Employee benefits consulting firm Hill, Chesson & Woody is moving from Chapel Hill to larger offices in Durham to accommodate its continuing expansion.
The company added 8 employees last year, pushing its total staff to 51, and anticipates adding another 14 workers in 2013, said Todd Yates, managing partner. Hill Chesson currently has two employees in Greensboro and one in Wilmington, where it opened a new office in October; the rest are based in the Triangle.
Yates and partner Skip Woody credited the firm's "holistic" approach for its 16 percent jump in revenue last year despite the struggling economy.
"We are actually growing against the grain," Yates said.
Many of the company's competitors focus on pitting health insurers against each to get a better price, an approach they contend is generating diminishing returns as the number of major health insurers in North Carolina has dwindled in recent years.
Hill Chesson, by contrast, focuses first on negotiating with a client's current insurer to get a better price based on its in-depth analysis of claims and costs.
"Our goal is to negotiate a renewal without taking it to market," Woody said. "Our model allows employers to manage their plans in an environment where there may only be one or two or three viable" health insurers for their specific needs.
At the same time, Hill Chesson works with its clients on employee wellness programs and other steps that can rein in employee healthcare costs.
Hill Chesson touts that its approach enabled it to reduce premium increases requested by its clients' insurers by 45.3 percent in 2011 while maintaining the same level of benefits. For 22.5 percent of its clients, it was able to convert a proposed price increase into a reduction in price.
Hill Chesson, which has roots that go back to 1971, intends to move Feb. 4 into 17,000-square-feet of space on Emperor Boulevard off of Page Road in Durham. That's a little more than double the amount of space it currently occupies in Chapel Hill.