John M. Word III, CLU, RHU, REBC, is renowned for transforming the California insurance broker's role in the small group health benefits marketplace through his pioneering technological and marketing advances since 1972.Word's belief that benefits administration and underwriting need to be simplified and streamlined for all consumers underscores his continued effort today to find the next solution, the next innovation and the next market niche for the companies' expertise. Together with Edward J. "Rusty" Brown, Jr., Word founded the Word & Brown General Agency to market and distribute health plans through California's huge brokerage community; by 1986, the company was recognized as the largest independent small group health distributor in the nation. Sensing that employers needed assistance and qualified service with Federal COBRA laws, the company launched the nation's first COBRA administration operation.In 1996, Word & Brown launched CaliforniaChoice, a groundbreaking enterprise that enables employees in small groups to select from several health plans and benefit levels within one program. By empowering consumers with true choice for their healthcare, Word created a platform that encourages health plans to compete on quality and value. A highly sought-after speaker and collaborator, Word has written numerous articles, conducted classes and delivered keynote addresses to vast audiences. Word's professional credentials include Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) and Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC) designations. He has served as President of the California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU), President of the Orange County Association of Health Underwriters (OCAHU), and Chairman of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) Leading Producers Roundtable program. Word is a graduate of William Jewel College in Liberty, Missouri.
Edward J. "Rusty" Brown, Jr. is highly respected throughout the healthcare insurance industry for establishing and delivering standards of performance and service designed to exceed all customers' expectations, and for enhancing the California health insurance brokers' ability to serve their client's needs and best interests. Brown began his career in the early 1970s as an agent for the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company in upstate New York, where he was the youngest producer to be honored with entry in the century-old company's President's Honors Club.In 1980, Brown transferred to the west coast to assume the role of Sales Manager for Hancock's Newport Beach, California office. Here, he built strong and long lasting relationships by focusing on delivering a superior level of service, and his office quickly emerged as the company's top producing employee benefits agency in the nation.In 1982, Brown launched his own local General Agency, Innovative Cost Concepts, and subsequently met retail producer John Word. Together, Word and Brown refined the technology for a revolutionary new group health quoting engine and developed a plan that quickly attracted thousands of brokers and their clients to the services they could offer. Major insurers, too, were eager to be represented on this new rate and benefit comparison platform and, by 1986, Word & Brown Insurance Administrators, Inc. had become the largest independent small group health distributor in the nation. Today, Brown is a leading force in the development and success of all of The Word & Brown Companies.
Ron Goldstein is the President and CEO of Orange, California-based CHOICE Administrators, and has been a leading architect in the creation and acceptance of group employee-choice health insurance Exchanges. He currently is responsible for a series of health insurance programs including America’s longest-standing, state-approved health insurance exchange, CaliforniaChoice.
With a background spanning more than 30 years in the health insurance industry, Goldstein began his career in 1981 with John Hancock Insurance where he rapidly ascended to a leadership position focused on the medical disability field. His next position was with Dun & Bradstreet Plan Services, a national health insurance administrator. He spent seven years there, ultimately attaining the position of Regional Vice President responsible for group and individual health products for the Western United States.
In 1990, Goldstein joined Word & Brown as Vice President of general agency operations, and annually earned the coveted National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) Golden Eagle for Management award. He was named Senior Vice President of Word & Brown's newly launched CaliforniaChoice operation in 1996. In this role, Goldstein conceptualized and designed the defined-contribution model for CaliforniaChoice, which allowed the company to emerge as the nation's foremost health insurance exchange for small and mid-size group’s healthcare benefits.
Goldstein was named President of CHOICE Administrators, a Word & Brown Company, in 2003 and added the CEO title in 2011. CHOICE Administrators is the nation’s leading developer and administrator of health insurance exchanges including CaliforniaChoice, CaliforniaChoice 51+, CONTRACTOR'S CHOICE® and Choice Builder®, the nation’s first ancillary benefits exchange.
To support the employee-choice mission of CHOICE Administrators, Goldstein has overseen the development of a number of innovative consumer-decision support tools - including cross-referenced provider and formulary guides, enrollment budget planning tools and an online enrollment engine supporting various benefit choices from multiple plans and carriers. CHOICE Administrators serves more than 10,000 employers representing more than 150,000 members.