Press & Interviews
Enhancing Company Benefits for a Better Employee Experience
by A. McNeil & R. Avila
Lets start with three questions: How did you develop your company benefits program? Was it built with the employee in mind, or was it to mirror what your competitors are offering? And how do you know if your benefits program is truly meeting the needs of your employees and their families? When we ask employers these questions, the answer we most often get is: “I don’t know.”
NorthBayBiz Magazine – April 7, 2021
Philanthropy: COVID-19’s Silver Lining
by Mariah Shields
While COVID-19 doesn’t conjure positive images, there is something to be said about the constructive ripple effects of this pandemic. With every emergency or natural disaster, there’s always an optimistic side to the distress. This crisis is no exception. The concept of company culture and giving back to the community is stronger than ever before—the pandemic has opened-up an entirely new conversation about what it means to be civic minded.
NorthBayBiz Magazine – February 5, 2021
Read latest interview with award-winning Arrow advisors Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila.
Thinking About Diversity
by Michael Barnes
As the current social justice movement and push for progressive policies reshape how society operates, the significance of diversity in the workplace assumes new meaning. Recruiting employees with diversity in mind is a process that is more than simply “checking a box.” It’s a decision informed by a unique cross-section of perspectives, practices and personalities sought by employers and employees alike.
NorthBayBiz Magazine – February 2021
How to Deal with Open Enrollment During COVID-19
by A. McNeil and R. Avila
There is no question the pandemic has changed the way we work, interact, and communicate with our colleagues. Some industries no longer operate in the rigid structure once thought to be “the only” way to do business.
NorthBayBiz Magazine – December 2020
North Bay Community Philanthropy Awards 2020
We’re proud to announce – Mariah Shields and Arrow Benefits Group were just awarded The Business Journal 2020 North Bay Community Philanthropy Award. As an outstanding example of corporate giving and community involvement in Sonoma, Solano, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, and Lake counties.
North Bay Business Journal – August 2020
Employee Benefit News exclusive Video interview with Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila: How technology can make or break client relationships.
“Technology is the most vital issue for benefits brokers today…a lot of people that we see are not embracing technology when clients want it.” In this Lightning Round video, McNeil and Avila — Employee Benefit Adviser’s 2019 Advisers of the Year — also discuss bilingual employee engagement and how they get over differences as business partners.
Employee Benefit News – January 2020
The Art of Attracting and Retaining Employees
by Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila
As the workforce gets younger and demographics change, companies across all industries are looking for new ways to attract and retain their labor force. In Napa and Sonoma counties, wineries and other businesses are currently competing with the cannabis and construction industries for local workers. Along with competitive wages, many companies now offer new, more meaningful benefits to their employees beyond the traditional, run-of-the-mill medical plans and benefits package.
NorthBayBiz Magazine – March 2020
Interview with Andrew McNeil & Rosario Avila
“Every company has one, whether [it’s] good or bad,” says Andrew McNeil, principal and senior benefits advisor at Arrow Benefits Group in Petaluma, which provides benefit programs for more than 1,400 employer clients in California. “If you have two people, you have a culture. How you live and work in it defines it.
NorthBayBiz – February 2020
Transparency and Health Care Consumerism
by Jordan Shields
Ask anyone who has suffered a serious injury or illness, or is living with a chronic condition necessitating continual and considerable expense, how they feel about the state of health care in the U.S. The inner workings of our health-care delivery system remain a mystery. Transparency is helpful, but like all such legislation, it spawns additional questions. For example, what does the terminology mean? Does this include any contract or cash discounts? Are there alternative therapies or procedures available, and what do they cost?
NorthBayBiz Magazine – February 2020
Benefits Influencer Podcast
Community over Competition: Brokers are Better Together w/ Andrew McNeil & Rosario Avila.
In this episode, Senior Benefits Advisors who recently won EBA’s Advisor of the Year, the first duo to receive the distinction, discuss how industry collaboration goes well beyond the walls of their agency. Andrew and Rosario candidly share some of the innovations that have helped grow Arrow Benefits.
