As a passionate individual committed to helping people, Eleni Carras started working in the insurance industry at an early age. She assists employers in providing comprehensive and suitable health insurance plans for their employees.
Today as the Vice President at Alliant Insurance Services, Eleni understands that delivering competitive benefits solutions can be challenging for each employer, whether it be across industries or year-over-year within the same company. She considers the market forces and other factors that impact employees’ livelihood to provide the best solution.
Eleni’s unique perspective on her work has helped her become a trailblazer in the insurance industry. Her approach to her work is rooted in her belief that insurance is about being human and humane. She strives to bring enthusiasm, vulnerability, and honesty to everything she does. With a focus on innovation, analytics, and developing new leaders, Eleni is committed to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the insurance industry and helping her clients thrive in an ever-changing landscape.
Eleni knows it’s a complicated game, given the shifting legislative requirements, varying point solutions, and fluctuating hiring markets that coalesce into a Gordian knot of complications for each client annually. However, she is motivated to cut that knot as smoothly and efficiently as possible every time, ensuring her clients receive the best potential benefits and solutions.
Let us learn more about her journey.
Making the Mark
After responding to a newspaper ad, Eleni Carras started in the insurance business 27 years ago as an assistant to a broker. She initially needed to understand the significance of the upcoming HIPAA legislation. However, with her mentor’s guidance, she developed a technical approach that has proved beneficial as the benefits paradigm has changed over time.
One of Eleni’s greatest pleasures as an insurance professional is conducting employee meetings, where she can help families grasp the value of their insurance program. She believes in keeping the benefits simple enough for everyone to understand, especially those for whom English is a second language. Eleni has received five internal awards in her first seven years with Alliant, including three Leadership awards, one Innovation award, and Employee of the Year. She is honored to represent Alliant’s Pacific Northwest office in the national innovation lab, where she can better explore new ideas to serve clients in today’s ever-changing environment.
Eleni is fortunate to work with employers with a forward-thinking approach to their businesses. Her fundamental strategy is ensuring that the leadership team shares the same goals. As the executives’ trusted thought partner, Eleni helps them see the big picture and how their decisions impact their stakeholders. Once a direction is decided upon, her clients know that Eleni will be alongside them throughout the process, monitoring progress and ensuring they reach milestones. Beyond her managerial position, Eleni genuinely tries to understand and anticipate employees’ demands, further strengthening her ability to provide valuable insights and solutions to her clients.
More is Possible
Alliant is a highly entrepreneurial organization that enables its employees to succeed. In an ever-changing and evolving industry, Alliant promotes a dynamic, collaborative culture where team members are given the freedom to think creatively and deliver the best possible results for clients and partners.
Alliant empowers people to achieve exceptional results and live healthily. It prizes a collaborative work culture where ideas are shared. Eleni says, “Leadership has an open-door policy where everyone’s voice is heard, and our team members are given the resources and flexibility to perform at the highest level day in, day out.”
Eleni’s first boss imparted a valuable lesson that she has held close to her heart throughout her career. She firmly believes that business is all about building relationships and connecting with people on a personal level. While she understands the importance of structure and efficiency, she always remembers that there’s a human being on the other side of the conversation. To her, bringing passion and excitement to her work is just as important as being honest and open. Eleni believes that insurance is all about being humane and empathetic at its core. In her personal life, Eleni sets a goal to write 100 handwritten cards every year, which brings her immense joy. She enjoys expressing gratitude and appreciation to others and finds it incredibly fulfilling.
With the help of technology, Eleni and her team at Alliant have significantly enhanced their analytics capabilities over the past decade. The amount of data available now was unimaginable just ten years ago, and the team leverages this data to gain insights into market trends and member behavior patterns. Eleni and her team can better predict and recommend specific solutions for their clients by analyzing the available data. They connect the dots, examine the information closely, and present actionable insights to their clients. This thorough approach enables Alliant to provide tailored solutions that address their clients’ unique circumstances.
Driving the Change
In the insurance industry, a significant shift is happening that brings positive change – the emergence of women and people of color in leadership roles. Traditionally dominated by white men, the industry is now experiencing a more focused effort on developing leaders with diverse backgrounds and life experiences. Eleni, for instance, is a first-generation American and a woman, and her unique perspective brings a valuable contribution to the table. This evolution is beneficial for the next generation of leaders and the industry as a whole.
Passing On the Knowledge
Eleni’s first boss taught her an important lesson that she still applies today: don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Eleni believes that making new mistakes is crucial for personal growth. The insurance industry offers many opportunities to take risks and try new things. Eleni encourages others to be willing to fail and to have a mindset that welcomes challenges.
She advises finding internal and external partners who share similar values but can offer different perspectives. With the right mindset and support system, taking risks can lead to meaningful growth and success both personally and professionally.