OUR TEAM

The team at Benefit Concepts has a wide range of experience and deep industry knowledge. The combined experience of our brokers, agents, and staff members allows us to offer you innovative solutions. As a team, we share a passion for helping you make sense of the insurance industry. We strive to find benefits that fit your needs and budget. As a team, we work together for you!

CAROLINE J. BATTEY

“Employee Benefits Specialist”

Caroline is responsible for creating and managing employee benefits programs. She works directly with Benefit Concepts’s clients to provide custom offerings that align their business needs with the ever changing complexities of the benefits’s industry. Caroline brings to our clients her broad based experience in Client Administration, Renewal Coordinator, Claims Analysis, On-line Benefit Enrollment, Implementation and Management Tools expertise, Employee Education Seminars, Agency Accounting, and New Sales. Caroline is recognized as a valued business partner by our clients and nurtures the relationships she has made over the past 7 years.

Caroline is a true Charleston native. After graduating from James Island High School she earned her BS in International Business from the College of Charleston. Prior to joining Benefits Concepts she worked in the challenging Hospitality Industry where she learned the value of service and uncompromising focus on the customer. These skills distinguish Caroline as a true professional.

What makes Caroline special when she is not serving our clients? She is passionate about traveling and has a goal of touching her feet on all 7 Continents. Five down, two to go! She is the “Mom” to Gus and Olive, her four-legged Corgi side kicks.

What makes Caroline special to Benefit Concepts? Caroline is highly trained, educated, and skilled in the Benefits’s industry and delights in using that knowledge to benefit the client relationships she has nurtured over the years. Caroline is not “Corporate”. She is a real person who can bring value to our most important asset, our clients.

CHRISTIE M. FULKERSON

“Personal Plans and Medicare Benefits Specialist”

Christie is responsible for Personal Plans and Medicare Transitioning. Christie advocates for individuals and families who are searching for affordable benefits, as well as clients who are transitioning to Medicare. These clients are making important personal decisions that impact their health and their financial security. They are seeking guidance through what can seem a daunting set of choices. Christie has more than a decade of experience that spans the spectrum of insurance benefits, including Life, Health, and Property and Casualty insurance. This experience matters to our clients because it is important for them to find the right medical plan that meshes with other insurances they may have. Christie knows the landscape and her employment with State Farm gave her a strong background in multiple insurance disciplines. Christie gets great satisfaction from communicating with individuals and helping them make decisions that align with their personal and family goals.

Christie, her husband Ryan, and their son and daughter, live in Charleston. Although she began her career in Indiana, in 2001 Christie set down deep roots in South Carolina. Her teenage son plays soccer for The Charleston Battery which has given their entire family the chance to travel together weekends across the South East US. With Christie’s parents in Columbia, and her sister in Atlanta, Charleston is a perfect fit.

What makes Christie special when she is not serving our clients? She enjoys interior decorating, creating family dinners, dreaming up art projects, and entertaining friends of all ages around the family pool. Her family focus is the underpinning of her decision to specialize in personal insurance benefits, because she “gets it”.

What makes Christie special to Benefits Concepts? She relates to our personal clients on an individual basis and takes the time to understand their lives, their needs, and their hopes for the future. She likes being a part of their planning and maintaining her relationships over time.

BRAD PICKENS

“Employee Benefits Specialist”

Brad Pickens

Brad is responsible for Employer Relations Development. Brad is a seasoned insurance professional and provides professional insurance advice and options to our business clients. He specializes in finding the right fit for these clients.

Brad grew up in a family of insurance professionals; its in his DNA. His own career began in 2006, working for Nationwide Insurance. He spent seven years learning and perfecting the skills for use in Personal Lines Claims, Service, and Sales. He then joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC and moved to the other side of the insurance business, Benefits. His prior expertise in Claims gave him a unique perspective on the importance of proactively having the right Benefits. “Two sides of the same coin. ” Brad managed one of BCBS retail units and gained deep knowledge in product knowledge and client flexibility. He developed strong competencies in Employer Group Products, Personal Plans, and Medicare related products. Brad continued to build his industry knowledge when he joined Allstate where he was able to focus on marketing personal insurance products as well as work site benefits.

