Char­lotte Santa Cruz

Employee Benefit News - - FEATURES -

Char­lotte Santa Cruz, founder and CEO of the Santa Cruz In­sur­ance Group LLC in Bay St. Louis, Miss., about an hour’s drive out­side New Or­leans, spe­cial­izes in the vol­un­tary em­ployee ben­e­fit space and is known for her re­lent­less com­mit­ment to cus­tomers and for­mer cus­tomers alike. Her and her 35 em­ploy­ees cover a spec­trum of plans in­volv­ing health, den­tal, vi­sion, life and disability as well as var­i­ous other vol­un­tary ben­e­fits for more than 150 com­pa­nies.

Her firm is known for pro­vid­ing ex­ten­sive HR, billing and claims sup­port on the back end, where most firms rely on car­ri­ers to pro­vide this post-en­roll­ment ser­vice be­cause it’s not cost ef­fec­tive to do that ad­di­tional work. Know­ing that con­tact­ing the car­rier for ser­vice rarely solves a client’s ser­vice is­sues, Santa Cruz pro­vides this unique ser­vice at no cost to clients other than com­pen­sa­tion re­ceived from prod­ucts sold.

In 1994, she founded Ad­vanced Busi­ness Sys­tems, which han­dled elec­tronic billing for health in­sur­ance claims and un­der­went an of­fi­cial name change to Santa Cruz In­sur­ance Group LLC in 2002 af­ter adding in­sur­ance prod­ucts to her port­fo­lio.

Lead­ing up to Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina, she was man­ag­ing en­roll­ment ser­vices for 500 to 1,000 em­ploy­ees. Since then, de­spite los­ing her home and busi­ness in the storm and scram­bling to work from tem­po­rary lo­ca­tions, she has man­aged, en­rolled or ad­vised 54,000 ad­di­tional em­ploy­ees in their ben­e­fit de­ci­sions with the help of her team.

In ad­di­tion, pro­duc­tion went from mid-six fig­ures to roughly $3 mil­lion in an­nual new sales about three to four years af­ter a crip­pling ac­ci­dent that nearly claimed her life in April 2006. This pro­duc­tion surge dou­bled rev­enues as well, climb­ing steadily ev­ery year since about 2008 and mak­ing Santa Cruz one of the na­tion’s top pro­duc­ing en­roll­ment firms over the past decade.

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