David Baer ’18 @ National Penn Insurance

Posted on Posted in Externships, Student Contributor, Summer Opportunities

Over my two-day externship experience, I was privileged enough to gain a whole new perspective on the benefits consulting department in health care. I have no idea what I want to pursue towards later on in my career, but having an opportunity like this one to shadow knowledgeable and helpful individuals in a particular field greatly helped give me a better understanding of the work place which I could find myself in one day. I had the pleasure of shadowing Pete Kareha, a Gettysburg College alum and once a Gettysburg College Men’s Soccer captain, along with other successful individuals whom all worked for National Penn Insurance.

Pete Kareha is an extremely successful individual who has been working at National Penn Insurance for a few years. He recently worked in Philadelphia as well as taught in China for nine months. I started off my externship experience with grabbing coffee with him at a nearby coffee shop. My first question I asked Pete was how he ended up being in the position he is now in. He told me that no one ever grows up saying that they’re going to be a benefits consultant.

The one thing he knew was that in some way he wanted to help the individuals around him. He later on told me that, to break it down in the simplest sense, benefits consulting involves managing the cost and competitiveness of benefits plans of Human Resource employees. It is important that you keep the benefits plan competitive yet at the same time not super expensive. It is Pete’s job to find that balancing beam and can come up with a plan that is both competitive yet cost efficient. Being an economic and mathematics major, Pete single handedly added the analytics department to National Penn Insurance. This lets employees of National Penn Insurance show their clients rock hard data which exemplifies the importance of a specific benefits plan that they came up with for the client. Pete also showed me different forms of gamification and incentives and how he uses these methods to create these diverse plans for specific clients.

Pete stressed that no matter what line of business you work for, the best kind of consultant is one who either knows all the answers for the client or at least can point the clients in the right direction to someone who can answer these questions for them, and that is why Pete is so good at his job. Pete is very helpful to all of his clients and cares deeply about their living status. I was fortunate enough to gain a better understanding in a part of the business world that I had never experienced before.