Brad is a native of South Carolina, being born in the Upstate, raised in Raleigh, and settling in the Lowcountry in 2013.

What makes Brad special when he is not servicing our clients? Brad shares his life in Cane Bay with his wife and daughters. His wife travels to Summerville to her job as a labor and delivery nurse at Summerville Medical Center. Brad stays busy with his daughters’ activities at Cane Bay Elementary School but manages to find time for sports and travel.

What makes Brad special to Benefits Concepts? The breadth of Brad’s experience makes him invaluable to Benefits Concepts because he knows the spectrum of the industry and can help clients ask the right questions, understand the options, and make informed decisions. There can be no substitute for real world experience and current and prospective clients know that. Brad has that experience.

ELIZABETH M. YANDLE

“Employee Benefits Client Advocate and Office Manager”

Liz Yandle

Liz is responsible for being on the ”front line” when our clients have a request or need assistance with a complex billing issue. Liz has evolved from a general policy manager, since she joined Benefits Concepts in 1997, to a technical guru of complex medical claims . She is a force to be reckoned with when she is auditing large group bills and enrollment, yet for our clients she is that comforting voice on the other end of the line when help is needed. Simply stated, our clients know that she knows what she is talking about and will stand up for them when needed. That may be as simple as ordering a replacement medical card or as critical as assisting a client with a declined emergency surgical claim.

Liz creates personalized spreadsheets for our clients to help them understand their claims and is their advocate in holding the carrier responsible for legitimate administration. She has years of experience working with insurance carriers and service departments. She is known in the industry and is often the first point of contact for our clients. As Office Manager, Liz educates our clients’ new hires on their benefit program, helps with the enrollment forms, coaches clients on how to use the on-line portals, and is a trusted resource throughout the year.

Liz is a native Charlestonian. She and husband Jason have 2 children, one a student at Clemson and the other a custom tile expert. Liz loves the rural life on Johns Island. Her family are members of St. John’s Parish, where she has been a member since birth.

What makes Liz special when she is not serving our clients? Liz loves the Lowcountry, especially her rural home. She raises chickens, nurtures several dogs, and on any given day there could be a new resident in what we now call “The Zoo”. She enjoys nothing more than watch the Stono River make its way to the Sea.

What makes Liz special to Benefits Concepts? Each day the benefit industry becomes more complex. The focus of Benefits Concepts is to understand and offer the right benefits packages for our clients. But it doesn’t stop there. It is making sure that our clients receive all the benefits to which they are entitled, and Liz is a key player in making sure that happens, every time.

LINDA HIHN

“Employee Benefits Client Advocate”

Linda Hihn

Linda is responsible for processing enrollment changes, new hire enrollments, employee terminations, submitting claims, assisting with claims issues, and appealing claims to carriers. She is truly a client advocate. Linda is uniquely qualified to fulfill these duties due to a rich experience history in the industry.

Linda grew up on John’s Island and continues to live in her family home with her Father. Her early career took her a bit south and east to Hilton Head. At a Hilton Head agency she handled group quotes and claims. She then returned to Charleston to process health insurance claims for a Third Party Administrator. She transitioned to Customer Service and subsequently became a Customer Service Supervisor for Great West Life. Her knowledge base increased when Great West closed their local office and she accepted a job at a local hospital in the Patient Accounting/Insurance Department. That was a complete reversal of her former jobs of claims processing, billing and collections. But it provided her with a complete view of the benefits and claims process. That is very valuable. In 2010 she left the hospital and became a Benefit Advocate for a local insurance company , where once again she was able to provide her clients with full service claims service. In 2016 Linda completed her certifications and became a licensed insurance agent in the State of South Carolina. She joined Benefit Concepts in December of 2017 as a Benefit Advocate.

