Benefits Advisory Service, a Forest Hills firm that has been providing expertise in health insurance and employee benefits to local employers for the past 25 years, recently merged with OneGroup, an insurance and risk management firm, headquartered in Syracuse.
Sher Sparano, president and founder of Benefits Advisory Service, explained that she had made the move in order to offer her clients a greater range of benefits and resources that extend to HR consulting, property and casualty insurance, and retirement plans.
“We felt that teaming up with OneGroup was the best way for us to take advantage of the latest developments and innovations in this ever-changing industry,” she said.
As OneGroup Benefits Advisory Service, the firm will retain its focus and priority on the “human element,” which has been a hallmark of the company’s identity over the past two decades. Sparano places an emphasis on education that supports the employees understanding of their benefits package.
“The bottom line is greater employee comfort with their benefits and stronger loyalty to their employer,” said Sparano. “There are lots of really complex products that didn’t even exist when I started the business, including Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, to name just a few.
“Helping employers clarify the programs and the cost-to-benefit of each is absolutely essential,” she added.
She further pointed out that because of increasing regulations and compliance issues, it’s more important than ever to work closely with the Human Resources staff and that all information is clearly communicated to employees as required by law.
This is critical because Human Resources has responsibility for everything from payroll to hiring and firing, from benefits to corporate rules and regulations, and pensions to 401(k)s.
Sparano expects the merger to be a tremendous success because OneGroup Benefits Advisory Service may not offer expanded resources such as lawyers, actuaries, underwriters, and HR specialists, and have access to OneGroup’s team of more than 170 experts and specialists thoroughly experienced in risk management, commercial insurance, retirement administration, human resources and benefits consulting.
“Of course, the human element will always remain uppermost with us,” Sparano said.
Sher Sparano is vice president of OneGroup Benefits Advisory Service, 70-20 108th Street in Forest Hills. For more information, visit onegroup.com.