Benefits Influencer – January 2020
Targeting the Future
by Stephanie Derammelaere
“Being informed won’t help you design a competitive benefit program. Being advised will.” That’s the mission of Arrow Benefits Group, a rapidly growing employee benefits consulting firm that has won multiple awards and become a thought leader in the industry. More importantly, it helps employers and employees navigate the world of company benefits with a flexible approach.
NorthBayBiz Magazine – October 2019
The power of two: Advisers of the Year drive innovation at their brokerage and beyond
by Caroline Hroncich
On the cover of October’s Employee Benefit Advisor Magazine
A new article and interview with award-winning Arrow advisors Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila about their groundbreaking collaborative work together – changing the way they approach and work with clients.
Employee Benefit Advisor – October 2019
Leading the Way
by Bo Kearns
Rosario Avila & Andrew McNeil interviewed for a feature in NBB Magazine:
“In the wine, construction and manufacturing industries with a high percentage of Latino workers, there’s often cultural stigma surrounding mental health, especially in group workplace settings,” said Rosario Avila, benefits advisor, Alianza Spanish Language Division. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. “Though HIPPA ensures employee confidentiality, some Spanish-speaking employees worry about filing claims. They’re afraid their employer might find out.” For employees with those concerns, Arrow offers a hotline where Spanish speakers can call with questions.
NorthBayBiz Magazine – May 2019
Andrew McNeil & Rosario Avila have just been awarded & interviewed by Employee Benefit News for their innovation in benefits technology.
The average U.S. life insurance policyholder is 74 percent underinsured. Are you among the underinsured? Advisors Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila of Arrow Benefits Group launched BenefitsTV in early January to provide this type of useful and easy-to-consume information to viewers about employee benefits and other insurance-related topics.
McNeil, a principal at Arrow Benefits Group, is the first to admit that insurance and employee benefits are generally not the most exciting topic. “The goal was to provide short snippets of information, and not to be self-serving. We’re trying to provide value, and not looking to just sell insurance,” he says. But the company is working to bring value to the insurance benefits employees carry through their employers to maximize benefits.
NorthBayBiz Magazine – April 2019
Our two top innovators in advising: Andrew McNeil & Rosario Avila are highlighted here in two articles in Employee Benefit Adviser Magazine – January & April 2019 issues – for launching the first if its kind YouTube channel – BenefitsTV! The channel brings the public short entertaining & informative videos about all things benefits.
Congratulations Mariah Shields, Principal!!
Winner NBBJ 2018 Non-Profit Leadership Awards
Notable Quote: I am extremely proud to have co-founded 100 Sonoma People Who care, 100Sonoma.org. Without grass roots board, we have engaged well over 500 community members and raised over $50,000 that has gone directly into local nonprofit organizations.
Congratulations Rosario Avila, Spanish Language Division Lead, on winning two prestigious awards!
We are celebrating her incredible work and advancement winning the EBA 2018 Top Women in Benefit Advising. Additionally, Rosario was awarded The North Bay Business Journal 2018 Latino Business Leadership Award for her innovations in the industry!
RECRUITING & RETAINING MILLENNIALS– by Andrew McNeil
The Millennial workforce is no longer something that is far away. It’s here, it’s growing, and it’s impactful. In fact, their strong ethics and values are revolutionizing the way we think about business. It’s true, the youngest of the Millennials are in their early 20s and just getting their foothold in the workforce, but long gone are the days where we can dismiss the entire generation as shiftless, screen-obsessed kids.
NorthBayBiz Magazine – November 2018
Arrow’s new Spanish Division Alianza serves Spanish-speaking employees
by Cheryl Sarfaty
Arrow Benefits Group in Petaluma has identified a need and taken action. In January, Arrow launched a Spanish language division called Alianza, which means “alliance” in English.
