Technology-enabled brokerage platform empowers local independent agents to better serve the unique health needs of older adults
NEW YORK, NY—March 02, 2021 – Spark Advisors, a technology-enabled brokerage that partners with independent agents to deliver a concierge service for navigating retirement benefits, today announced its nation-wide launch with $3.6 million in funding led by Primary Ventures. Additional participation came from Vine Ventures and Torch Capital.
Spark is transforming how millions of consumers not only enroll in Medicare, but make the most of their retirement benefits. The company partners with licensed independent agents who have great client relationships but often lack the bandwidth or resources to thoroughly engage them. Spark handles agents’ marketing, sales support, back office, and compliance requirements, and it gives agents a platform for omnichannel client engagement under the Spark Membership, a concierge consumer service that leads to more engaged and retained clients, as well as new referral and cross-sell opportunities.
“Enrolling in Medicare is just the first step in a retirement journey. There are huge classes of meaningful and predictable problems that come up after enrollment – such as finding an in-network specialist, understanding an opaque billing statement, and, critically for today, figuring out how to access COVID treatments and vaccines. Each of these problems is an opportunity to build trust,” said James Jiang, co-founder and CEO of Spark. “By tackling these problems, often when no one else will, we are building not only a leading Medicare brokerage, but our clients’ trusted advisor for all things retirement.”
Medicare Distribution Channel
More than 20 million Medicare beneficiaries work with independent agents today, representing the largest distribution channel for Medicare. Technology companies have historically worked to replace the independent agent, not support them. As a result, agents often use fragmented tools and paper processes, creating friction that takes time away from clients. This is a missed opportunity to build on the trust agents already have with their clients.
The Spark platform gives agents everything they need to run a modern agency, with quoting & enrollment, marketing, client engagement, and compliance all in one place. The platform standardizes client health and benefits data to automate and personalize member services, such as generating automatic plan and drug cost comparisons or recommending supplemental benefits, helping Spark and agent partners go above and beyond a traditional agents’ purview.
Spark is currently licensed in 18 states and contracted with all the major Medicare, life insurance, and supplemental health insurance carriers serving the retiree market. Since launch, the company is already serving over three thousand members as their trusted retirement advisor.
“This is an industry overdue for digital modernization. Medicare beneficiaries maintain a strong preference for human advisors, but those advisors lack modern tools to help drive their business and better serve their clients. Spark offers an ally in their corner to help these agents grow,” said Brad Svrluga, Co-Founder and General Partner at Primary Venture Partners. “By offering human agents the tools they need, Spark not only reaches clients at scale but also honors and deepens relationships that already exist with a modern, digital platform.”
The investment will help Spark recruit hundreds of new agents and serve thousands more highly engaged members. The company is expanding its consumer roadmap into more health and personal finance support areas while adding to its suite of agent tools.
Spark’s mission is to make consumers feel at peace and protected along their retirement journey with a more human advisor relationship. With a network of local, expert agents powered by Spark’s agent platform, Spark provides concierge-level service for retirees to maximize their benefits and stay in control of their health. When it comes to health, Spark believes everyone deserves a personal advocate they can turn to for trusted advice. For more information, visit www.sparkadvisors.com.