Press & Interviews
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
Bay Area advisers launch benefits channel on social media – by Bruce Shutan
Two young thought leaders from a family-run brokerage outside San Francisco kicked off 2019 by creating and posting content for a new YouTube and Instagram channel featuring short videos related to employee benefit plans.
BenefitsTV is the brainchild of Andrew McNeil, an adviser with Arrow Benefits Group and 2017 EBA Rising Star in Advising, and Rosario Avila, who heads up ABG’s Alianza division catering to clients with Spanish-speaking employee populations and was named to the 2018 EBA Top Women in Benefit Advising list.
As audio or video platforms become an easier way to obtain information, building a library of short informational videos makes perfect sense,” McNeil says, noticing the need for branded content amid scores of clips posted by a nearly endless stream of sources. Read entire article here…
Employee Benefit Advisor – January 2019
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!
In a largely male-dominated profession, winning EBA’s 2018 Top Women in Benefit Advising is a stand out Victory for both personal and professional reasons. Additionally Rosario was awarded The North Bay Business Journal 2018 Latino Business Leadership Award.
Notable Quote: “I would tell young people embrace change, and always give 110 percent to everything you do, and if you don’t like it change it.” Rosario Avila.
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
Is Facebook the right platform for explaining benefits? – by Bruce Shutan
Social media has become an omnipresent part of American culture, but is it an effective means of communicating benefits to employee populations? The answer isn’t always cut and dried.
“The first thing we always say is, go where your employees are,” suggests Neil Mammele, director of digital strategy at PlanSource, whose benefits technology platform reaches nearly 3.5 million consumers. “What do they go to mostly in their free time?” Read entire article here…
Employee Benefit Advisor – June 2018
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
Se Habla Español at Arrow Benefits Group – by Bruce Shutan
Arrow Benefits Group (ABG) has launched a division that offers the Spanish-speaking employee populations it serves hands-on benefits selection guidance in their native language.
Named Alianza (which means alliance in English), the group includes a team of six benefit specialists and two HR support staffers who are fluent in Spanish and understand Latin culture. With this new service, Spanish-speaking employees and their families can call in, text or email questions concerning their benefits offerings and receive a direct response. Read entire article here…
Employee Benefit Advisor – April 2018
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
Proprietary process brings in new business for young broker – by Brian M. Kalish
At 31 years old, Andrew McNeil knows he needs to prove himself when meeting with a prospective client. “I couldn’t just go out [and say,] ‘Here are the plans, here are the rates,’” McNeil, principal at Arrow Benefits Group in Petaluma, Calif., and a 2017 EBA Rising Star in Advising, says about prospecting. Instead, he quickly learned he needed to be different. In the North Bay area of California where his firm is based, unemployment is at 3% and employers are struggling to attract and retain talent. McNeil saw that as an opportunity to “reverse engineer,” he says, to figure out how employers can get the people they want — and retain them.
“It’s not benefits,” he explains. “Especially in the small-group market, benefits are all the same. Employers can offer identical packages. The focus that people put on benefits needs to change; they are one piece of a bigger picture.” Read entire article here…
Employee Benefit Advisor – May 2017
Is company culture the new frontier of benefits?
By Bruce Shutan
Published April 28 2017, 3:42pm EDT
(Article Reprint – Once Our Culture Insights Program Launched our Industry Leading Magazine Interviewed Andrew McNeil for an in-depth piece on the program!)
With the increasing commoditization of employee benefits, how can companies in tight labor markets win the war on talent? At least one brokerage known for pushing the envelope believes it has the answer.
Arrow Benefits Group’s HR division is rolling out Culture Insights, which develops a personalized plan for employers to operate at their highest potential from six key angles. They include corporate purpose, mission, values, culture, HR and employee benefits. The program, which doesn’t have any paid customers yet, was inspired by a 2016 tour of Zappos.com by Andrew McNeil, an adviser with Arrow Benefits Group. Another source of motivation was a survey the firm did of millennials, Gen-Xers and baby boomers.
“People want to work for a place where they feel valued and are aligned with the mission and purpose of that organization,” he explains, regardless of their age or industry. “They don’t just want a paycheck.” …There’s also a larger purpose behind the Culture Insights program. In all his email correspondence, McNeil now includes the following philosophical statement: “We believe we can build a stronger community by building stronger employers. Stronger employers translate into a stronger local economy and happier, more productive citizens.” Read entire article here…
Employee Benefit Advisor – May 2017
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!
As brokerages continue to look for ways to stand out from the competition, two agencies are giving back to their communities and helping those areas become healthier in the process. Arrow Benefits Group in Petaluma, Calif., created the Arrow Community Wellness Initiative. The initiative each month offers CPR and automated defibrillator (AED) training and certification with first -aid, instructed by the Petaluma Health Care District, free to the community. Read entire article here…
Employee Benefit Advisor – April 2017
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. Read entire article here…
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
Is workplace culture the hot new benefit? – EBA interview with Andrew McNeil, Principal
Employers that don’t heed the call about the growing importance of a caring workplace culture will lose the talent war, says Andrew McNeil, a principal at Arrow Benefits Group (ABG) who is a millennial. Read entire article here…
Employee Benefit Advisor – October 2016
Partnership program gives lifeline to small CA brokerages – EBA interview with Keith McNeil & Jordan Shields
In essence, it provides sufficient capital to expand business, a comprehensive system for handling renewals and realistic succession plan that benefits not only owners, but also their employees and clients. The umbrella program also has expanded ABG’s reach and client base across California and allows the firm more clout when talking to carriers. Read entire article here…
Employee Benefit Advisor – September 2016
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.” Read article here…
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 growing rapidly – Interview with Arrow Benefits Group
New holistic health plans from leading insurers may soon have advisers rethinking their client recommendations… a telemedicine strategy is a great tool to offer to a client. Such services can benefit both fully insured and self-funded groups, and this is particularly true for rural areas, high deductible health plans or when the only off-hours option would be a trip to the ER. Read entire article here….
Employee Benefit Advisor – May 2016
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.” Read entire article here…
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
The ties that bind brokerages to their local community offer the prospect of dual payoffs for individual practices and the areas they serve. Two such examples include health and wellness initiatives, as well as charitable giving. Read Article Here…
Interview with Andrew McNeil – Wellness Initiatives
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
Article by Principal Mariah Shields on the power of philanthropy….
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
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North Bay Biz Magazine – May 2015
North Bay Business Journal – April 2015
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North Bay Business Journal – October 2014