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Category: Blog

28 May 2020

BCS Provides $20,000 to Oak Brook Community in Partnership with Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago

BCS Financial is committed to supporting our customers and our communities, now more than ever.

Through the assistance of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, BCS has received a $20,000 grant that will allow us to amplify our support of the following local non-profit organizations:

  • DuPage Pads: DuPage Pads provides interim and permanent housing and support services to end homelessness
  • DuPage Senior Citizens Council: DuPage Senior Citizens Council initiates, delivers, monitors, and coordinates services, such as Meals on Wheels, that promote the ability of older persons to live their lives in dignity

BCS has also contributed to the Oakbrook Area Coronavirus Relief Fund via the Oakbrook Chamber of Commerce.

We are proud to participate in this initiative with Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, and to continue to support our community during this time of need. #BCSCares

18 May 2020

Meet the Team – Underwriting

This month, Erica Pickens, Senior Underwriter, describes her team’s role at BCS, what she likes about her job, and more.

Q: Describe you/your team’s role at BCS.

A: Our main role is to evaluate each group risk and ensure that the risks are appropriate and consistent with underwriting guidelines and state regulations. We also review large or ongoing claim concerns and adjust rates appropriately. We are actively involved with testing new rating, underwriting and front-end systems and analyzing statistical data. We work with all internal departments to continue to manage our risk.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: I really enjoy being able to use my problem-solving skills.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: Be able to make sound financial and risk assessments, advanced analytical skills, problem-solving skills, the ability to multi-task and collaborate.

Q: How long have you been with the company? What’s kept you at BCS?

A: I have been with BCS for 12 years and have really valued being able to mix up my time on a variety of different projects. This includes being a member of our Culture Team and the leader of the Event Planning Team (EPal).

Q: What’s your idea of the perfect day?

A: My perfect day is hanging out with my daughter.

27 Apr 2020

Meet the Team – Legal

Wendy Present, Associate Counsel, gives us insights to her job in Legal and her unique journey with BCS.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?

A: One of the things I like about my job is that there is no “typical” day. My primary responsibilities involve contract drafting, review, and negotiation. However, I review such a wide range of contracts that every day brings a new challenge and opportunity for learning.

Q: Tell us about a project you are working on.

A: I am currently working, along with other team members, to roll out a new automated contract management system and to ensure that the new system will produce enhanced efficiency and improved processes for our contract creation, review, approval, execution, and storage. I am proud to take part in a project that is so innovative and impactful to our organization.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: In addition to a law degree, law license, and a specialization in contract law, the person serving in this role needs to possess solid organization and time management skills in order to manage competing priorities, strong interpersonal and communication skills, and great attention to detail.

Q: How long have you been with the company?

A: I have had an interesting and unique journey with BCS. I first began working for BCS right out of law school. Although my career and personal life took me in different directions for a time, I happily returned to BCS last year! My combined years of service now total about 7 ½ years. What drew me to BCS initially is what drew me back here again—the culture and the people. It is a collaborative, professional, and team-oriented group of people who truly seem to care about the work we do, our customers, and each other.

Q: Where is your favorite place in the world?

A: My favorite place in the world is wherever my family is (even better if my family happens to be in Santorini, Greece, or Lanai’, Hawaii).

Q: What is one thing on your bucket list?

A: I would love to experience a safari in Africa one day.

16 Mar 2020
Policy Issuance Analyst

Meet the Team – Service

Hear from Jonathan Jimenez about his Compliance Analyst role, and the skills needed to succeed at BCS.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?
A: On Mondays I work from home in my pajamas so that’s nice. Besides that though, everyday consists of issuing policies, whether it be Limited Benefits (LB), Accident Indemnity (AI), Hospital Indemnity (HI), and/or Critical Illness (CI)  products. I’ve recently taken on the mantle of CODE Commander, so it’s been interesting steering BCS into a new way to handle our regulatory obligations. Beyond that, I take on whatever is asked of me by my teammates, or the Wellness Committee.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?
A: Focus, Memory, and Flexibility. I deal with lots of repetitive tasks that can vary wildly from group to group and product to product, so focus and memory go hand in hand with issuing policies. Having a good memory and remaining focused on the task at hand is imperative to maintaining a low-error, high volume output. Flexibility has come into play more recently now that I’m under the Operations & Services department; since we all share in each other workloads, we have to be prepared to step in when needed. In the past, I was only exposed to issuing Limited Benefit policies; now I am included in many differing projects, which I enjoy. You never know what the day will bring so you must stay ready for the unexpected.

