Founded by Kristine Kassel 22 years ago, Benefits by Design, Inc. is a health insurance and employee benefits agency located in Tempe, Arizona. As an extension of our client companies' human resource departments, we help create and service employee benefits plans, maintain compliance and navigate the legal requirements of insurance and benefits.
Our name is no accident. We believe in benefits for a purpose, on purpose. Our specialty areas include medical, dental, vision, life, and disability and we represent several carriers for different types of insurance.
I got started in insurance is somewhat by accident. In college, someone I'd worked with previously met a gentleman at a garage sale who was looking for someone to do data entry for his insurance agency. I got the data entry job and ended up working for him on and off for the next eight years. Because he was an entrepreneur, I did many different jobs helping him build businesses from the ground up. This helped give me the experience and confidence to do it on my own.
When I started out on my own, I was running my business from a home office in my comfy clothes, hanging out with my 90-pound Akita, Kiko, and wondering where to find my next client. In those days I was making myself have meetings just to get out of the house and calling all my friends and contacts to see if anyone needed insurance. Realizing that I was ready for a different approach, I first parted with my convertible BMW in order to invest in growing the business. I also started establishing connections and ties to my community, becoming involved with NAWBO and other organizations. It seemed difficult at that time, but these steps started me on the direction to get where we are today.
Twenty two years later, we have come a long way. I have a beautiful office in Tempe with a large conference room, three employees, around 150 group clients, and several individual/family clients. I never dreamed of owning my own business, especially starting at 28 years old! It is amazing how it all has happened, and all the networking, relationships, and friendships along the way came together to build the business. My business became successful because of our clients giving us the opportunity to help them each and every day as their benefits department. Oh, and let's not forget that, in addition to building a business, I actually had time to meet my husband, Jon! Thank you so much for believing in Benefits by Design and continuing to help me reach our goals.
A Tempe native and Arizona State University graduate, Kristine has strong Arizona roots. In addition to her formal education, she also holds the industry designation Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) and is a Leading Producer Roundtable (LPRT with NAHU).
Community is an important aspect of Kristine's life and a key value for her. Active on the ASU National Alumni Board and Council and Charter 100, she is also a National Board Member for the SBA Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Board representing Region IX.
Outside the boardroom, Kristine enjoys her time as a pet therapy team member for Gabriel's Angels and was a past chair for the organization. She has also been involved in several other volunteer organizations, including Tempe Leadership Class XXVI, Tempe Chamber of Commerce (past chair), Arizona Small Business Association (past chair), and the Phoenix Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (past president).
Kristine is a strong believer in industry involvement, to both stay informed and help influence change. She has been a member of several local advisory councils, including Delta Dental, Aetna, BCBS, and Lifewise as well as various committees with the Department of Insurance. And she's held leadership positions with the National Association of Health Underwriters both locally and nationally.
Kristine's community involvement has not gone unnoticed as she's won several awards, including the Tempe Business Woman of the Year, NAHU Distinguished Service Award, NAWBO Business Owner of the Year, ASBA Member of the Year, and Phoenix Business Journal's 40 under 40 and Outstanding Business Woman. She has also been honored as a finalist for the Tempe Chamber Business of Excellence and the ATHENA Award.
Currently residing in Ahwatukee with her husband Jon and two dogs. Her daughter Shelby is currently at Colorado State University's Veterinarian School. She enjoys include bike riding, golfing, hiking, and relaxing with friends and family.
Phoenix Business Journal