but yeah, that’s,  it all comes back to that.  If you work here, you’ll hear this a lot.  Um, we want to have an impact on every person who works here professionally, personally and spiritually. Um, that’s the goal and  the hope is to have eternal impact ultimately because  this place, this case, the case in group, me, um, We’re going to pass away.

We’re looking at document redo, rewriting some corporate documents yesterday. And the attorney who spoke, who I was speaking to said, I can tell you this, you will not own this forever. No one will because eventually somebody else owns it because they buy it or you give it or you die, but you hang on it forever.

So, yeah, I mean, for me, it does ultimately come back to  the eternal perspective and And how do we have eternal, eternal impact?  

Yeah, and  I believe that  it’s, I’m not, I’m fumbling over my words, but I feel like that’s where you and I have connected as well. For sure. And it’s, it’s been cool. Really, really cool.

And, and for the audience, like for,  and I would just encourage it. It’s been okay for a small, a smaller, we’re not small as we were. Which is a blessing, but smaller  organization to become buddies with a bigger organization. It’s pretty unique, but I think it’s based on, like you said, William, mutual trust.

We have an agreement. Yeah,  it’s about as good as the people who shook hands on it. Quite frankly, it’s a great, it’s fine. And we did, we did all the, I want everyone to know we did all the right stuff we did,  we had made agreements, we have guardrails, we, we talk a lot. Um, 

the attorney who wrote up our agreement told me  six years ago, never sign a contract with somebody you don’t trust. 

If you’re trying to build a legal document to  build trust,  you, you got it wrong. Um, 

you’re absolutely right. 

I think good fences don’t make good neighbors. I think good neighbors make good neighbors, good fences, make good neighbors, stay good neighbors. So yeah, we have a document in place, but there’s a, a level of trust.

And I’ll tell you that the, the business relationships been fun and it’s been a blessing  way more.  Um, of a blessing than that has been the personal relationship. Um, and even particularly the spiritual connection that we’ve been able to have over the last three years. That’s the, that’s what. Will remain for me 

for sure and I want people to know when you when you’re considering partnering I would encourage you to have the courage to do it.

You got to find the right person Which I think obviously we found the right two organizations It’s not like you’re doing this across the market, but you are doing more of You know, each little GA that you talk to, cause you, you guys are kind of in that space now where you’re branching out and thinking about acquisitions and working with people like us.

Each one’s a little different, isn’t it? Each it’s not. Yeah. Yeah.  

Uh, similar in that they’re all unique and we’re all unite neat, by the way, it’s not this day. We, you said to me a couple of times. There are certain things y’all got to do it your way. Cause this your way.  Some of those you’re saying they do it.

And some of those you’re like, we, we want to keep doing it our way. And that’s good. It’s been fun. It’s appropriate. There’s  also think that the blessing of this partnership has been that we’ve had candid conversation in love and also, but also candid.  

Very candid, and that just happened again where, um, we just kind of revised some things and, but it put you, it’s again, it’s one, it’s time after the other, you putting your money where your mouth is and saying, hey, we want to respect you.

There’s, we believe there’s a ton of business. We don’t, we can do it  together. And if, you know, there’s certain people who don’t work with benefit profiles a lot. Then great hope casing group does great. And you said, Hey, we don’t  for agents who love BPI, you tell us when you want to bring us in. And it’s very respectful relationship.

So when it comes, I think ultimately landing the plane on all of this.  Is if the audience can get a sense of  you can have the courage to do it. And for me, it was a big, big leap, William. You know, I don’t know if it was for you, but it was for me. Um, and I’m very, I feel very rewarded that we did it. It’s been positive on a, on a business perspective and on a profession, personal perspective. 

Um, if anybody.  You know, wants to learn more about The Cason Group about our partnership. Certainly reach out to me. We’ll get connected to to the representatives from The Cason Group in Michigan, both on the individual side and the group side.  Is there anything we left out that we didn’t that we wanted to cover? 

Not from my perspective. Um,  has it, have there been moments of fear? Maybe I tell you that  about two years ago,  um, I feel like I, at least, and maybe we, um, embrace the journey, uh, in general, but maybe specifically with you and, and once, once that happened, at least for me, the fear and the,  it probably wasn’t as much fear as it for me, as much as it was desire for control.

Um,  Fear for me, desire for control for you. Those were the two pieces. And when I relinquished a level of that, it’s actually made the journey and, uh, fun and. Allowed for some fluidity to it as well.  

Yeah, I could, I could go on and on, but that, that is it. And so if you think about it, if you’re in an agency, and you’re concerned about maybe, well, what if I bring in this senior rep to help me sell this case?

Well, I don’t, I’m not going to have as much money and all those things.  If your gut is leading you in that way,  I say do it personally. 

I agree. It’s just more fun doing stuff with other people too. 

And you don’t know what’s behind that other side. Again, the abundance mindset leads to more abundance leads to more abundance.

That’s actually a bit that goes back to what your, those three passages you mentioned.  I mean, you’ve told me before you, you guys run your business on biblical principles because you believe. But also cause they make a lot of sense from a business perspective. 

If God really did create the world, um, and he set the rules, then following his rules does make some sort of, uh, objective sense too. 

Yeah, absolutely. Well, my man, thank you so much for your time. So I hope to see you soon.  

Same to you. Maybe back here in Michigan someday. We’ll see. 

Sounds good. I think we’ve got the crew coming up in July. So 

yes, yes, sir. 

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Living The Dream series – William Cason – S1 E9

The Living the Dream series is about giving you inspiration and William Cason, President of The Cason Group, is a very inspiring guy. Our topic today is doing business with an abundant mindset and especially having the courage to engage in partnerships. We discuss our friendship and William’s journey at The Cason Group which saw him becoming President at 30 years of age. Then we get into our specific partnership and how we overcame the fear, doubt and worry to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. Finally, Wlliam discusses what fuels him and his work which is his Christian faith. It is so engrained in him and in The Cason Group culture and it really has been the bedrock for them to build such an impressive operation. So there’s a little bit for everyone in this podcast and we really think you’ll come away inspired.

Employee Navigator Updates with Kyle Reese! – S1 E8

Kyle Reese, VP of Sales and Partnerships at Employee Navigator, joins Dominic to discuss the great migration! Kyle discusses the key components Navigator is working to transition from EASE to Navigator, where Navigator is right now in the process with the migration and what EASE agents should be considering over the course of the next year with their cases.

As always if you have questions about how this affects your current groups with BPI or with EASE in general, you can contact Dominic@benefitprofilesinc.com or tammy@benefitprofilesinc.com.

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Dominic Siciliano

President, Agent Consultant

Over his 18 years in the benefits business Dominic has worked in the Medicare Advantage, small group Blue Cross medical, ancillary GA and large group benefit admin space here in Michigan. His parents and biggest influences, Patricia Siciliano and John McClain, instilled in him the key pillar to GA benefits business—relationships with agents and carriers. Dominic has served as the NABIP West Michigan President twice. He’s run the golf outing several years going and he served at the Legislative Co Chair for the State Board during the passing of PPACA. His Friday morning classes, Employee Benefits 101, is highly regarded in the industry as a practical, real world introduction to the business for new folks. In short, he is passionate about our business and about seeing agents succeed. 

Dominic loves golf and basketball but as he gets older, golf more. He’s a Western grad but a State fan! He most enjoys spending time with wife Janelle and four children outdoors and Up North! From the very early days of BPI when it was just him and Lena in a tiny little office, he hasn’t changed, it’s about getting the job done for agents.