Daily News

Robert Cummings Nominated for 2017 EBN Innovator Award

NORTHAMPTON — Robert Cummings, CEO and founder of American Benefits Group (ABG), has been nominated for the 2017 EBN Innovator Award by Employee Benefit News, a leading national benefits-industry publication serving 106,800 senior-level benefits decision makers across all platforms. This audience includes human-resources executives and benefits directors, whose sphere of responsibility and influence spans health and retirement plans, voluntary benefits, legal and regulatory compliance, employee training and development, benefits procurement, technology, strategic direction, and finance.

Cummings founded ABG in 1987 and was an early adopter and innovator of flexible spending accounts in the late 1980s. The company added COBRA administration services and commuter benefit accounts in the 1990s, and health savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements when they came into being in the early 2000s. For decades, ABG focused exclusively on working with Western Mass. employers, providing full benefits strategy, funding, communications, and administrative solutions. The company began to focus on a national expansion of its specialty employee-benefits administrative services beginning in 2007.

Today, ABG serves a diverse base of more than 1000 employer clients nationwide from its home offices near downtown Northampton. ABG’s employer clients range from small and mid-size businesses to high-profile Fortune 1000 employers and global organizations, covering all of the continental U.S.

Recognition on the national stage is not new for ABG. In 2014, the Institute for Health Care Consumerism presented the company with a Superstar Innovator Award, and in 2015 ABG was recognized by its platform provider, consumer account technology giant Alegeus Technologies, as its national Customer Service Champion. ABG also serves as the preferred platform partner for consumer-account-based plans and COBRA administration services for NFP, one of the largest global insurance and corporate benefits brokers and consultants.

Cummings has been on the leading edge of technology innovation since before the Internet, as ABG was one of the first benefits administrators in the nation to adopt debit-card payment technologies. The ABG debit card allows consumers to pay expenses from their consumer pre-tax accounts directly at the point of service, and auto-substantiates the majority of their transactions. ABG was one of the first adopters of web-based participant portals and mobile applications that offer instant account access and management anytime, anywhere. In 2010, ABG was again at the forefront of the market with its introduction of a live participant-feedback review portal, where participants could rate their experience and post live reviews that are shared online. Basically a private Yelp review and rating portal for its own clients, the company has leveraged this to garner thousands of five-star feedback reviews.

Working with the top global benefits consulting and brokerage organizations like Mercer, Lockton, HUB, Gallagher, and NFP, as well as leading independent benefits consulting and brokerage firms from across the country, ABG has been able to achieve consistent growth. In 2016, the company grew revenue by a record 35%, and it has achieved compound annual growth since 2010 of more than 20% per year.