Entrepreneur at Heart – Burman Clark

Burman Clark started his business not once, but twice.

“I launched Clark Consulting Group in 1992 so I could work directly with clients  to solve insurance problems,” explained Clark, a graduate of Randolph Macon College, a Registered Health Underwriter, a Certified Senior Advisor, and an independent insurance broker for 20 years. “As a sales representative, I was only calling on brokers.”

Burman Clark, founder of Muneris For eight years, he grew the business to over 100 clients and 7 employees when BB&T approached him with an opportunity to sell. At  BB&T, Clark found himself once again getting further away from customers. In 2006, he embarked on his second business venture, Muneris, Latin for "to serve." 

Today, the Roanoke, Virginia-based, five-person practice provides employee benefits, individual life, disability, medical, and senior products to 85 businesses, 140 individuals and 210 retirees.

“This time, I understood the process, enabling faster growth,” he said. His team accomplished in three years what took five years to do previously, experiencing an average growth of 20-25% each year. “I also spent more time educating my employees, getting their buy-in as ambassadors, and empowering them to serve customers and help grow the business.”

His business philosophy comes from two authors. He embraces the advice of Jim Collins in Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don't to get the right people on board in the right seats. “Finding the right people, motivating them, and keeping them focused on the customer has been my greatest challenge.”  Clark also follows Bob Farrell’s customer service principles from Give'em the Pickle!, encouraging people to go the extra mile and to put a personal stamp on customer service.

Clark’s personal stamp? “We educate employers about the changing world of healthcare, and educate employees on how to maximize their insurance coverage.”

In spite of an economic recession, the impact of proposed healthcare reforms, and the fact that as underwriting performances have improved, risk has been priced higher and triggered soft market conditions for the industry, Muneris remains focused on growth.  The increasing aging population is working in Clark’s favor and was 40% of his 2009 revenue.

“We chose to become experts at helping seniors,” said Clark. “That side of our business is growing exponentially from referrals. In hindsight, I wish I focused on this area 10 years ago.”

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Christina Motley is an award-winning marketing and communications professional, writer and consultant. You're invited to follow her on Twitter @christinamotley.

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Comments

  1. Perhaps this is a sign that success will be in the future for my business ventures. Lessons learned now will pay off in dividends in the future.

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