Success is No Accident for ProBenefits
Some people know from an early age that they will one day run their own business. Others fall into it by chance. Gary Knight, president of ProBenefits, counts himself among those who “accidentally” came to own a business.
History of ProBenefits
In 1994, fresh out of college and looking for a job, Gary approached the original owner of ProBenefits, who attended the same church. The owner agreed to give him a shot, and it turned into a classic case of being in the right place at the right time. Over the next dozen years, Gary held many different positions within the company, allowing him to develop his leadership skills while gaining a thorough knowledge of the healthcare benefits TPA industry. When the original owner died in 2007, Gary bought the company and has continued growing the firm ever since.
A DataPath client for more than 25 years, ProBenefits specializes in third-party administration and compliance services for health and welfare benefit plans. The company’s technical expertise, user-friendly technology and high-touch customer service provide the foundation for rewarding relationships with its 1,500+ clients.
The Challenges of Being a TPA
When asked to share his thoughts on the challenges and rewards of operating a TPA business in today’s increasingly complex healthcare benefits market, Gary responded:
Healthcare administration is indeed a challenging field, and sometimes it seems like all we do is overcome hurdles. We didn’t necessarily create them, but we are often tasked with fixing them. I think it could be said for all of us still in this business that the last eight to ten years have given us a good bit of market uncertainty. Yet, by remaining adaptable and continuing to provide needed solutions to our clients, we have continued to grow and thrive.
Perhaps I’m biased in my viewpoint, but the TPA is often the one that “gets it” when piecing together the various benefit plans. Understanding it and providing effective solutions can be a challenge, but I’d like to think we’ve been up to the challenge and will remain so.
You hear a lot about innovation in the rapidly changing healthcare environment, and there’s certainly a need for that. At the same time, we operate in a highly-regulated industry, and we always need to make sure we dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s” for our clients.
Partnership with DataPath
Having a partner in DataPath has also played an important role in our growth and in our ability to serve our clients. When I tell folks about DataPath, I say that while there are others out there that have good platforms and solutions, the strength and core of DataPath lives with its people. In our business, so much of what we do is transactional. Make no mistake, the software has to work, but I’m equally concerned with the relational aspect, and this is where DataPath truly excels.
People sometimes ask me where I get the inspiration to work hard at continuing to improve ProBenefits. I find it in various places, so for me to single out one individual would be tough. My faith is an important part of who I am, and I’m continually amazed at the people God has put in my path that provide inspiration. I just need to do a better job of recognizing them when they come along!
Developing a Company Culture
What advice would I give to other professionals in my position? I would say get clear on what you want your company’s culture to look like, and role model the behaviors you want your employees to live by. Never sacrifice your organizational values for short-term business gains.
I don’t necessarily claim to be an innovator, but I do contend that our team at ProBenefits wasn’t born by chance. We have grown the business by attracting the kind of people who insist on doing things right, which is an important skill to have in our business. Each of us brings a specific expertise that contributes to our organizational brain power — from legal to analytical to client relations.
I also believe in the old adage that “all work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” So when I’m on the road or attending a business conference, I usually make an effort to attend a sporting event as part of the trip. I’m a huge sports fan, and I find that taking in a ballgame helps me unwind from the stresses of the day.
As Gary approaches his 25th anniversary with ProBenefits (10 as president and owner), DataPath applauds his ongoing commitment to serving his clients and his community. Throughout our long relationship with the company, Gary and his team have always conducted themselves with integrity and professionalism. We are proud to have ProBenefits as a client.