Rauser closed his office in a high-rise building in
downtown Milwaukee and opened a location in the
Mequon Pavilions shopping center.
Photo by Mark Justesen
In his more than three decades working in
the insurance industry, Jon Rauser has undeniably
witnessed many changes.
Last year’s implementation of President
Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act was one of the most
significant game-changers. But through the initial
murkiness of the law and its implications, Rauser
crafted a clear vision for his business.
For most of its existence, The Rauser
Agency operated within a high-rise office building in
downtown Milwaukee, primarily selling health insurance
plans to small employers.
“My bread-and-butter client has been
employers with around 30 employees,” said Rauser, who
opened his agency in 1981. “But when I saw new
opportunities, I decided to close my fancy-shmancy
office and make some changes.”
In October 2013, Rauser turned his
business on its head, betting that he could carve out a
niche by selling individual and family health insurance
plans to people buying through the marketplace that was
created out of the ACA.
“For Joe lunch bucket, it’s like speaking
Greek,” Rauser said of the process involved in selecting
an individual or family health care plan.
Rauser, a town of Grafton resident, has focused his
business on helping individuals get health coverage
through the Affordable Care Act.
Photo by Mark Justesen
As he made significant tweaks to his
business model, Rauser opened two smaller offices, each
with storefront accessibility. Rauser has maintained a
presence in downtown Milwaukee, but also opened his
first satellite office in Mequon.
The changes, he said, are overtures to
his new clientele. While he still works with small
businesses, Rauser said he and his fellow agents are
increasingly helping individual persons wade through the
complexities of the ACA.
With the ACA still in its infancy, Rauser
said he has carved out a niche for his business. While
brokers frequently sell insurance to individuals and
families to cover home and automobile ownership, Rauser
said there still are relatively few who do so with
When asked why he chose to open a second
office in Mequon, Rauser offered up several reasons -
including one of logistics. He is a town of Grafton
resident, and his commute has been reduced several days
But Rauser said he also saw an
opportunity and wanted to strike while the proverbial
iron was hot. He asserted there are fewer brokers in the
suburbs who are offering health insurance.
“Mequon has turned out to be an excellent
spot for us,” he said. “(The Mequon Pavilions shopping
center) is a high-traffic destination. It’s a highly
Despite building from the ground up in
Ozaukee County, Rauser said there has been a high degree
of interest - particularly in the new year as more
people are switching from traditional health plans to
those covered under the provisions of the ACA
Eventually, Rauser said he would like to
open additional offices. He named Brookfield and
Franklin as two other communities on his wish list.
“I would like to serve all corners of the
Milwaukee metropolitan area,” Rauser said. “I think I am
onto something. There aren’t a lot of agencies doing on
what I’m doing.”
Rauser said he envisions more small
businesses ceasing offering health insurance in the road
ahead. Referring those displaced customers to new plans,
he said, can bring dividends to his business.
Health insurance consumers do not pay an
additional fee for signing up with a plan through a
broker, but Rauser and his team do get a small cut each
time they work as a middleman.
“Our services are already baked into the
premium,” Rauser said. “People pay the same premium,
regardless of whether or not they work with an agent.”
Perhaps one reason brokers have been slow
to sell ACA-compliant individual and family health
insurance products to consumers has been the
certification process. To qualify linking consumers to
the ACA marketplace, Rauser and his team had to undergo
a certificate-training course.
But for Rauser, the intensive exercise
has been a worthwhile endeavor.
“Some of the marketplace is still
evolving, and things have been changing,” he said. “We
don’t necessarily have all the answers, but we’re moving
forward. I think we’re on the right track.”