Q: Describe your department in three words.
A: (1) Fluid – because we are constantly reshaping ourselves to fit the needs of the company. (2) Resolute – despite the challenges we face, we remain committed to getting the job done, and done with precision. (3) Funny – we all have a good sense of humor, and we aren’t afraid to share our lives with one another, even the embarrassing moments (who accidentally cuts their eyeball with a toothbrush?!).

Q: What’s the biggest risk you have taken?
A: Showing my wife Sasha my Pokemon card collection way too early in our relationship.

Q: In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, would you rather find a pot of gold or find a four-leaf clover that will bring you good luck?
A: Right in front of my house, I found two 4-leaf clovers in a span of 10 minutes. I got zero luck from them. So definitely the pot of gold. Not sure how I’d explain it to my bank or the IRS, but I’m willing to cross that bridge when I get there.

12 Mar 2020
BCS Financial Icon

BCS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

A MESSAGE TO PLAN EXECUTIVES AND PARTNERS

Like most organizations, BCS is actively monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency as it begins to affect many communities worldwide. Since this is a fluid situation with new information emerging very quickly, we have been actively reviewing and fortifying our business continuity plans to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible to our operations should the situation escalate into something more severe.

The core intent of this message is to share with you how BCS is proactively responding to this current situation and any potential impact is has on our business with you.

• We have three guiding principles in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. 1) Continue to serve BCS’s insureds and customers with highest standards possible within the terms and conditions of their policies and contracts, 2) providing our customers timely and accurate information about their available benefits under their policies and contracts, and 3) keep BCS employees safe.

• We intend to fully honor the terms of the Excess of Loss reinsurance contracts. Our Excess Reinsurance program does not contain an exclusion for pandemics or epidemics such as COVID-19. Irregular regional and global epidemics like the Coronavirus are typically anticipated by the reinsurance markets and, in almost all incidents, are covered in traditional life and health reinsurance policies.

• We are actively managing our Stop Loss and Limited Benefit lines of business. “First dollar” health insurance business could be significantly impacted from a frequency standpoint. Our Stop Loss and Limited Benefit lines of business may be affected on an aggregate claim basis if the spread of the virus in the US increases in speed and frequency. At this time, we don’t believe the cost of treatment for otherwise healthy members is a sufficient cause of concern.

• We are closely monitoring our exposures in International Healthcare and Travel Insurance lines of business. We are working closely with our partners in these industries to strategically prepare for all possible outcomes which may impact premium and/or claims activity for our organization, all the while continuing to fulfill coverage obligations for our insured customers.

• We are fully remote-work enabled so our business continuity is at minimal risk. In recent years, we’ve moved infrastructure services to the cloud, established an appropriate work-from-home policy, and have a unified communication system, allowing us to interact with each other and our customers, whether working at home or in the office. Our cyber security systems and protocols remain robust, as we have adopted two-factor authentication, VPNs, and other security measures to protect remote workers’ connections. Our IT helpdesk procedures can scale to handle sudden increases in requests for remote working and credential renewals.

As this situation continues to unfold, we will continue to share any relevant information as it pertains to our business with your organization. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact BCS at info@bcsf.com.

BCS is here for you.

14 Feb 2020
Tim Medema

Meet the Team – Enterprise Risk Management

This month, we feature Assistant Vice President, Risk Management, Tim Medema. Read on for a day-in-the-life of the Enterprise Risk Management team.

Q: Describe your/your team’s role at BCS.

A: The Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) team is responsible for performing the risk assessment for BCS, monitoring the results and controls to ensure that the Company is prepared for each new challenge. We are also responsible for the company’s Quality Assurance (QA) / Internal Audit (IA) functions. In our QA/IA role we primarily monitor Compliance, Claims, Underwriting and Policy Administration activities at our outside business partners to provide support and insight to strengthen their operations. The ERM team also has many other responsibilities including several of our annual external audits, providing support in due diligence activities, and vendor management.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you? 

A: Different – No day is the same because we interact with all functional areas within BCS. As you can imagine, the diverse range of responsibilities require quick thinking, collaboration, and an opportunity to make a difference.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: The fact that each day is truly different. I have a team of three direct reports who are dedicated, intelligent, and hard-working.  Because the team and I interact with so many people within BCS, we are not pigeon-holed and never get bored.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: Good written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, dedication, strong subject matter knowledge and a sense of humor.

Q: Describe your department in three words.

A: Dedicated, cohesive and flexible.

Q: You assess risk for a living. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? 

A: I am generally a risk-averse person and while I may be on the slightly wild side of conservative, I would have to say driving up IL Rte. 83 to and from work each day is more that enough risk for me.

27 Jan 2020

Meet the Team – Corporate Services

We are kicking off 2020 with a look into our Corporate Services Department. For many, Corporate Services Assistant, Carmen Maldonado is the first person they speak with when calling or coming into our office.

Q: Describe your/your team’s role at BCS.

A: My team’s role at BCS is to deliver the best service for all the company’s internal needs. This includes managing the front desk, answering phones, greeting guests, fulfilling print requests, ordering supplies, and so much more.

Q: Tell us about something new you are working on? 

A: To better assist my team members with print job orders I am currently training on how to run our printer/copier machine.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: The environment at the front desk can change from being extremely busy with guests checking in, incoming calls, lunch orders being delivered to being completely quiet. Skills I would say are most needed for my position in order to succeed would be to master the art of multitasking.

Q: How long have you been with BCS?

A: I have been at BCS for 6 years. What keeps me here is the inspiration I receive from my Supervisor Kevin Mitchell who encourages me to strengthen my skills and build confidence in my position.

Q: Did you make a New Years resolution?

A: My New Year’s resolution is start doing yoga.

Q: In your role, you wear a lot of different hats. What is your best advice for balancing a multitude of tasks? 

A: My best advice for my role is to have a positive and confident attitude. Being the face of the company is an important role to have which is why it is critical to greet everyone, not just outside guests, with a smile!

06 Jan 2020
Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey Joins BCS Financial as Senior Vice President, Sales and Market Development

Bailey responsible for developing and executing growth strategies at BCS

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill., January 6, 2020– BCS Financial, an insurance and financial services corporation, announces that Chris Bailey has joined the company as Senior Vice President of Sales and Market Development, effective January 6. In this role, Bailey will be responsible for developing and executing growth strategies that support the revenue and margin goals for all organization’s customer segments, products, and channels.

“I am thrilled to be joining BCS at a time when its product portfolio and value proposition for its customers is growing,” said Bailey. “I look forward to providing BCS with valuable new resources for expanding its product footprint and bringing more solutions to the marketplace.”

“Chris brings great energy and experience to our sales team and will solidify our support and commitment to Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans,” said Peter Costello, President and Chief Executive Officer of BCS Financial. “With his help, we will be able to do more for our customers.”

Prior to joining BCS, Bailey served as Vice President, Revenue Office at Cambia Health Solutions, parent to Regence Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield health plans, where he led national initiatives for its health plans, and drove product enhancements, capabilities, and solutions to increase client retention and revenue growth. Chris also served on the Consortium Health Plans Board of Directors as a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Blue Value Committee, whose mission is to enhance its value proposition in the eyes of consultants and brokers on cost of care and discount position.

Chris earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Alfred University and is a licensed Life and Health Insurance producer in multiple states.

About BCS Financial Corporation

BCS Financial Corporation has more than 70 years of experience delivering a wide-range of insurance and financial solutions for Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations nationwide. Through its subsidiaries, BCS Insurance Company and 4 Ever Life Insurance Company, BCS is licensed in all 50 states and is rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best. BCS Financial is headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. Learn more at bcsf.com.

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For more information, please contact Nathan Post at 630.472.7860.

10 Dec 2019
BCS Financial Icon

BCS Financial First to Offer Group Critical Illness Product With Optional Rider for Four Severe Mental Health Crises

First-of-its-kind, EssentialCare Critical Illness enables employers and brokers to provide employees and consumers with added financial protection in the event of a severe mental health crisis.

In April 2019, BCS Financial Corporation rolled out a groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind critical illness product with an optional rider to provide coverage for four severe mental health crises including severe major depressive disorder, severe bipolar I disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.

Employers are increasingly recognizing the impact mental health has on their employees, including absenteeism, significantly reduced productivity, and increased health care and disability costs. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 19.1 percent of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2018 (47.6 million people) while nearly five percent of all Americans (11.4 million people) experienced a severe mental illness.

“Almost 80 percent of employers consider mental health important to their overall strategy and are looking to brokers to help them support physical, mental, and financial wellness in the workplace,” explains Bruce Bahn, BCS vice president, Product. “EssentialCare Critical Illness is currently available to large group employers and pairs well with a major medical health plan. It is sold through benefit brokers and specialists.”

The product provides fixed payments in the event of a covered diagnosis. The payments, which range from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the policy, are made directly to the insured to use how they see fit – whether it’s to pay for deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, inpatient/outpatient treatment, or anything else they may need to recover.

In addition to the groundbreaking mental health coverage, EssentialCare Group Critical Illness also provides coverage for 35 physical critical illnesses, eight childhood conditions, and a robust set of benefits that provide financial assistance for caregiver and support services that fit today’s consumer lifestyle.

EssentialCare Critical Illness has been recognized by the insurance industry as a finalist for the 2019 Insurance Nexus “New Product of the Year” and “North American Contribution to Society” awards.

To learn more about this product and take advantage of the offering during this current open enrollment period, visit bcsf.com.

About BCS Financial Corporation (BCS)

BCS Financial Corporation has more than 70 years of experience delivering a wide-range of insurance and financial solutions for Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations nationwide. Through its subsidiaries, BCS Insurance Company and 4 Ever Life Insurance Company, BCS is licensed in all 50 states and is rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best. BCS Financial is headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. Learn more at bcsf.com.

Media Contact:
Nathan Post
​Phone: 630-472-7860

09 Dec 2019

Meet the Team – Accounting

We close out the year with a look into our Accounting department. Ami Starks, Senior Accountant, describes her team’s role at BCS, the skills someone needs to succeed, how she got started with BCS, and her favorite thing about the holidays.

Q: Describe you/your team’s role at BCS.

A: I am a Senior Accountant for BCS in the Program Accounting area. Our main role is to process reinsurance activity to outside reinsurers and inter-companies each month. These transactions and the timely settlement of balances between reinsurers are very important for BCS to ensure that we manage our net retained risk.  In addition, we are responsible to monitor all the different insurance product lines/management programs to ensure that they are running according to forecast. We analyze all the different components (gross written premium, claim activity, loss ratios, commission activity, etc.) that lead to the contribution to profit and overhead.   This work is very rewarding and challenging, and what I love the most about my job is that each product and each month is so different from each other.

Outside of accounting, I am also part of the Wellness Team. The team encourages employees to find healthy lifestyles. Some of the ways we have encouraged the company to take healthy steps was by creating a Wallyball league during lunch time, installing new vending machines with healthier snack options, bringing in massage therapists to help reduce stress, and hosting a chili cook-off.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: The two main skills needed to succeed in my role are organization and time management. By knowing what steps need to be completed first you get the most out of your time. There are a lot of tight deadlines that need to be met so if you have your work organized in the right flow, you’ll be good to go!

Q: How long have you been with the company?

A: I have been with BCS for a little over four years. I started as an accounting intern for six months, and then transitioned to a full-time employee. Since I was an intern, I feel I was able to get a “sneak-peak” of the company. With this sneak-peak I was able to see how friendly the staff was and the unique-ness of the work. These two things are what drew me to accept a full-time position.

Q: Describe your department in three words.

A: Efficient, detail-oriented, and reliable.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about the approaching holidays?

A: My favorite thing about the approaching holidays is the non-stop Christmas movies being played on the Hallmark Channel. Each movie has the same predictable love story, but I cannot get enough. I love watching!