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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Insurance – Health & Employee Benefits CATEGORY

David Hodges is a 30-year veteran of the insurance industry and vice president of Vantreo Insurance Brokerage, a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (877) 301-2017 or by email.

David Hodges

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David Hodges: A Leading Role

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

SANTA ROSA — As a young actor, David Hodges was naturally excited about landing the lead role in a San Francisco theatrical production. However, he didn’t realize that this experience would set the stage for something much bigger. “While preparing for a production at the Curran Theater in San Francisco, another cast member and I carpooled from Santa Rosa every night for rehearsal,” he remembers. “He was an insurance agent, and over the course of riding with him for several months, he convinced me to start selling life insurance.”

David says his experience as an actor benefited him greatly in his subsequent career. “One of the things I learned from acting was the art of listening. A director once told me to stop acting and start reacting—to listen to how a line was being said and respond honestly. That was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received, and it’s something I regularly apply in my profession.”

Today, as vice president of Vantreo Insurance Brokerage, David says his favorite part of his job is finding solutions to his clients’ problems. “I think an insurance broker’s job is similar to that of a mechanic or doctor in that it requires an ability to listen, diagnose and repair problems. By talking with my clients and determining their needs, I’m able to fix the things that aren’t working for them and enhance those that are.”

A resident of Sea Ranch (where he lives with his wife, Nancy), David says his favorite part of living and working in the Bay Area is his unique daily commute. “I’m a pilot, and every morning I fly my plane from Sea Ranch to Santa Rosa for work. It’s a really scenic flight, starting over the ocean and then going over Sonoma County forests and vineyards. It’s a nice thing to wake up to—plus, it only takes me 15 minutes to fly to my destination, whereas it takes about 90 minutes to drive.”

Outside of work, David engages in a variety of pastimes, from hunting and golfing to writing music and gardening. However, he says a substantial portion of his free time revolves around aquatic activities. “The ocean is a big part of my life. I have a boat in Bodega Bay and enjoy going fishing and abalone diving with friends.” Additionally, David says he looks forward to family get-togethers during the holidays. “Nancy and I have five grown children, and we all get together for Christmas and Easter, which is always a lot of fun.”

In his life and career, David espouses the importance of having the right motivation. “I take an ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ approach to my job,” he explains. “If someone asks me for a second opinion after getting a quote from another broker, if it looks good, I tell them so and walk away rather than try to be a salesman. Obviously, being an insurance broker involves sales, but at the end of the day, you’re supposed to be solving problems, not trying to gain at the expense of your clients.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, David says he wouldn’t. “I’ll never retire—working is enjoyable to me. However, I do have plans to work less than I do right now. I’ve been mentoring a young man in the business, so by the time I’m ready to cut back, he’ll be prepared to take on some of my workload.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: St. Orres in Gualala—it’s a French restaurant that serves a lot of wild game.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Stay inside and watch the ocean. We have a great view of it from our home, so I love to just sit there with a hot drink and try to spot whales and porpoises.

Q: What’s one website you visit on a daily basis?
A: Facebook, because all my kids are on it.

Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: Yes, and it’s considered one of the worst movies of all time by most critics: “Dune.” My second favorite movie is “Forrest Gump,” and my third is “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: Chicken fried steak, eggs over easy, wheat toast, hash browns and a cup of coffee.

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Taking Advantage of Digital Insurance Platforms

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SANTA ROSA — Many things have gone digital during the last few years, and employer insurance platforms are no exception. With modern digital technology, once-tedious insurance processes like enrollments, terminations and plan alterations can now be implemented electronically, resulting in a faster,… Read more

Keeping in Compliance with the Affordable Care Act

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SANTA ROSA — If you’re a small business owner, you understand the importance of financial organization. In the age of the Affordable Care Act, it’s more important than ever for businesses to be proactive about compliance with federal regulations, which… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Avoiding Pitfalls with the Affordable Care Act

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Complete Video Transcription:

SANTA ROSA — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re a business owner, you’ll want to be aware of upcoming changes to the Affordable Care Act and how… Read more

Bob Vinal is president of Bay Area Health Insurance Marketing, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2011. He can be reached at (650) 273-0330 or by email.

Bob Vinal

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Bob Vinal: A Great Communicator

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

MENLO PARK — Following college, Bob Vinal wasn’t entirely sure how he would apply his communications degree in the professional realm, but after accepting a job offer in the insurance business, he found it to be a perfect fit. “My brother was selling life insurance and needed someone to help out with employee benefits,” he remembers. “As a communications major, I’ve always been one for gab, so when I got into insurance, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to talk with people on a daily basis.” After gaining further industry experience over the next few years, Bob decided to strike out on his own and founded Bay Area Health Insurance Marketing, Inc. in 1987.

A resident of Santa Cruz (where he lives with his wife, Trudy), Bob expresses his appreciation for the Bay Area’s characteristic attributes. “I love the weather and the people here—plus, as a sports fan, I love watching all the Bay Area teams.” Outside of work, some of Bob’s pastimes include coaching high school football, surfing, golfing, and barbecuing with friends and family. He also likes to keep in touch with his and Trudy’s three grown children: Therese, who works for the San Francisco Giants; Michelle, who is earning her master’s degree at Cal State Fullerton; and Matt, who recently graduated from University of Las Vegas.

In his life and career, Bob espouses the importance of treating others fairly and honestly. “Our main credos at Bay Area Health Insurance Marketing are to be honest with our clients and treat them as we’d want to be treated,” he affirms. “We don’t want to be the kind of brokers who make a profit at their clients’ expense; rather, we genuinely want to help our clients and give them good, sound advice.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Bob says he’d do some surfing, both at home and abroad. “Living in Santa Cruz, there’s plenty of good surfing, but I also like going to Hawaii, which is one of our favorite vacation spots. However, I know my wife wants to see some new places as well, so we’d probably do some more extensive traveling.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: It depends on the time of year. During baseball season, it’s the San Francisco Giants; during football season, it’s the San Francisco 49ers; and during basketball season, it’s the Golden State Warriors.

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: A dog person. I have two dogs, Bruschi and Bella.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: I played football and was the rally commissioner.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Popcorn.

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Fall, because football starts.

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Pre-Tax Premiums for Small Employer Health Groups

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MENLO PARK — A Section 125 Premium Only Plan (POP) is an essential part of any employer group health insurance and ancillary benefit program. Section 125 is a part of the Internal Revenue Code that legally allows employees to make… Read more

2 Employer Misconceptions about Employee Health Benefits

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MENLO PARK — If you’re an employer, you may have considered offering health benefits to your employees but were dissuaded by the cost. However, it’s possible that your decision was based upon misinformation or inaccurate assumptions. Here are two common misconceptions employers… Read more

Communicating Employee Benefits

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MENLO PARK — If you’re a small-business owner, you’re likely spending thousands of dollars each month to provide benefits for your employees. However, if you aren’t taking the time to communicate to your employees about their benefits, they may not… Read more

Tax Credit for Small Business Owners

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MENLO PARK — If you’re a small business owner with less than 25 employees, you may be eligible for a tax credit you didn't know about. Under the 2015 Affordable Care Act, a new program was instituted that rewards employers who… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Communicating Employee Benefits

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Complete Video Transcription:

MENLO PARK — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re an employer, make sure your employees understand what your benefits are and how to use them. Today we’re in… Read more

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