What makes Linda special when she is not servicing our clients? Linda’s dedication to her family, friends, and Johns Island community serves as an example to us all. She participates in Trident United Way’s Day of Caring. She is active in the St. Johns Parish’s church choir and is referred to as the “Choir Mom.” She has had the opportunity to travel with her choir and 2 other church choirs to Washington DC to participate in an Evening Song Service at the National Cathedral. Most recently, she initiated the “Flower Power” team at St. Johns Parish and has served as chairwoman of the Flower Altar Guild for over 20 years. Linda enjoys our local Arts community, has season tickets to both the North Charleston Pops and the Broadway series at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. She attends events at the Charleston Gaillard and has traveled near and far for additional performing arts opportunities.

What makes Linda special to Benefit Concepts? Linda has shown a passion for professional growth. Her journey to obtain her Agent License while working full time says volumes about her drive and to achieve her personal goals. Over her career Linda has worked in the jobs that encompass the entire insurance claim process, from enrollments to claims resolution. She knows how the “other side” thinks and does business. Linda brings this knowledge to Benefit Concepts and applies it in a very real manner to benefit our clients.

SARA NASH DEBIASI

“President”

Sara DeBiasi

Sara is responsible for the success of her team and her Client’s satisfaction. In addition to the day to day operations, she brings her unique background in the insurance industry to specialize in Employer Group Relations and Strategies. Sara is uniquely qualified to discuss the spectrum of Benefits and Insurance to individual clients and with her team, she is committed to personally work with them to achieve their Benefit requirements.  Sara’s business philosophy centers on differentiating Benefits Concepts from the large corporate firms that offer the “1 size fits all” view of the ever changing and highly complex world of Benefits and Insurance.

Sara has deep roots in South Carolina. She was raised in Holly Hill, SC and traveled the 75 miles to The College of Charleston for her college experience.  As a talented pianist, she earned her BA Degree in Music and History. Like most college students, she needed a part time job and in 2001 served as an intern at a local area insurance company, The Nash Agency. As most interns do, she cycled through many roles in the agency, including Customer Service, employee enrollments, re-marketing of employer-sponsored plans, individual health plans, and Medicare Sales.  In other words, she worked her way up from “the mailroom”, which made her attractive to one of the Industry’s most well known firms, Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC.  In 2006 Sara joined the corporate world of Benefits and Insurance, which has provided her with an invaluable knowledge base that she now brings to Benefits Concepts. It gives her the perspective to offer her clients a non-corporate experience with all the awareness of the large company processes.

After joining Blue Cross Blue Shield SC in 2006 Sara began a journey of varied and extensive experience.  At BCBS she serviced small groups, participated in the opening of the SC Blue Store, managed a territory of Licensed Agents in the Low Country as a Marketing Representative.  She also learned the importance of giving back to the community, a practice she continues today.  In 2012 Sara was presented an opportunity to join Benefits Concepts, which allowed her to bring her expertise to a non-corporate environment.  Her sole purpose was to develop expertise and implementation of a Medicare transition pathway for Benefits Concepts clients. Her client success and relationships made it easy for her to take the next step in her career, one that became available in 2018. The owners of Benefit Concepts decided it was time for retirement and the business was available.  Sara knew the time for her to bring her vision of service to the industry had arrived.

What makes Sara special when she is not serving her clients?  Sara and her husband, Marcus DeBiasi, are committed to Charleston and are raising their two young sons to appreciate the marshes, the beaches, the arts, the culture,  the community, and the people of this area.  This requires her off hours to be spent at swimming lessons (EVERY child needs to know how to swim), Ninja Class,  making Christmas cookies, fixing wonderful meals, arranging flowers, and even playing the piano when she gets a chance. Her community involvement has included Team Captain for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Total Resource Campaign, Board Member of the Charitable Society of Charleston, and Treasurer of the Lowcountry Association of Health Underwriters.  On Sundays Sara and her family can be found in the pews of the Circular Church, just a few steps from the altar where they were married in 2010.

What makes Sara special to Benefits Concepts?  Her commitment to her clients, to her team, to her family, and to her community.

