In late 2015, Zain Hasan posted in the YEC Members-Only Facebook forum looking for help managing his company’s rapid growth. Serial entrepreneur and longtime YEC member Logan Lenz saw the post and knew he could help. Although initially Logan was only going to reply with tips, he realized they were both Florida locals — so they decided to meet up.
Excited by Zain’s vision of turning the insurance industry on its head, Logan quickly got on board. For more than a year they’ve worked together to expand the offerings of National Insurance and HR Consulting Group (NICG), and they even offer a special YEC benefit in order to give back to the community that connected them. (This benefit can be found in the YEC Marketplace.)
Now that Logan’s involvement is public, we can share their story.
An insurance industry veteran, Zain had been building NICG for a few years and it was expanding quickly. While he’d built the vision throughout his years working for Cigna and Guardian Life, he was now looking for someone to take the reins on organizing growth, building out infrastructure, and taking the company to the next level.
Recruited out of college to work as a sales rep for a global health insurance company, Zain quickly learned that insurance was a hidden cost for businesses and brokers were burdened with conflicting interests. As he helped negotiate rates for businesses, brokers would ask him to artificially inflate them so they (the brokers) could make more from their clients. This lack of transparency — and blatant inflation — didn’t sit well with Zain, and he spent the next five years learning as much as he could and working on a new model to create true alignment between the employer and broker.
“My model is pretty simple: bring a very transparent approach to the business; let every employer know what’s going on, [and] focus on education and helping businesses so they can not only reduce their costs, but not have a broker that is playing in a world filled with conflicts of interests,” says Zain. You can read more about their step-by-step process for helping customers here.
This new approach landed them some early press. The South Florida Business & Wealth Magazine featured NICG as a “Disruptive Model” and selected Zain as the winner of its “Up and Comers” award. They were also listed in 2016 as one of South Florida Business Journal’s Best Places to Work.
Taking NICG to the Next Level
To find his COO -- or as he called it, his “co-founder and visionary executioner” -- he posted in just two trusted places: AngelList and the YEC forum. Although more than 10 people responded, Logan stood out.
Once Zain looked into Logan’s background and saw how much value he was adding to the YEC community, he knew there might be a fit. Logan had been helpful in the YEC forum, and also took advantage of the other opportunities YEC presented. This showed that he was both proactive and disciplined in his own work efforts. That combined with his entrepreneurial background was perfect. After chatting online and then meeting up, Zain was excited to work with a fellow YEC’er who understood what it was like to be a young entrepreneur hustling to build value for other businesses.
Logan was similarly excited. He knew he had the right sort of business experience to help, and in a serendipitous turn of events, was already building a piece of technology around payroll company ADP’s offering at the behest of a friend. So already interested in the industry and excited about this new model, the two teamed up and got to work. In October he quietly came on as COO and business partner, and his involvement was formally announced this week.
Building Impressive Partnerships
Centered on the ideas of education and transparency, National Insurance and HR Consulting Group is the first company with this type of value-first consulting model. While actually two separate companies — National Insurance Consulting Group and National HR Consulting Group — they live together under the NICG umbrella. Next March, they’ll also be adding a third company — National PEO Consulting Group — to further bring transparency to the insurance industry.
In order to help as many businesses as possible, NICG partners with major industry players like ADP. ADP is known for its technology and benefits. So NICG partnered as a wholesaler of ADP’s technology while also managing its client relationships. That way, NICG clients have access to the best technology on the market, as well as a ‘broker’ who can walk them through saving money and making the most of the service. This unprecedented partnership promises to add value to both ADP and its clients.
And NICG doesn’t just work with ADP. They also work with companies like Paylocity and Paychex, and are building partnerships with further vendors. They were able to build these partnerships through sheer hustle from Zain and his business partners, and with the help of that early PR in South Florida.
YEC Marketplace Benefit
Beyond just offering a discount, Zain and Logan plan to help members navigate the benefits both companies offer.
“It’s not just a member going through the marketplace and saying 'hey, that ADP discount sounds interesting,' it’s also [us] asking, “does anyone have questions about PEO? Or how to hire and fire employees? About ACA compliance, or just compliance in general? Any of those questions now can now be directed to us,” says Logan.
“And it only allows us to improve the community. To give a lot of guidance and education on those things that founders outsource to their HR departments. And maybe we can empower founders to hire better, especially as it pertains to HR. So not only was it that we can get you the right solutions -- and be of service to [fellow] members -- but we can educate before that and just be helpful. We want to help the community, because there's so much smoke and mirrors in this industry.”
Knowing how much better the payroll process could be for their fellow members, Zain and Logan decided to offer a 15 percent off payroll processing fees and a free all-in-one HR software benefit through the YEC Marketplace.
Current ADP clients using RUN can now access the ADP RUN platform at 15 percent off payroll processing fees. (They will simply transfer to the Wholesale platform, no "implementation" needed.) If NICG takes over as the benefits consulting firm, they also get access to free paperless, automated all-in-one HR Software for paperless hiring, onboarding, PTO, employee benefits enrollment, compliance (including ACA 1094/1095 filing to IRS) and workers comp pay by pay. Non-ADP clients will get a best price match guarantee plus an additional 15 percent off ADP payroll processing on top of the earlier stated benefits.
To Zain and Logan this was a no brainer. They could give back to the community as it’s given back to them. They both subscribe to the philosophy of ‘you get back what you put in,’ and that building a business is about building value.
Giving Back to The Community
While this isn’t the first pair of YEC members to meet through the community and team up, it serves as a great example of how the YEC family can help you take your business to the next level.
“Not only were two YEC’ers coming together,” says Logan, “but it was was a fantastic way to know that not only were we the same age, but we had the same ambitions.”
YEC members can learn more about this benefit in the YEC Marketplace or by reaching out to your member concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org.