The days of the door-to-door computer salesman are gone. Instead, computers are now the ultimate sales tools for companies if they are using their technology resources properly. More than 15 million businesses and organizations are now part of Facebook. Many corporations also have company Twitter pages. In the corporate world, these pages are typically followed or liked by customers and employees. Companies with large customer bases and thousands of employees might have impressive numbers of likes or follows, but all too often, posts or tweets are stagnant, void of real interaction and results.

One of the main goals many companies share in regards to social media is solving how to monetize the various mediums.  Currently, most corporate social media accounts function more as a customer service tool than a sales tool. The explanation for this is simple. Social media at its core is about relationships on an interpersonal level. By definition, a person cannot have a relationship with a corporate social media account. At the corporate level, posts and tweets are too broad and out of touch with individuals’ needs, interests to function as effective sales methods.

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Eight months after the website went live for millions of uninsured Americans looking for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there are still debates raging about the effectiveness of the program and whether it is actually helping anyone at all. Whichever side you fall on the pro/con discussion, one inescapable fact is that it drove consumers to the Internet looking for answers.

A recent article in the Health Insurance Exchange e-newsletter ( noted that “a large majority of Americans researching health plan options relied on websites for information, but supplemented their research with other outlets for answers, including brokers and advisers who came out on top with customer satisfaction scores.”

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Philanthropy has long been part of BIG’s business plan. In fact, you’ll find a service component in the vast majority of successful companies, agencies, etc. From sponsoring the local Little League team to hosting fundraiser to donating to the local PTA to putting up posters in the front window, giving back to the community will usually pay off many times over in referrals and just plain good will.

Each year, BIG hosts a golf tournament before your annual convention. The association has been able to make a nice contribution both to the Aktion Club and the Pomona Valley Workshop.  The Aktion Club, a Kiwanis Club affiliate, provides adults living with disabilities the opportunity to develop initiative, leadership skills and to serve their communities. The PVW provides developmentally disabled adults with vocational training, employment preparation and placement services.

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dog conehead

The market for pet insurance is a big one, especially in California. According to the California Department of Insurance (CDI), there are approximately 1.2 million dogs and 1.65 million cats owned in Los Angeles County. Statewide, the pet insurance market is expected to generate $750 million in premiums. The North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA estimates that at the end of 2012 there were just over 1 million pets insured nationwide. These statistics are not surprising, considering the number of “My Cat is My Kid” and “My Grandchild has Four Legs” bumper stickers seen daily.

As in any rapidly growing market, an increase in sales means an increase in complaints. The CDI receives nearly 100 complaints regarding pet insurance coverage every year. After investigation, the majority of complaints result in findings for the consumer. One of the most common issues pet insurance consumers face is coverage of pre-existing conditions. Pet owners often purchase policies either not knowing that pre-existing conditions are not covered or the policy language is unclear as to what constitutes a pre-existing condition, which leads to coverage denials by the insurer.

For the rest of the story, read the July issue of BIG Times Magazine at




Are concerns about the requirements of the new federal health insurance law causing more employers to shift to part-time workers? A new report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) finds there is no definitive answer to that question yet—but notes that a shift to part-time employment was underway before the law was passed and that future trends are likely to depend more on factors such as the economy and unemployment rates.

As written, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) requires that employers with 50 or more full-time workers pay a penalty if they fail to provide health coverage to full-time workers in 2014, which has raised concern that employers may respond by cutting back on health coverage for part-time workers or by increasing the proportion of part-time workers employed. The Obama administration has subsequently indicated that it would delay enforcement of the terms of this “employer mandate.”

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