For everyone’s benefit–Brian Patten and his team streamline the benefits enrollment process for employees and employers alike. 

Twelve years ago, Brian Patten was working for an insurance vendor when he noticed a shift in the benefits market. To offset rising health care costs, employers started offering complex benefits packages with new elements such as tuition reimbursement and childcare stipends. As vendors scrambled to accommodate, Patten saw an opportunity. “The market was asking vendors to work with multiple carriers while still bringing a best-in-class solution to employees,” Patten says. “I didn’t think one carrier had them all.”

In 2008, Patten launched Brian Patten & Associates (BPA) to help employers streamline enrollment and benefits administration. Success was immediate—with 100% growth four years in a row and upwards of 75% growth in the years following. In 2019, BPA produced $52 million of new business in voluntary benefits. “That ranks us up there with top firms in the country that do what we do,” Patten says. “We’re very proud of that.”

Know The Benefits

When it comes to employee satisfaction, benefits count for a lot. They boost a base salary and demonstrate an employer’s appreciation for employees. Not surprisingly, benefits strengthen retention; one study found that employees who like their benefits programs are 75% more likely to stick around.

But a comprehensive benefits package, with its maze of deductibles and copays, can be tough to navigate. That’s where BPA steps in with what its chief of staff Evan Gerson calls white-glove concierge service. “We sit down face-to-face with individual employees, educate them on employee benefits, and help them through the open enrollment experience” Gerson explains. “When they leave the meeting, they appreciate the company and the benefits they receive.

For those who can’t meet in person or don’t have the tools needed for online enrollment, BPA’s call center offers services in Spanish and English. It’s a major relief for an HR department struggling to onboard 100 new employees at once or field questions about in-network doctors. “The call center has helped companies grow and handle acquisitions seamlessly. We free up HR workers for other things they need to tackle,” says Patten.

Today, BPA manages enrollment services for some 1,500 clients across the country— among them, hospitals, county, and city governments, and manufacturers. Despite BPA’s rise from boutique firms to regional players with a national footprint, Patten is committed to being an East Coast company. “We are very much about Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania,” he says. “Our roots are here, our families are here, and our corporate offices are here.” Four of Patten’s six children work at BPA; all are Steelers fans.

Patten credits BPA’s success to a talented team—COO Heather Bartley, Gerson, CFO Brent Calvin, enrollment director Danny Harris, and Nathan, Joshua, Luke, and Nick Patten are among BPA’s 31 employees in Pittsburgh, with another 300 certified benefits counselors scattered across the country.

“We don’t have any magic formula,” Patten says. “It’s the people that make BPA go.”