MBA VEBA — A Rewarding Commitment

by John L. Hunt, CLU
President, MBA VEBA Insurance Services

It is mid-November, and I am far down the rabbit hole of the January employee benefit renewal cycle. There are 18 new email messages in the in-box by 8:30 am, two virtual video meetings and four call reminders on the calendar. Five people need answers based on information that must come from somewhere else. I love it and hate it at the same time, but it is a process I have learned through 40 years of repetition. It also is one of the most rewarding aspects of my career — made poignant by the realization that this is the last renewal season for me. 

Max Cook and MBA gave me the opportunity to join this organization eight years ago, and it seems my curious set of work experiences has offered a good match for the needs of the MBA VEBA Trust. Now, as I realize that I really am retiring at the end of the year, the true meaning of the “opportunity” becomes apparent. What started as a good, challenging job has proven to be the thing we all wish for in our work — a chance to make a meaningful contribution to the welfare of others and to see the result of our efforts. Working with MBA finally explained how the meaning of service can be a concrete deliverable and that leadership includes empathy. I am privileged to work with a team of professional, outright good people who I believe share common goals — and I understand this can be a rarity in some businesses.

This renewal season, we are dealing with the hard problems of increased costs, pandemic restrictions and the introduction of a new payment mechanism in our VEBA plans. In a constantly evolving reality, we strive to be good communicators and, more importantly, good stewards of the trust offered by our clients and covered enrollees. This means there is no coasting to yearend, and the importance of enabling a smooth transition to my successor sits at the top of my “to do” list. I also am aware there will be some things left undone, and this must be the way it always works. After all, successors also must have “to do” lists.

Benefits, in their broad range of types and sizes, are personal in nature. Those of us responsible for delivering such things to people we value as peers and friends must always remember this. For me, seeing the positive impacts that can be made at this personal level has made my time with MBA a most rewarding commitment. Thank you. 

The Missouri Banker
Winter 2020