North Bay Business Journal – July 6, 2018
Arrow Benefits Group, The Personnel Perspective plan to open Napa office
Arrow Benefits Group Managing Partner Stephen McNeil said the combination is an “evolution of our partnership” to offer human resources and benefits under one roof. Arrow now has nine locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.
North Bay Business Journal – July 9, 2018
Arrow’s Spanish Division Lead is interviewed by NBBJ Newspaper.
by Cheryl Sarfaty
Employers whose insurance companies offer Spanish-speaking services for Hispanic and Latino employees will not only have better-informed employees, they may see reduced costs, like for workers compensation, according to area insurers.
North Bay Business Journal – July 2018
Andrew McNeil, Principal interviewed here by Employee Benefit Advisor – June 2018- about finding the right social media platforms to serve your business best. Social media is key to staying current in this day and age and strategy and thought must go into your program to get the most out of it.
Mariah Shields, Principal at Arrow Benefits Group and current President of 100 Sonoma, presents the backstory of her organization and how it helps other local non-profits, where their funding comes from to support all the help they’re providing, and shares the specifics of their upcoming event!
Click here to listen to a recording of the interview.
KSRO interviews Arrow’s Mariah Sheilds on the “100 Sonoma People Who Care” Event that supports other local non-profits
Our Spanish Division lead Rosario Avila is interviewed here by Employee Benefit Advisor Magazine for the division launch, named Alianza (alliance in English), the interview focuses on her breakthrough work in the industry translating the benefit in benefits to the Hispanic community. Using native language and a familiar vernacular the program allows clients & employees to make the most use of their benefits then previously before.
New health-benefits trends for California employers
by Cynthia Sweeney
The Business Journal asked area insurance experts about changes employers can expect in health insurance coverage in 2018…Jordan Shields: If the association is well-run there could be better rates, but historically, that has not been the case. The problem is the association has to start from zero and build underlying carriers. Also, if the larger market rates start looking better than the association rates, members will start to leave.
North Bay Business Journal – February 7, 2018
Sonoma, Napa wineries cover employee health costs at high level, report finds
by Cynthia Sweeney
When it comes to recruiting and retaining talent, one thing employers want to know is what their competition is offering employees by way of benefits.
A recent survey of wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties reveals details about what kind of health benefits wineries are offering their employees.
“It comes down to ‘what are other people doing?’” said Andrew McNeil, principal at Arrow Benefits Group in Petaluma, which conducted the benchmark report. “When we go out and meet with winery clients or prospective clients, they want to know what other wineries are doing. This report shows them where most people are and what they offer so they can compete for talent in a tight labor market, to recruit and retain talent. Then they can figure out if they need to kick it up a notch.”
North Bay Business Journal – February 8, 2018
BEING HEART SAFE – An Arrow team interview – by Bonnie Durrance
Imagine this: You’re in your office working at your desk and a coworker approaches in distress, collapsing in front of you. What would you do? Your mind would probably race: Is this a heart attack? Does anyone know CPR? Isn’t there a defibrillator somewhere? Where is it? Does it still work? Does anybody know how to use it? By now you’re shouting, “Call 9-1-1!” Every 27 seconds someone, somewhere in the U.S., is suffering a heart attack or a sudden cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
NorthBayBiz Magazine – February 2018
– Medical Insurance & Language Barriers by Rosario Avila
Tengo Seguro medico, pero no se como usarlo! Or as we say in English– I have medical insurance, but don’t know how to use it. The employee benefits world can be confusing, and providing information in an unfamiliar language only adds another obstacle, making it difficult to understand and use. With so many types of medical plans and employer arrangements, it’s no wonder Hispanic employees would rather go to a local clinic or emergency room than use the medical benefits given to them by their employers.
