Great ideas in the benefits world can wither away for want of an innovative broker. Fortu- nately for Esther Cardenas Pipoly, Mollie Lacher, and a lot of employer plan members, Pipoly and
Lacher are well-connected with insightful brokers. As
a result, the loss-of-life-advocacy (LOLA) benefit may
just become the next big thing in plan design.
Pipoly and Lacher both experienced personal losses
that led them to launch startup businesses designed
to support employees or business leaders who have
suffered family deaths. From their own experiences,
they understood the chaos that can follow a family
loss. They also realized how difficult it can be for the
survivors to both do their jobs and navigate the many
decisions that must be made in the wake of a death.
“So often, people at work don’t know that a
co-worker is struggling not only with grief, but with
the settling of a loved one’s affairs,” says Lacher.
“They don’t understand why they are missing work.
It’s something we just don’t talk about. That’s why I
started my business: To provide a support network so
people can get back to their lives instead of trying to
Without a partner in the brokerage business, such a
startup might never realize its full potential to help oth-
ers through a painful time. But both Pipoly and Lacher
have brokers at their sides willing to include their ser-
vices in employer sponsored benefits packages.
In fact, several key brokers are getting behind the
benefit. One is Susan L. Combs, CEO of Combs & Co.
LOLA: The next big
thing in benefits?
Two businesses spawned by personal loss are helping
employers and their clients navigate through grief. BY DAN COOK
“We should have
been more prepared
than we were. We
never had the critical
him. He had no will,
and there were no
financial advisors in
our family to help us.
It was a disaster.”