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Thursday, Nov 30, 2023


The Briefing – THE BOSS’ MANAGEMENT STRATEGY RGEB Inc. was formed in 1996 when Renee Glickman decided to leave Blue Cross of California after 15 years as a regional manager. For the first several years, Glickman was virtually a one-woman show as she built her group insurance brokerage and employee benefits consulting firm. Then, her husband Barry Cohn joined her and became president of Tarzana-based RGEB. With the two of them working at it, RGEB has grown from a $600,000 company in 1996 to one with premiums of about $4.5 million expected in 2002. They have both finally moved out of the corporate world and into one in which the married couple are together, well, a lot. Second, they have had to grow their business fully aware that their old clients still wanted the same thing they did when Glickman was that one-woman show: excellent customer service. Barry Cohn spoke to Business Journal Editor Michael Hart recently about how they handled those transitions. “My wife worked for Blue Cross and then decided to go over to the agency side of the business. For the first four and a half years, it was just her and one assistant. “I spent 25 years in corporate banking. A year and a half ago, the timing was right to get out. “We had met with three other couples who had businesses together. We learned it’s important to try to keep business hours business and personal hours personal. “Our business leads went from about four to 20. Suddenly, Renee was adding 10 clients a year, and we knew it was time to do something. When you run your own operation, it’s all in your head. Moving past that is the challenge. There’s only so many hours in a day. Either you have to be in the office to answer the phone calls and service the clients, or go out and get new business. “Because Renee had been in the business so long, we knew a lot of people. So, we brought on some people we already knew. One of them came on board full time and one part time. “Then we went to the One-Stop Center in San Fernando and hired someone who came highly recommended. Still, we basically trained this person from the ground up, and it has paid off. “What Renee specializes in is companies of 100 people or less. The biggest challenge in our business is customer service. For most of our clients, if you have under 50 people, you could go to 10 employee benefits companies and get the identical bid. There’s no difference in price. “We had to make sure we had people who would take care of our clients the same way we would.”

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