NorthBayBiz Magazine – January 2018
– Interview with Arrow Benefits Group Partners & Industry leaders on Balancing life/work by Judith Wilson
Andrew McNeil, principal at Arrow Benefits Group, a full-service employee benefits firm in Petaluma, got a picture of what happy, fulfilled employees look like when he visited Zappos, an online shoe and clothing shop based in Las Vegas in 2016. As he walked around the campus, he noticed that everyone got along well, and he learned that Zappos’ 1,500 employees have to be a good cultural fit. The company is open about its culture, purpose and mission, and people don’t necessarily make a lot of money, but they stay, because they love what they do. “It’s about putting a smile on people’s faces,” he says.
NorthBayBiz Magazine – October 2017
North Bay employers urged to get heart-saving devices
– Interview with team Arrow about the impact of the AED donations to the community by Cynthia Sweeney
The No. 1 health-crisis death in the workplace is by heart attack. But having an automated external defibrillator (AED) on hand can improve the chances for survival of a heart attack victim by about 70 percent. So why don’t all workplaces have one?
North Bay Business Journal – August 2017
Plan now for possible changes in employee health coverage
by Jordan Shields
Pre-existing conditions. While it’s no doubt this term has been a hot topic in recent months — and notably misconstrued — one thing has not changed: Insurers cannot deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition.
Now that House Resolution 1628 has moved to the Senate floor, what can employers and individuals alike expect?
North Bay Business Journal – July 2017
Culture is key to retaining, recruiting employees
by Andrew McNeil
If you were asked what the single most-important factor is in attracting and retaining top performers to your company, what would your answer be? Wages? Benefits? Time off?
What about your company culture? Is culture really that important to the success of your business?
The short answer is yes.
North Bay Business Journal – June 2017
Petaluma company gives $100K for North Bay businesses’ AEDs
The latest effort to reduce Sonoma County deaths from cardiac arrest comes from a Petaluma company that recently pledged $100,000 to purchase automated external defibrillators for North Bay businesses. Stacy Gibbons, executive director of American Heart Association North Bay, called the move by Arrow Benefits Group “unprecedented.”
Arrow Benefits Group’s first foray into reducing cardiac arrest deaths was in late 2014, when the company asked the Petaluma Health Care District to teach its employees hands-only CPR. Read entire article here…
The Press Democrat – June 2017
Principal Andrew McNeil interviewed by Employee Benefit Advisor in May 2017. The interview examines the work of this young innovator at Arrow and his leadership toward future trends for his industry and company.
Employee Benefit Advisor magazine interviews Arrow Benefits Group around the launch of the Culture Insights Program which develops personalized plans for employers to operate at their highest potential, using six key angles including, corporate purpose, mission, values, culture, HR and employee benefits. The program was inspired by a 2016 tour of Zappos.com by Andrew McNeil, Principal and adviser with Arrow Benefits Group. Another source of motivation was a survey the firm did of millennials, Gen-Xers and baby boomers.
We are honored to announce that our Managing Partner, Stephen McNeil was just awarded the North Bay Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award & interviewed by the paper.
They asked him about:
• Responsibilities with your company: Oversee day-to-day operations, finance, and Shared Services (FSA, Dental, and COBRA department)
• How do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty Under 40 professional?: I try and bring energy, fresh ideas, and innovation every day into an industry where these things have historically been deficient.
• Greatest professional challenge: Navigating our clients through a continually tumultuous time in American health care.
Read entire interview here…
North Bay Business Journal – May 2017
Arrow’s Wellness Initiative CPR/First-aid community classes in the News!
Employee Benefit Advisor Magazine highlights, in this article from April 2017, the First aid classes offered on a quarterly basis to the community for free. Interview also talks about the impact of the classes and what it means to the community to have them available.
Arrow Benefits Group wins Community Philanthropy Award!
Giving back to the community where employees live and work is a hallmark of the Arrow Benefits Group. Arrow supported a number of nonprofits by contributing $100,000 in 2016. Many of the company’s 32 employees donate their time as volunteers, and managers and the ownership team have created innovative wellness programs while becoming personally involved. Arrow’s leaders are actively engaged in a variety of local projects in and around Petaluma, including portions of southern Sonoma County and northern Marin County. Read entire article here…
North Bay Business Journal – March 2017
Top 3 Questions to Make the Most out of your Dental Plan – by Jennifer Wardell & Stephen McNeil
For many dental patients, dental insurance annual maximums replenish on January 1. To make sure you get the most bang for your buck on your dental plan, we recommend you ask these three vital questions before having any upcoming procedures.
