Farmer helps balance benefits, bottom line

Filed under: One on One |

* Name: Lena Farmer

* Organization: Insurance Connection International Inc.

* Position: Owner/president

* Hometown: I consider Colorado Springs my hometown. I grew up in a little town – Newark, Ohio.

* How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: 26 years, so I think I qualify as a semi-native now.

* Education: University of Maryland; majored in business

* A few words about your company: Insurance Connection, founded in Colorado Springs in 1988, is an insurance agency specializing in employee benefits. It is a relationship business. With the rising cost of health insurance impacting businesses bottom line, I am able to work with owners regarding benefits they provide to their employee and find the most cost effective products.

* Recent accomplishments: Developed a unique employee benefit program for members of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce bringing benefit and human resource management through technology to employers. I have been a board trustee with Memorial Hospital for nine years, and the past president of the Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters.

* Biggest career break: Founding Insurance Connection and developing the chamber health plan program. Both have been challenging and rewarding.

* The toughest part of your job: Keeping up with the legislative changes in the health care industry and delivering continuous rate increases to my clients.

* Someone you admire: My mother for her creativity that she passed on to me, and my father for his wisdom. He once said to me, “Always do your best and leave things in better shape than when you arrived.” I have always tried to live up to that.

* About your family: I am widowed, and, as a single parent I raised three boys in Colorado Springs. I lost my youngest son in a car accident three years ago but two of my sons still live here and love it as much as I do. I grew up in a very large family and have been lucky to have a brother and sister who live in Denver.

* Something else you’d like to accomplish: I have a passion for photography and would like to start a side business (it’s my mother’s creative side).

* How your business will change in the next decade: It is already changing with the chamber program in place. Technology, which is a big part of the program, takes benefits to a new dimension and will help employers manage their employee benefits. This is now where I am concentrating my efforts.

* What book are you currently reading? Unfortunately most of what I read is trade material but I enjoy John Gresham novels.

* What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? It is a beautiful city but I would probably slow down growth so infrastructure can catch up.