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Meet Barry Cohn of Really Great Employee Benefits in Woodland Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Barry Cohn.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My wife, Renee Cohn, worked for Blue Cross for 16 years and interfaced with over 500 agents in the San Fernando Valley. She came to me and said “My agents are not really helping their clients. I think there’s a better way and I want to leave Blue Cross and start my own employee benefits practice. She started the company in 1997 and after 3 years had developed 20 employee benefit clients.

I spent 25 years in corporate middle-market banking and it was time for a change. She suggested I join her and we build the company. Really great employee benefits has now evolved into an HR and employee benefit consulting firm working with over 300 companies. We also work with 1000 Medicare clients as well as 900 individual clients.

When I join Renee 18 years ago she had a part-time assistant and now we have 18 employees. If you ask anybody in our company what we do for a living they will state “we help people.”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Growing the business is never a smooth road and we make mistakes as everyone does. Our 1st challenge was 9/11. After 9/11 companies did not want to make any decisions do any employee benefit planning or make changes for over 6 months. My original business plan and cash flow projection became challenged with this unexpected.

As we have grown we’ve had to expand offices 3 times expand our IT capabilities as well as higher and grow our staff.

If everything went smoothly and life was wonderful there would be no challenges and it would be pretty boring. We started out as a health insurance agency it is now evolved into an HR and employee benefits consulting firm helping clients with HR, technology, labor law compliance, as well as employee benefits.

Please tell us about Really Great Employee Benefits.
Really Great Employee Benefits helps companies become Employers of Choice which means they can recruit and retain employees with appealing benefits as well as a good and work environment. RGEB helps employers maximize their return on their HR investment and meet their goals and objectives.

RGEB also helps clients stay in compliance with city, county, state and federal labor laws as well as compliance with the Affordable Care Act, ERISA and HIPAA.

We leverage technology and our clients can get rid of their HR paperwork and keep everything in the cloud however at all times RGEB keeps the HUMAN in human resources!

We are most proud of the fact that we retain 98% of our clients annually. If we lose a client it is usually because they have been acquired, merged, retired or gone out of business.

What sets us apart from other companies in our space is that we conduct an HR and employee benefit assessment rather than asking the client when the renewal date is encoding health plans.

After the assessment we create an alignment plan (improvement plan) so that the company can create a better experience for their employees as well as comply with labor laws.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over again I’m not sure I would do anything differently except recognize that I am an optimistic planner and make sure that I always have plan A B & C.

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