NorthBayBiz Magazine – February 2017
Article about Sonoma chapter co-founder & chair, Principal, Mariah Shields non-profit – 100 Sonoma!
The concept is simple: Gather 100 people and have each one bring $100 to donate to a worthy nonprofit organization; invite three to five eligible nonprofits to present at the meeting; each nonprofit provides a one person, four- to five-minute oral presentation – each attending member of the giving group has one vote and must provide their $100 donation regardless of what organization wins; the nonprofit that secures the most votes is gifted the entire amount raised. Read entire article here…
NorthBayBiz Magazine – January 2017
NorthBay biz Magazine asked business & community leaders to share their picks for young people making a difference & our Andrew McNeil, principal was chosen…
Andrew has led Arrow in embracing the concept of shifting his own company’s culture and is leading the charge by helping other employers do the same. His efforts resulted in many positive changes and are attracting a lot of promising talent to the employers he serves. Andrew believes that a unique company culture is what will attract and retain the workforce of the future.
Millennials want to feel good about where they work, believe in the purpose and mission of their employer, feel appreciated and have fun at the same time. To many millennials, this is worth more than money and traditional benefits. Companies late in figuring this out will have a hard time competing for the workforce they need. —Karen Alary, the Personnel Perspective
NorthBayBiz Magazine – November 2016
A Fresh Look at Benefits: What You Need to Know
by Stephen McNeil, GBA
You’re a brand new human resources director and you’ve been reviewing the benefits your company offers its employees. You’re immediately curious about several points: “Why is there no PPO (preferred provider organization) option to offer out-of-network benefits? Why aren’t we offering a vision plan? Should we be outsourcing our benefits administration?” These are great questions that aren’t asked nearly asked enough. Read article here…
NorthBayBiz Magazine – November 2016
Casual dress becomes the workplace norm – an interview with Keith and Andrew McNeil
We may have Mark Zuckerberg to thank for bringing the hoodie into the workplace, but less formal attire has been creeping past casual Friday to include the rest of the week in even the most formal of offices. According to new research, 50 percent of senior managers said employees wear less formal clothing than they did five years ago. Keith McNeil is a partner at Arrow Benefits, an insurance office in Petaluma with about 30 employees. After 30 years of wearing a suit, he quit wearing one every day two years ago. Read article here…
North Bay Business Journal – October 2016
This Employee Benefit Advisor article from October 2016 examines workplace culture as a needed new benefit. EBA interviews Andrew McNeil, Principal about the new movement to gain and retain quality team members in an environment that they want to see, a caring workplace culture.
This Employee Benefit Advisor interview from September 2016 discusses our unique Umbrella partnership program that gives a lifeline to small CA brokerages – the interview is with founding partners Keith McNeil & Jordan Shields. The program is a comprehensive system for handling renewals and realistic succession plans for owners, their employees and clients and has expanded ABG’s reach and client base across California.
Promote Employee Strengths: Ask What They Want
By Principal, Mariah Shields
Many look at developing employees from an HR perspective: an employee is doing well, their manager lets HR know and together they create a new job description with increased functions, develop a promotional level, clear a payroll increase with finance and then let the employee know. But in that process, you’ve overlooked two game-changing ideas. Read article here…
NorthBayBiz Magazine – July 2016
Disability insurance protects a workers most important asset
By Principal, Andrew McNeil
When people think of employee benefits, the first thing they usually think of is health insurance because it protects them and their family from exorbitant medical bills which could deplete their family’s nest egg and possibly force them into bankruptcy. Read article here…
North Bay Business Journal – July 2016
Arrow Benefits Group – Women in Business in NorthBayBiz Magazine – May 2016 People
The May issue of NorthBayBiz Magazine focuses on successful and influential North Bay women, and our own Karen Alary, Managing Partner at The Personnel Perspective – HR division at Arrow Benefits Group was featured. “My advice: Don’t be deterred when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Never give up on your dream; even if you have to make adjustments, follow your passion.”
