And with estimates that three out of four American families will at some point be affected by cancer, Howard Lewis, founder, president and CEO of Family Heritage Life, a supplemental health insurance company, warns his clients not to underestimate the limits of some health care policies.
With rising premiums, higher deductibles and less coverage available in health insurance policies, "there has been an increased awareness of supplemental insurance," Lewis says.
That, in part, explains the growth of his company. Family Heritage Life has grown to more than $150 million in assets and will collect approximately $500 million in premiums based on sales of its first 13 years.
"We are a 14-year, overnight success," says Lewis.
Slow and steady has won the race for Lewis, who believes in building his business one policy at a time.
"Nothing happens until someone sells something," he says.
Agents sell directly, as well as cross-market with trade associations, and small and medium-sized businesses.
"It's a reality of consumer confidence," says Lewis. "Americans are sensitive to buying from sources they have an affinity to, like buying clubs, associations and such."
Lewis believes the secret to success is not only understanding his customer but also being in tune with his employees. In fact, that company motto is, "We build people; people build our company."
"Everyone in the company has an equity position," says Lewis. "In the field offices and at our home office, everyone has the opportunity to earn stock options."
Since the company sells supplemental insurance including cancer, intensive care and accident insurance, its work brings the employees face-to-face with the devastating effects of disease. So Lewis has made it his mission to give back to the community.
To date, his company has donated more than $500,000 to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Family Heritage's charity of choice. It also sponsors monthly charitable drives.
It all goes with Lewis' philosophy of helping those in need, and he does that for his customers, employees and others.
"We all feel that we provide a good service, and that what we do really matters," says Lewis. "We are there when people need us." How to reach: Family Heritage Life: (216) 520-2800 or www.heritagelife.com