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Agency Spotlight
Dorene Thompson: Covering the Greater New York Community
James Jiang
May 12, 2021
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Since starting her agency in 2014, Dorene alone has helped over 1,000 clients enroll in Medicare, establishing herself as a local expert in her community. Before building her own agency, Dorene was a top agent at Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, and over the past two decades, she’s consistently been one of the leading Medicare producers in the state of New York.

We met Dorene last fall and were immediately struck by not only her Medicare expertise but the way that she used her local knowledge, empathy for her community members, and commitment to service to be a standout agent.

We learned how a great Medicare agent builds rapport with a client to uncover needs that don’t come up from a simple phone screen. We saw what local expertise looks like as she educated clients on not only local plan options, but local medical specialists and support resources, and we saw what it means to be available for the community when we watched her visit the homes of clients who needed help but couldn’t access technology, even through the midst of the pandemic. In short, we met someone who shared Spark’s values and demonstrated their importance.

Engaging clients through the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the unique role of a local, independent agent. Working with Dorene through the last AEP, we witnessed all the extra service requests and questions that emerged as clients navigated the confusing and fast-changing landscape. And seeing the types of issues that came up — trying to find much-needed cost savings in a plan, maintaining access to a needed medical specialist, tapping into local support programs — we understood how high the stakes were.

With a massive increase in service requests, we also saw the value of technology and an excellent support team in delivering on client needs. Taking care of clients means not only answering their calls, but very often coordinating with the health plan or provider, checking on eligibility statuses, helping clients complete forms, or even arranging for transportation, meal deliveries, or other essential health services — activities that are often cumbersome and draining for one agent to handle alone.

Digital transformation for the independent agent

Today, Dorene uses our Agent Platform and works with our in-house Spark Navigator team to enhance the incredible client service she was already providing — turning the challenges created by the pandemic into an opportunity to deliver an additional proactive and personalized concierge service to her clients.

In addition to the same care and attention from Dorene, her clients now have an extra team of Navigators at Spark who proactively check in throughout the year — at the start of new plan effective dates, before enrollment periods, etc — and who are trained to resolve common service problems and help clients to fully utilize their plan benefits, while also coordinating with carriers and providers for Dorene on the back-end.

All of this is powered by the Spark Agent platform — a CRM purpose-built for proactively addressing a Medicare client’s needs.

The platform captures Medicare-specific information to power engagement journeys unique to each of her client’s needs. Of course, a Medicare Supplement client’s needs and a dual eligible client’s needs are very different, and so are the needs of an 85 year old versus a 65 year old. These differences are captured in the platform and expressed in Spark’s engagement journeys, all done on behalf of the agent. As we work together to serve her clients, more data is added to the Agent Platform, which then supports more personalized and deeper support capabilities.

By working with Spark, Dorene can give her clients a unique, concierge experience while freeing more time for herself — for winning new business, supporting her downlines, or just take a breather every now and then.

Here’s Dorene’s take on our partnership:

“One of the most challenging parts of building a successful independent agency is having time to work “on” your business and working “in” your business. Partnering with Spark has enabled me to continue to offer premier customer service while also having time to focus on initiatives to grow my business. From their innovative tools and platforms to their back-office support, working with Spark has been tremendous.”

Building a modern, client-first agency together

We’re beyond thrilled to get to partner with Dorene, and we believe great agents like her are the future of our industry. The value of an independent agents’ local expertise and client empathy cannot be understated, nor can it be replicated without local agents like Dorene.

We’re honored to add the Spark Membership to the mix of services she and can offer her clients, and we look forward to working together to deliver a new model of concierge service that’s not been seen before in our industry, to the clients who need it the most.

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