Not many children spend their time dreaming about the day they’d open up their own insurance agency, but Naama O. Pozniak, CEO of Paz Holding, says even as a child she aspired to become an insurance adviser and consultant.
Growing up in Israel, Pozniak was close to an uncle who owned an insurance agency. After watching him tackle challenges in healthcare, Pozniak, 52, realized she wanted to pursue the insurance industry as a career. She also wanted to use it to help employees get healthier, one of the reasons why she has been selected as Employee Benefit Adviser’s 2019 Wellness Adviser of the Year.
“When I stand in front of any group of my clients, either delivering a renewal strategy or sharing the life changing practice of yoga and meditation, and discussing how we can lower our own cost of healthcare, I am the happiest woman on this earth,” Pozniak says.
Elayne Serrano, a senior benefits specialist at Paz, says Pozniak is not out to make the most money. Instead, she is focused on helping employees find the quality insurance they need.
“She is truly loved and trusted by clients,” Serrano says.
Pozniak is always looking for innovative wellness strategies. Combining Eastern philosophies — such as yoga and meditation — with Western medicine practices is something that she is passionate about. Throughout her almost 30-year career she has observed the way other countries’ healthcare systems operate. The U.S. healthcare system is extremely complicated, she says. U.S. doctors practice defensive medicine, or when a medical practitioner performs treatments or procedures in order to avoid the risk of malpractice litigation, Pozniak says.
“Here doctors are practicing defensive medicine and are getting rewarded for certain treatments and performing operations,” she says. “In India when you don’t feel well and go see a doctor, the doctor will actually ask [the patient] if you are drinking enough water and if you have practiced meditation and yoga.”
Pozniak sees value in Western medicine and the breakthroughs modern science has made in treating diseases. But she feels Western medical practitioners can learn from the philosophies of their Eastern counterparts.
“Every workplace should have yoga,” she says. “And if the insurance company will pay for it, the [healthcare] cost [to employee and employers] will be cut within a few months by at least 30%.”
Employers are in a unique position to promote these philosophies by creating benefits that focus on overall well-being and offering options that lower healthcare costs, she says. One such strategy is reference-based pricing, or a model where provider reimbursement is based on a percentage of what Medicare would typically pay the provider.
Reference-based pricing can be a confusing subject for clients and it can be difficult to convince employers to implement, Pozniak says. But she works hard to show the value to clients.
“I am so for it,” she says. “It’s so smart, I think the conversation has to continue on how we can deliver a system that makes sense, that will heal people and that will allow people to actually feel haness and then be productive and useful to society. It’s a no-brainer.”