An online education platform built by a small Dayton technology company ConsumerOptix is being used by insurance giant The Hartford.
The Hartford — ranking 156th on the roster of Fortune 500 companies — last week unveiled a study showing how attitudes about employment benefits are changing in the COVID-19 era.
The Hartford’s “Future of Benefits” study, which polled U.S. workers and human resources decision-makers in early March 2020 just before the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., and again in mid-June, found that 73% of employees now say they value the insurance benefits their company offers them, down from 80% three months earlier.
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The release cites the “MyTomorrow” online education platform, which The Hartford says “provides employees with timely, tailored benefits guidance based on their unique needs.”
MyTomorrow was built by the Dayton company.
Founded two years ago, ConsumerOptix, a graduate of The Entrepreneurs Center in Dayton, says it offers online solutions to provide insurance carriers, brokers and agents tools to educate and enroll consumers and employees in insurance products.
“The release attributes the fact that our Dayton firm built MyTomorrow for the Hartford,” said James O’Hara, chief executive of ConsumerOptix. “The research The Hartford has published combined with their announcement of their new digital platform is a quite an interesting look at how employer/employee engagement around insurance benefits is shifting.”
The citation happens to be a timely one. Led by Atlas Advisors in New York, ConsumerOptix will go to prospective investors with the company’s story and potential this week in pursuit of $5 million in capital.
O’Hara intends to use those capital to hire additional employees and expand. Today, he has some four full-time employees working with him, as well as a number of contractors.
“Having one of the largest insurance carriers in the country, a Fortune 500 company, validate your solution by describing on their own web site why they selected you, is a validation that I think investors are looking for,” O’Hara said.
“They want to hear from not you, but your customers, to say, ‘Yes, we subscribe to these guys and buy into their philosophy,‘” he added.
MyTomorrow was ConsumerOptix’ first project for the Hartford, O’Hara said.
The product is a digital platform designed to educate consumers about insurance and benefits. The platform identifies a user’s interests and needs, first by asking several questions.
The experience then becomes personalized.
What consumers will see is a full digital explanation of possible benefits, supplanted with videos and other features.
“We’ve had two years to prove that our technology works,” the CEO said.
Said O’Hara: “This is going to be crucial as annual benefits enrollment quickly shifts from an in-person experience to a more virtual one.”
“We saw this trend already happening, even before this pandemic started,” he said. “The days of going into your insurance agent and talking about home, auto and life (insurance) or having them come to your home, those days are over. This trend is something that consumers have already been demanding.”
The Hartford release found that, compared to the company’s initial survey in early March, employees are caring more these days about paid time off, paid sabbaticals, critical illness insurance, student loan repayment plans, behavioral and mental health services and more.
The Harford and Nationwide are among ConsumerOptix’ tier-one clients. Its headquarters is in the Kuhn’s Building attached to the Dayton Arcade, and O’Hara said he expects to have an office inside the Arcade once the Arcade’s redevelopment and construction work is complete.
O’Hara is the son of LexisNexis pioneer Robert O’Hara, who died in 2009.