Out of the Box
Louise and Jay Norris, owners of Insurance Shoppers Inc., blog about the ins and outs of health reform.
Broker to Blogger
By Rebecca Jones
Photography By Barry Staver
Jay Norris freely admits that if he weren't so accident-prone, he never would have become an insurance broker, and never would have become such a well-informed and insightful blogger on health reform.
"I've always done a lot of stupid things where I've gotten myself hurt and had to deal with the insurance," says Norris. "After dealing with a lot of different health insurance claims, I got interested in the business."
Ten years ago, he hired on with an insurance company and then started his own insurance brokerage after earning a business degree from the University of Wyoming. Brokers help people find coverage and offer policies from multiple insurance companies.
Today, he and his wife, Louise, own and run Insurance Shoppers Inc., a brokerage based in their home in Wellington, north of Fort Collins. Their website – www.healthinsurancecolorado.net – is equal parts conversation and marketplace. It is the home of Colorado Health Insurance Insider, a blog written by the Norrises that walks readers through the complicated ins and outs of health care reform, especially as it affects insurance.
"I'm not a salesperson," Norris says. "I like to talk about insurance. I like insurance and risk. That's what I enjoy most, explaining it to people."
Since its debut in July 2007, the blog has covered topics ranging from health exchanges to the demise of COBRA subsidies to low enrollment in high-risk pools. Some weeks the couple posts a new column every day. Some weeks, when they get busy with other things, the blog is updated just twice a week.
"There's just so much out there to write about – we really could write something every day," he says.
Norris acknowledges that while he started the blog, his wife now does 99 percent of the writing.
"She's really the better writer," he says. "But we do collaborate on everything. We both look at every single post."
While the blog does serve to promote the couple's business, it is also useful for anyone looking for insights into the health care system and its reform. Opinions on the blog can be lively, and Norris encourages comments, even from those who disagree.
"Most of the other experts in the health care field have found our blog, and we get a lot of comments from others around the country," he says. "Sometimes, our opinions get changed" by what is shared.