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  • PensionPro of the Month: Nova 401(K) Associates

    Karen Smith and Arasely Valdez

    Cyber security caught a sleepy industry by surprise. A few years ago, TPAs across the country were scrambling to understand cyber trends and ensure that the way business was always conducted (via email and telephone) was not contributing to a chink in the company’s cyber armor.

    Nova 401(k) Associates, a Texas based TPA, has been in the business for 20 years and has recently transformed the entire company’s notion of customer service around security. “We had to change our culture to be akin to banking. Nobody cares about convenience if your security is breached,” explains Nova 401(k) Associates President, Karen Smith. “For years, TPA companies measured themselves and each other in terms of speed. How responsive are we to clients? This actually worked against us when we were trying to implement the idea that customer service is worthless without security.”

    This type of change required two key areas of focus: people and technology. Arasely Valdez, COO, highlighted that changing client behavior when it comes to sending SSNs via email is an ongoing challenge. “People are used to doing business the way they have always done it. We knew that we would have to be resolute when it came to changing not only our employee behaviors but also our customers.” Nova 401(k) Associates have been using PensionPro for 7 years and explain, “PlanSponsorLink allows our clients to securely self-service; this is a huge advantage in terms of security focused customer service and efficiency. We no longer work with clients who don’t have an email address.”

    “The people side of the equation extends beyond our employees too; we had to thoroughly review our cyber insurance partners, too. Our growth and enhanced operations had significantly changed our needs.” Both Karen and Arasely invested significant time and resources when becoming a more cyber-resilient organization. “There were a lot of late nights reading a lot of fine print,” jokingly laments Valdez.

    A technology driven future is a certainty for TPAs and companies like Nova 401(k) Associates are ready for the evolution. “We have a technology wish list that never shrinks; if you don’t evolve you won’t make it,” declared Smith and Valdez in unison.