John M. Word III
The Word & Brown Companies

John M. Word III is renowned for transforming the California insurance broker’s role in the Small Group health benefits marketplace through his pioneering technological and marketing advances since 1972.

Together with Edward J. “Rusty” Brown Jr., John Word co-founded the Word & Brown General Agency in 1985. Marketing and distributing health plans through California’s huge brokerage community, the company grew to become the largest independent small group health distributor in the nation by 1986. That same year, the company launched the nation’s first COBRA administration operation, sensing that employers needed assistance and qualified support with federal COBRA laws.

John and Rusty launched CaliforniaChoice®, a groundbreaking private health insurance exchange for small businesses, in 1996. The enterprise empowers small businesses and their employees to select coverage from multiple health plans within a single program.

A highly sought-after speaker and collaborator, John has authored numerous articles, conducted classes, and delivered keynote addresses to vast audiences. His credentials include Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Registered Health Underwriter (RHU), and Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC). In 2022, John received the Harold R. Gordon Memorial Award as one of two persons of the year honored by the National Association of Health Underwriters (now known as the National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals).