Following the recent announcement that Mehb Khoja, President of MRM, was named Chief Actuary of BCS, we asked him to share some insights into his typical day, his career journey, and how the cultures of the two companies compare.
Q: As President of MRM, and Chief Actuary of BCS, what does a typical day look like for you?
A: A lot of meetings but right now we are focused on a new product meant for very large employers so most of my day goes towards cultivating distribution of the product through various actuarial connections that I personally have as well as what we have between BCS and MRM.
Q: Tell us about your career journey.
A: I’ve been working in employee benefits since 2000 and I started my career on the pension-actuarial side working for Mercer. Didn’t really like it so I moved over to healthcare working for an insurance start-up called Destiny Health. Destiny was going through a change in business plans and I was looking for more stability, so I went back to Mercer but this time working in healthcare. I started off by doing actuarial work for jumbo and mid-sized employers. The mid-sized employers needed stop loss coverage, so I learned about that product. I just kept going deeper on the topic and eventually earned a leadership role within Mercer’s stop loss center of excellence. I eventually moved on to Milliman and then Medical Risk Managers. I like to think that I got my “major” in stop loss at Mercer, my “masters” at Milliman and MRM and now I’m working on my “dissertation” at BCS.
Q: How do the cultures at BCS and MRM compare?
A: The cultural fit was evident right away. Both companies are small, and everyone knows everyone. The leaders walk the halls and work hand in hand with each other – there are no ivory towers at MRM or BCS. Even though we’re now acquired and sit separate from BCS, the combined entity is still considered a small employer. Through various cross training and HR/cultural programs our teams are getting to know each other and working closer together.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in your new role as Chief Actuary of BCS?
A: I really like idea of product development. When you’re on the consulting side, it is very easy to tell a carrier how they should be doing things or what type of products they should create. Even from the MRM perspective, we were limited on our ability to create new products and be a change agent. With BCS, we can foster new ideas, develop the products, and take them to market. That’s the part of the job that has me most excited.
Q: How would you describe the current state of the Employer Stop Loss market?
A: The stop loss market has grown significantly in premium since the ACA was fully implemented in 2014. Many new carriers and reinsurers have joined into the market. Competition is tough but we are looking to carve out our niche and bring some new solutions to the market. Stop loss can be boring in that the product hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years but we’re hoping to buck that trend.
Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? A: Hard to pick one, but would definitely choose from either Chicago-style deep dish pizza (beef and giardiniera) or a gyro (onions, tomatoes, and giardiniera). Basically, put giardiniera on it and I will be a happy camper.