Health Insurance Case Study

Driving Growth After Significant Change


Out with the Old, In with the New

This market leader in health and supplemental insurance sought to optimize its sales incentive program during a significant change to its commercial business unit (BU). This BU addressed the specific needs of various customer segments, including aging populations, through its dental, vision, life and disability portfolio of offerings.

In recent years, the company made a strategic decision to sunset its core offerings, an outsized portion of its business, to focus on these specialty offerings. Subsequently, the company reorganized the sub-BUs under the company’s more extensive product portfolio, which resulted in a fragmented and asynchronous sales force.

To address these challenges, this payor partnered with Alexander Group to reevaluate their overall sales compensation program and ensure alignment with their rapid, profitable growth strategic objectives. Their goal was to optimize their selling organization to focus on growth-oriented objectives, incorporate compensation best practices and drive growth via strategically aligned and incentivized behaviors.


Align Comp Philosophy, Strategy and Pay-for-Performance

Alexander Group worked closely with this market leader to clearly understand their goals, strategy, job roles and compensation philosophy, creating a framework to develop an aligned sales compensation plan.

We assessed the current compensation plan, including strategy, roles, philosophies and principles, market practices, job roles and structure as well as their future sales strategy. Project objectives and deliverables included:

Using this approach, the team developed new sales compensation plans and selected appropriate metrics by job to configure and administer the plan rapidly.

Key Findings

Address the Past to Move Forward

We worked with this leader to address previous corporate changes that impacted their current and future-state compensation plan.

Variance in market position.

Variance in market penetration and position created inherent differences in representative opportunity. Not all reps had the same access to products due to customer specifics within the specialty insurance market. These variances created confusion when evaluating rep opportunity and relative performance and contributed to unequal opportunity.

Redefining top performers.

Sales rep equity was a critical factor in aligning incentives with corporate strategy. Representative and territory assignments led to differing available opportunities, resulting in dissimilar production expectations. Market position and market opportunity variances created confusion around “true performance” when comparing sales reps.

The company needed to redefine Top Performer requirements. Leaders faced the dilemma of two options. Are top performers the reps who bring in the:

  • Most business relative to goal (cost of labor approach)?


  • Largest volume of business, regardless of goal (cost of sale approach)?

The company would need to balance its top performer definition, rep and territory assignment and an updated compensation plan design to ensure its growth objectives.

Change management.

The company needed to settle the confusion and create more stability. Change management would assist in overcoming significant and regular organizational changes in recent years while ensuring the company could successfully deploy its future-state compensation design.

Data challenges.

Shortcomings in the legacy systems and midyear incentive plan changes during organizational change created tracking and data integrity challenges, making plan evaluation difficult. The company needed to overcome significant data challenges to design its future-state comp plan and accurately track performance.

Recommendations & Outcomes

Provide Incentives and Simplicity

Alexander Group provided four pragmatic solutions that led to successful implementation of their strategic initiatives. These solutions not only addressed the immediate concerns but also laid a strong foundation for the company’s future growth and success.

Here are the four recommendations that were introduced:

Improve customer retention with account manager incentives.

Removing a core offering created uncertainty with their clients, impacting the company’s ability to be a long-term partner with their remaining Group Specialty products. The account manager (AM) played a crucial role in the client relationship, which required the company to restore functionality to AM incentive plans.

We adjusted AM goals to focus on 100% QA to create more upside while raising thresholds for AM performance. These thresholds would align with strategic budgeting and forecasting while requiring AMs to achieve a higher retention percentage before receiving incentive payouts.

Provide top-performer incentives.

Leadership wanted to avoid adjusting territories but asked for assistance addressing the variance in territory size and opportunities via the compensation plan. We designed a plan incorporating a tiered commission rate, rewarding reps for sales volume (those who sell the most) and adding quarterly and annual bonuses to reward reps for relative performance to a goal (reward reps with smaller opportunities who performed above the goal).

Maintain continuity during change.

The company grappled with extensive structural change, including sales plans and roles that regularly changed. We maintained the existing job segmentation and job platforms while keeping engagement rules between sales and retention reps. This recommendation provided consistency while also supporting industry best practices.

Drive new product sales.

The company was set to launch two new products, long-term and short-term life insurance policies. The new compensation plan needed to drive new product sales while keeping existing plans simple.

As a result, we opted to indirectly incentivize these new products by adding credit modifiers for multiple product deals (e.g., sell 4 products instead of 3 and receive a higher multiplier).

This approach supported objectives that included:

  • Applying a single program for all reps
  • Accounting for variances in product availability across markets since new products were not sold or available in all markets
  • Simplifying sales comp plan implementation by avoiding multiple rates per product or adding SPIFFs, which would have been challenging to execute


The client faced several challenges in implementing their strategic initiatives, such as customer retention, top-performer incentives, continuity and new product sales. Alexander Group helped them overcome these challenges by providing four pragmatic solutions that aligned with their goals and vision. By following these recommendations, the client was able to achieve growth and success in their market, while also enhancing their sales force effectiveness and motivation. Alexander Group is proud to partner with them and support their journey to excellence.

About Alexander Group

Alexander Group understands your revenue growth challenges. Since 1985, we’ve served more than 3,000 companies across the globe. This experience gives us not only a highly sophisticated set of best practices to grow revenue—we also have a rich repository of unique industry data that informs all our recommendations. Aligning product, marketing, operations and finance efforts behind a successful sales organization takes insight and hard work. We help the world’s leading organizations build the right revenue vision, transform their organizations and deliver results.

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