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Mployer Advisor applying old business model to a new industry sector

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

“This is not a new business model, just a new industry employing it,” says Brian Freeman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mployer Advisor. The 10-year veteran of HCA Healthcare founded the marketplace in June 2019 as a tool to help employers evaluate insurance brokers and has grown the start-up to 25 employees with about one-half in Nashville.

That rapid success earned Mployer Advisor the designation of “Technology Start-Up Company of the Year” during the Greater Nashville Technology Council’s 13th annual awards event in February 2022 and has also led to two seed rounds ahead of a soon-to-open Series A.

For Freeman, a Baton Rouge native and Tulane University graduate, the genesis for Mployer Advisor was based on his time at HCA where he and a team worked to stand up a team of insurance brokers across the country. “The impetus was the need for greater transparency,” so employers could search for, evaluate, and select the appropriate broker to handle their business.

Describing Mployer as a two-sided marketplace, similar to Trip Advisor or Zillow, Freeman adds, “This (type of service) exists pretty much everywhere; insurance has lagged other sectors. There’s not a Kelley Blue Book.”

So, one might say that Mployer Advisor is disrupting an industry, and Freeman would not disagree. In fact, he declares on its website that “we believe that employers deserve to find the best benefits and insurance plans to meet their company’s unique needs at a competitive price. By bringing together best-in-class data, thousands of broker customer reviews, and the industry’s first brokerage rating – the M Score – our team delivers unparalleled transparency to employers and recognizes top brokers across the nation. Our goal is for every employer to find the best insurance broker or consultant to match their unique needs–empowering employer choice through data-driven transparency and industry-leading tools is just the first step.”

As readers might expect, Mployer Advisor utilizes proprietary analytics to give employers access to more than: (1) 84,000 data-driven benefit design data points to use in negotiating and planning; (2) 15,000 detailed brokerage profiles; and (3) 25,000 peer employer reviews of brokers.

These analytics, combined with the industry’s first localized benefit plan design and cost benchmark reporting for employers, have resulted in an exponential increase in those utilizing the platform to evaluate and connect with top insurance brokers and consultants.

That growth was also recognized when Nashville-based Martin Ventures made its second seed investment in Mployer in less than a year. Armed with the additional $1.6 million from Martin Ventures and others, Freeman says the start-up will be able to deploy new features on its platform, hire additional leadership roles and expand its insurance broker and carrier network.

“We are moving to a Series A soon,” Freeman adds. Year-over-year revenue has grown by 400 percent, and 10,000 employers use the platform each month. Funding from the Series A will allow Mployer Advisor to scale up to support 100,000 users a month.

Information about brokers in more than 200 locations is available on the platform. Tennessee cities include Brentwood, Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville.

Just like the business model of Trip Advisor and Zillow, customers – employers in the case of Mployer Advisor– can use the site for free; top-rated brokers pay a fee to be listed, and nine of the top 12 firms in the country have chosen to do so. That fee, however, cannot influence the M Score, which is a quantitative rating of each brokerage based on historical data to gauge the range of business experience an individual brokerage has. How the M Score is calculated and how a broker can improve it are described here.

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