NorthBayBiz Magazine – May 2016
Telemedicine insurance valuable to employer and employee – by Principal Andrew McNeil
With an ever-increasing appeal for on-demand services and resources, telemedicine fits perfectly in the fast-paced world in which we live. Telemedicine is the latest in technology that brings individuals immediate, on-the-spot access to state-licensed physicians. By using ICT (information and communication technology), telemedicine brings patients and doctors together via video-based resources, for consults and visits anytime, anywhere in the world. Read entire article here….
North Bay Business Journal – May 2016
Holistic healthcare plans are growing rapidly, and Employee Benefit Advisor interviewed Arrow about this for their May 2016 issue exploring the new types of plans from leading insurers like telemedicine strategy – a great tool to offer especially beneficial for fully insured and self-funded groups, and particularly for rural areas.
Arrow Benefits Group – All in the Family in NorthBayBiz Magazine – April 2016 People
The company is family based, with children from both partners’ sides working at the company together. Keith McNeil says that the younger generation brings fresh ideas, different perspectives and a better understanding of technology issues…Stephen McNeil, the son of Keith McNeil, echoes the sentiment, saying, “We don’t have the normal issues a family business has. It’s brought us closer as a family. Both families interact really well.”
NorthBayBiz Magazine – April 2016
Arrow Principal Andrew McNeil wins North Bay Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Professionals.
How do you exemplify the spirit of a top 40 under 40 professional: “It’s all about my long-term outlook and my work in building our company’s brand for the future here locally and outside of Northern California.” Greatest professional accomplishment: Marrying my wife, Lindsey, whose support and encouragement has been a driving force for me for almost 10 years. Best advice received: Save your money and never stop learning. Read more here…
Meet the North Bay Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Professionals
Arrow Benefits Group Wins North Bay Business Journal Community Philanthropy Awards. Accepting are principals Andrew McNeil and Mariah Shields.
We are pleased to announce receiving this respected award and humbly accept. We look forward to continuing our legacy of commitment to our community and spirit of always giving back! See all the winners here…
Community Philanthropy Awards Luncheon – March 30, 2016
North Bay employers learn new language of Affordable Care Act compliance
Interview with Andrew McNeil
“We are still getting new clients, people we should have been talking to about this a couple of months ago,” said Andrew McNeil, principal, Arrow Benefits. McNeil’s advice to employers is to track employees on a monthly basis. “Then their records will be in better shape,” he said. Penalties for non-compliance with the mandate are $2,000 per employee. Read Entire Article Here…
North Bay Business Journal – April 2016
Employee Benefit Advisor explores the concepts of wellness within a company culture. Culture can bond a business to a local community in multiple ways including offering increased health and wellness for everyone.
Guest Commentary by Andrew McNeil
When considering employee benefits that will appeal to millennials — you need to think like one. A Met Life survey shows millennials are more likely to work for a company based on the offered benefits package, rather than just a higher starting salary. Read entire article here…
North Bay Business Journal – February 2016
The Benefits of Giving by Mariah Shields
I realize running a successful business means your plate is piled-high with daily priorities but there’s one often-overlooked business act that can fulfill, enrich and reward you if you make time for it: philanthropy. Read full article here
North Bay Biz – January 2016
Arrow Benefits Group just featured in North Bay Biz Magazine article – Health Care Check-up
North Bay Biz – September 2015
North Bay Business Journal – July 2015
North Bay Business Journal – June 2015
North Bay Biz Magazine – May 2015
North Bay Business Journal – April 2015
North Bay Business Journal – April 2015
North Bay Business Journal – February 2015
North Bay Business Journal – November 2014
North Bay Business Journal – October 2014