- Robert L. Hughes, REBC, RHU, LUTCF, AIF®; Employee Benefits Specialist
Robert, a graduate from Michigan State University, has over 26 years of experience as an Employee Benefits Consultant. Before forming Advantage Benefits Group, Robert was head of Grand Rapids Holland Insurance Agency’s employee benefits division and was also past president of The Grand Rapids Association of Life Underwriters. Robert is a frequent speaker on employee benefit issues, and has spoken internationally. Recently, Robert was appointed by the Governor as a commissioner on the Michigan Certificate of Need (CON) Commission. Robert has been serving as a Big Brother for 14 years. He is also on the board of the West Michigan Sports Commission and is a proud Junior Achievement Instructor at Burton Heights Elementary School. Robert was a prior chairman on the Grand Rapids Chambers Committee for Health Care and Human Resources. He is also a member of The International Million Dollar Round Table, and qualifies as Top of the Table. Robert enjoys racing sailboats and co-founded a pro cycling team and is an avid rider.
- Kurt B. Swardenski, REBC, RHU; Employee Benefits Specialist
Kurt joined Advantage Benefits Group in 2002 after 15 years on the carrier side of the business with The Travelers and Aetna. As Director of Sales and Customer Relations at Aetna, Kurt led both local and regional teams managing the benefit programs for over 75 large, key account customers. Kurt became a partner at Advantage Benefits Group in 2009 and has almost 25 years of experience designing and implementing cost effective benefit plans for employers ranging in size from 2 to 60,000 employees. Kurt is a graduate of Bradley University and has earned the professional designations of Registered Health Underwriter and Registered Employee Benefits Consultant. Kurt spends his leisure time with his wife and three sons playing golf, hockey and coaching soccer.
- Toby D. Tucker, CMFC: Employee Benefits Specialist
Before joining Advantage Benefits Group in 2006, Toby was the head of a local agency’s Employee Benefits Division. Toby has over 6 years of experience specializing in investment and financial analysis for both individuals, and employer sponsored plans. Toby is the President-Elect of Lansing-National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Toby is also a qualifying member of The Million Dollar Round Table.
- Michael J. Cutlip, CEBS; Employee Benefits Specialist
Providing creative, competitive employee benefit programs designed for long term success has been Mike’s focus for over 20 years. Using his self funding, underwriting and communication skills, he develops programs that help his clients effectively manage cost. By assisting employees in making the best plan decisions through one-on-one counseling, he adds value by increasing employee appreciation and value in their benefit program. Mike is highly experienced in plan designs for health plans that use multiple employee options, provide employees with real choices and have the logistical complications of employees in multiple locations. His passion is educating client employees about the value and use of plans with Health Savings Accounts and saving for retirement in their 401(k); making ABG clients leaders in HSA satisfaction and cost savings. Mike has worked on projects for clients with as few as 10 and as many as 15,000 employees. A graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Finance and an emphasis in mathematics, Mike is also a member of the Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, coaching, playing softball, water skiing, cross country skiing and MSU sports.
- Chelsey L. Koster, Employee Benefits Specialist
A new addition to Advantage Benefits Group, Chelsey started in March of 2011. A recent graduate of Grand Valley State University, she obtains a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Communications. While attending GVSU Chelsey completed internships for both Spectrum Health and the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids. Throughout both internships Chelsey was responsible for marketing wellness products to clients, conducting health screenings and assisting with general wellness promotion. Chelsey's goal at Advantage Benefits is to create competitive employee benefit programs for clients to control costs that employees will value and appreciate. In her free time Chelsey enjoys spending time with her husband, Zach, and their faithful dogs, Pixie and Lola, running and coaching soccer.
- Jessie Estep, Senior Account Manager
Jessie started with Advantage Benefits Group in January 2006, after graduating from Grand Valley State University. While at GVSU, she worked directly with the Human Resource Director formulating, developing and helping to implement GVSU's benefits plans. In her current role at Advantage Benefits Group, Jessie handles both self-funded and fully-insured medical groups. This includes implementation, renewals and data analysis. She also assists with solving day to day claim or billing concerns and employee meetings. Jessie strives to give her clients a direct, one-point contact for their medical plan questions and needs. Jessie and her husband welcomed a little boy in May, 2010. Outside of work, Jessie's enjoys any activity that involves her family. She also likes to garden, bike, and work on home improvement projects.
- Misty Cabrera, Account Manager
Misty joined Advantage Benefits Group in 2010 after graduating from Grand Valley State University with a double Major in Finance and Management (emphasis on Human Resources). While attending college she worked for two years in the Human Resources Benefits Office at GVSU. While working in the Benefits Office, Misty was responsible for answering coverage questions, processing enrollments and resolving claim issues. At Advantage Benefits Group, Misty handles medical renewals for both large and small, self funded and fully insured clients. She acts as an extension to the human resource departments for her clients by resolving employee claims, processing enrollments and answering eligibility questions. Her goal is to provide service to clients that add value to their company and benefits plans while promoting utilization of all that Advantage Benefits Group has to offer. Misty enjoys spending time with family, watching movies and being outdoors.
- Jessica Bingham, Account Manager
After graduating from Western Michigan University in 2006, Jessica moved to Oregon and became a Wellness Event Coordinator for a company that organized Corporate Health and Wellness Events. She joined Advantage Benefits Group in December 2009 as the Wellness and Client Services Coordinator. Recently she was promoted to be an Account Manager and will be working with small, fully insured groups. Jessica's responsibilities include preparing medical renewals, solving claim and billing issues as well as answering any questions clients may have in regard to their benefits. Jessica enjoys spending time with her husband and Kiba their Akita. They enjoy camping, traveling, hiking and being outdoors together.
- Carrie Morgan, Account Manager
New to Advantage Benefits Group, Carrie started in September of 2011. Carrie graduated from Grand Valley State University in May of 2011 majoring in Public Administration with an emphasis in local economic development. While attending Grand Valley Carrie completed her internship at Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids in the Disability Management Services Department. While working at Goodwill Carrie was responsible for enrolling new participants into the program and conducting initial interviews. At Advantage Benefits Group, Carrie handles renewals for ancillary and individual coverage. Outside of work Carrie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, shopping, and taking walks with her dog Buster.
- Shelby Keyworth, Wellness and Client Services
New to Advantage Benefits Group, Shelby started in February of 2011. Shelby graduated from Central Michigan University in December of 2009 obtaining a major in Exercise Science and minor in Nutrition. While attending CMU Shelby completed an internship at Saint Mary’s Hospital in their Cardiac Rehab department developing exercise programs and completing stress tests for patients. Since graduating, Shelby has worked at a gym creating exercise programs and promoting nutrition and at Priority Health in their Medicare Department. At Advantage Benefits Group Shelby is responsible for generating the ABG weekly newsletter, creating and managing client Benergy websites, designing materials to promote wellness, and producing monthly 401(k) reports for clients. Her goal as the Wellness and Client Services Coordinator is to help employers develop Wellness Programs that will increase employee morale and create a healthy work environment! Shelby enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and shopping.