LYNNE BERNTHAL

“Founder and Business Consultant”

Lynne Bernthal

Lynne is responsible for maintaining the long standing relationships of Benefit Concepts with their valued customers, and for guiding the transition of Benefit Concepts to its new “hand picked” owner and President, Sara Nash DeBiasi, as Lynne enters retirement. Lynne established Benefit Concepts in 1989. Prior to that, she was the Human Resource Director and Operations Manager for the Charleston County Library System. There, she interpreted and administered health plans to employees and was often frustrated by the lack of service provided by insurance companies. When she left county government in 1985 she switched careers and joined Mass Mutual Life Insurance Company. Having gained that experience, and with the memories of the Library System still in her mind, she started Benefit Concepts, Inc. Her vision was to provide the type of service and support that had not been provided to her years ago. As the company’s founder Lynne has handled many prominent clients but also helps groups with as few as two people. She also offers specialty services for more complex clients, such as those who are self-funded. Lynne’s original vision, to provide service that is unique in the insurance industry, remains the core value of Benefit Concepts under its new leadership. The new president, Sara Nash DeBiasi, was tutored by Lynne for 7 years and it has become her personal vision.

What makes Lynne special when she is not directly serving Benefit Concept’s clients? Lynne has a great need for community involvement and has served as a member of The National Association of Health Underwriters’ Leading Producers’ Round Table. Lynne has also earned other awards such as the College of Charleston School of Business and Economic Alumni Advisory Boards’ “Howard F Rudd, Jr. Business Person of the Year award. Lynne is involved in the Tri-County community by serving as past president of the College of Charleston Alumni Association.

Lynne and her husband David enjoy spending their “Off Hours” with their extended families both in Charleston and Judge Island. They are active members of St. Johns Episcopal Church. Lynne has read more books than anyone, hands down, and can surprise you with the most gourmet of meals. Her nickname is “Benne” due to her famous Benne Seed cookies.

What makes Lynne special to Benefit Concepts? Lynne’s legacy of uncompromising service to all Benefit Concepts clients will serve as the guiding light for all.

DAVID F. L. BERNTHAL

“Financial Advisor and Business Consultant”

David Bernthal

David is responsible for serving as Financial Advisor and Business Consultant to Benefit Concepts. Prior to this, he served as Vice President and Treasurer. David began his career as a professor at The Citadel, teaching economics and insurance. He then went on to teach in the Financial Planning Program at the College of Charleston. David’s background is in estate and financial planning with an emphasis on insurance. He spent 33 years with Mass Mutual where his concentration was on estate and trust analysis, business succession planning, executive benefit analysis and business insurance. He is past president of the Charleston Estate Planning Council.

What makes David special when he is not serving our clients? David has been very involved in the Kairos Prison Ministry, the Trident United Way and St. John’s Church. He and his wife Lynne enjoy spending as much time as they can on their boat, dock, or porch on Judge Island. He is a master peanut boiler and is famous for his Oyster Dressing. It’s a good bet that he will enjoy his retirement.

What makes David special to Benefit Concepts? David’s dedication to best practices in financial management has provided both clients and employees the assurance that Benefit Concepts is a fiscally sound company and will continue as such.

MARK D. NASH

“Vice President”

Mark Nash

Mark is responsible for providing insurance business acumen to the leadership of Benefit Concepts, specializing in the role of small business operations.  Mark graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Finance and Insurance. With more than 30 years in the health insurance industry Mark has lived through too many changes to count and name. Through all of these changes – both insurance carrier changes and political changes – Mark believes it remains vital that the small business owner team up with an agency that can and will provide “hands on” guidance and help. Mark believes that Big Box or Corporate Insurance  providers cannot fill this role.That is why he is insistent that Benefit Concepts continues to distinguish itself as an alternative to the Corporate model.That means real people in the Charleston office, people who are available and happy to talk with you, come to you, and see you in person. No outsourcing, no phone banks in a foreign country, no impersonal responses.

What makes Mark special to Benefit Concepts?  Mark is committed to showcase Benefit Concepts as a professional agency that has all the tools and the latest technology to cope with the changing complexities of the insurance industry. What Benefit Concepts offers to differentiate itself is truly personal service combined with a staff that has a wealth of experience that can be utilized for the benefit of its clients.

What makes Mark special when he is not serving Benefit Concepts clients?  Mark loves the outdoors and  the time he spends with his three daughters and his wife. He loves his life in Charleston and his friends and associates in Orangeburg.

Our team would love to help with your employee benefits or personal insurance needs.