Dougherty cut his teeth in the world of insurance shortly after college but not before pursuing a different career path. After going through the Hyatt Regency’s management training program, he became a banquet manager. “It was in banquets that I learned a lot about service, presentation and the importance of first impressions,” Dougherty told The Suit Magazine. “Long story short,” he continued, “banquet management provided me the creative challenges but it lacked stability.” The elements of the job Dougherty liked fit well in an unexpected calling – selling insurance. Dougherty added, “A phone conversation, even about health insurance, can provide an opportunity for a creative moment.”
The opportunity to enter this industry came from a reliable source. Dougherty’s father was a successful life insurance agent and had branched out into individual health insurance during the 1980s. Phil joined his father in 1991, and together they continued to grow their health insurance business, Dougherty Health Insurance Sales.
“We started to grow the domestic health insurance segment pretty rapidly. It was that market I wanted to expand when I took over the business from my Dad in 1994,” said Dougherty. He added that his firm, now called OnlyHealthInsurance Marketing, is one of the largest producers of individual and family health insurance, and Medicare supplement sales, in California.
Dougherty and his team’s success come from a unique approach to the business of selling insurance. “It’s more about educating than selling. Few people need to be convinced they need health insurance,” he added. Dougherty shared, “What people want is an honest assessment of the market based on their personal needs,” he continued, “we’re really good at deciphering an individual’s needs, offering appropriate solutions and guiding them through the enrollment process efficiently.” Dougherty quipped, “For many the task of obtaining insurance is right up there with a root canal. We take pride in our ability to make the discussion painless and even enlightening.”
With the introduction and expansion of health care reform in California, this approach has made OnlyHealthInsurance very popular and client referrals continue to be their main source of business.
But that is just part of the story for Dougherty.
“In an effort to diversify, I started a second agency in 1999 focused exclusively in the international health insurance market,” he noted. “We found a need that wasn’t being adequately promoted or addressed. Most travelers are unaware their domestic plan provides little, if any, coverage while outside the U.S. and Medicare stops at U.S. borders,” Dougherty explained.
This new venture became ITG Worldwide Insurance Agency. Dougherty added, “ITG Worldwide is one of the few general agencies in the world dedicated specifically to international health and travel medical insurance for individuals and families, as well as global employers.”
Now a seasoned agency in a niche market, ITG Worldwide continues to serve individuals and companies engaged in international travel and long-term expatriate assignments. The firm has long-standing relationships with the top international health insurance carriers, and Dougherty stated they can solve virtually any international insurance need.
Specifically, ITG Worldwide caters to global employers, individual expatriates, business and leisure travelers, missionaries, and even students and visiting scholars. Essentially, anyone who sets foot outside their home country for short-term travel, work assignments, or living abroad and wants health insurance benefits that travel with them. Additionally, there are products for those who want to protect themselves against financial loss in case of a trip interruption or cancelation.
ITG Worldwide also offers specialized contingent coverage such as insurance for kidnap and ransom, political evacuation, or acts of terrorism, as well as coverage in high-risk war zones. Dougherty added, “There is an ever-growing demand for these unique products.” Despite the turmoil and tension around the world – from terror threats in the Middle East to health warnings in Africa – Dougherty tells The Suit there are still those who want to see and experience the world firsthand. ITG Worldwide can provide travelers with peace of mind, including peace of mind for those traveling to regions that are anything but peaceful.
“In today’s global economy, traveling abroad has grown tremendously both for both business and pleasure. With over six million Americans living in 160-plus countries and over four million trips abroad per month, the need for international insurance coverage and global benefits continues to grow.”
International health and travel insurance isn't limited to those heading abroad. Travel products are also available for foreign visitors to the U.S. Whether traveling for vacation, business, school, or for training purposes, incoming visitors can purchase plans to help defray the high cost of medical insurance in the United States.
“International insurance gives travelers portability and freedom,” he noted. “With the right plan, expatriates can get treated anywhere in the world as well as in the United States. We're positioned not only to assist our own clients, but as a managing general agency, we also support our partner brokers and affiliate agencies in placing this coverage across the country and the world.”
Helping clients, and prospective clients, navigate the complexities of the California health insurance marketplace and international health insurance have been made simpler through the company’s two websites, www.OnlyHealthInsurance.com and www.ITGWorldwide.com. Both websites offer extensive information about the products offered and provide self-help and online quoting and purchasing tools.
“Content is king, as they say, but many people still want a professional to help them with their specific needs,” Dougherty emphasized. “Our team of experts, in both the Califonria individual/family and Medicare market, and the international insurance market, place the utmost value on providing our clients with personalized service to ensure they choose the best plan to meet their insurance needs.” And, yes, that may include a root canal.
To learn more, visit Dougherty’s websites listed above and subscribe to his healthcare blog by clicking here. For the latest information about Medicare and other related topics, click here to subscribe to his newsletter, JustforSeniors.
500 Professional Center Dr., Ste. 515
Novato, CA 94947
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