Wesley Platt has a personal goal to become a lifetime planning resource for his clients. His firm, Financial Works, LLC, in Columbus provides employee benefits and a long list of products and services for employers of all sizes.
“The fundamentals that really drive us are concern and compassion for our fellow man,” he says. “We’re here to help people. We want to help them cast a vision of what they want. We help crystallize their goals and show them how to get there.”
To that end, Platt is committed to education, feeling clients must understand the products and services Financial Works provides. He represents a range of clients from a one-man carpenter shop to employers with 50 to 500 employees in manufacturing, healthcare, professional offices and non-profit organizations.
“We cover a lot and do a world of different things,” he said. “Our clients don’t have full human resources departments, so we help them keep everything in compliance, and we design benefits packages that work best for their employees.”
Meeting specific dynamics
Platt stresses the importance of tailor-made benefits packages to meet the specific dynamics of his various clients. Once those packages are determined, he takes them to the market made up of primary insurance carriers that have the expertise to deliver.
“There are a small number of qualified companies in dental, disability and group health,” he said. “People might be surprised to know there are very few. They can be counted on one hand.”
From his years of experience, Platt knows where to send those proposals. But before proposals are developed, Financial Works goes through a series of steps that begins with meeting with employers. Often employee surveys are used to give feedback to employers. They then develop requests for proposals and market them. Platt acts as a broker for benefits packages, and has learned who can and who can’t provide what’s needed.
“Benefit design has to center around what the employer is trying to do,” he said. “For instance, a nursing home may be trying to retain employees. They are all very competitive for workers. The workers can go anywhere, so it boils down to the best place to work and the benefits package. We must sit down with the employer and find out about the workforce.”
Platt feels it’s a matter of employers understanding what’s important to employees and zeroing in on that. “Hopefully, they care about their employees and we can establish ways to accomplish their goals,” he said.
That’s where spending time with clients (employers) is a big part of what Financial Works does before plans are developed.
“We look at the various plans and carry them to the employers to review. That’s followed by the process inside their company. We have to find that balance with them, but ultimately it comes down to sticker price,” Platt said. “Then we have one-on-one enrollment seminars.”
Financial Works was started in 1988 and has six employees with multi-faceted expertise that includes experience in medical offices. That expertise also includes retirement and 401(k) plans, disability income insurance, pension payout alternatives, pension transfer/rollovers and other services. Jack Gordman of Gordman Insurance shares offices with Financial Works and represents group health sources.
“We can do it all,” Platt says. “We set plans up and offer follow-through services. We don’t say ‘here it is, good luck.’ We have annual employee benefits meetings too to stay in touch with our clients.”
Platt, 48, is a Columbus native and worked in a family business before entering the human resources field for an industrial plant with 600 employees. “I quickly saw a big need for this type of service,” he recalls, “and saw that benefits were scattered and had no cohesion.”
Thus, Financial Works was born and has grown in its almost 20 years of existence, fueled by policies of tailoring benefits packages and making sure clients know what they’re getting.
“My goal is to provide families and business owners with assistance in building their financial freedom” he said. “I use my experience, knowledge and training to help meet clients’ goals.”
Platt has been a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors since 1989, and is licensed to sell securities, life and financial products in Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana and Georgia. Additionally, he is a registered representative of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and MetLife Securities Inc. and is a Life Underwriter’s Training Council Fellow.
On the personal side, he and his wife, Dianne, are the parents of three adult children. Platt’s hobbies include flying, travel, fitness training and gardening. He also has a heart for missions through his active membership in the First Baptist Church of Columbus. He serves on the board of directors of Global Outreach Foundation, is a past-president of the Columbus Rotary Club and is a member of Possum Town Toastmasters.
Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at firstname.lastname@example.org.