Melissa Barnickel learned many life lessons early.
Raised by her mom, she learned the importance of determination and perseverance. Without a car, she commuted to Towson University by bicycle, pedaling from her Parkville home, five miles in each direction, in rain, snow and cold. She endured chases by dogs and even made it to school after being run off the road and her tire ending up in a grate.
Putting her strong will, determination and sense of independence to work, Barnickel funded her own college education and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in accounting, in just three years.
Upon graduating, she took a position at a local CPA firm and passed the CPA exam and then joined Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., a “Big 8” CPA firm. She worked in the financial industry for 16 years before joining Benefit Services, a LTC insurance brokerage, as chief financial officer, a capacity she would serve for 10 years.
After a layoff, she was pursued by former competitors to be an insurance broker, as opposed to continuing in a CFO position. They told her she “needed to help people.” By the time the sixth person told her this, she considered the possibility.
In the meantime, she was primary caregiver for her gravely ill father-in-law, and learning first-hand about long-term care needs. She secured her licensing for life and health insurance, and four years later, long-term care certification (CLTC).
Today, she operates Baygroup Insurance in Monkton and Rockville, with partner Ed Hutman. The firm is the result of a 2012 rebranding of their previous entity, Group LTC Services. Baygroup Insurance specializes in senior services, aiming to help seniors protect the assets they’ve spent a lifetime earning without needing to spend it all on care. She encourages individuals to consider long-term care insurance so that their family members can enjoy their company rather than become primary caregivers.
• Long-Term Care Insurance
• Life Insurance
• Medicare Supplement
• Disability Insurance
• Health InsuranceCommunity Affiliations:
• First Maryland Disability Trust
• Harford County Chamber of Commerce
• Harford County’s Geriatric Assistance Information NetworkProfessional Organizations:
• Maryland Association of CPAs
• Financial Planning Association of Maryland
• Baltimore Estate Planning Council
• WIFS, Women in Insurance & Financial Services
• American Association for Long Term Care Insurance
• Baltimore County Provider Council
• Baltimore Health Underwriters Association
• Maryland Health Underwriters Association
• Harford County’s Geriatric Assistance and Information Network
• Maryland Senior Resource Network
• Chesapeake Professional Women’s Network
• Life Planning ResourcesBaygroup Insurance LLC
Monkton and Rockville, MD
3815 Justin Road
Monkton, MD, 21111
“Health insurance does not pay for custodial care provided in the home, assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Long-term care insurance protects assets and enables family members to supervise care rather than provide hands-on care,” she says. “They can be a loving daughter or loving son without being the caregiver.”
As an independent broker, Barnickel compares carriers, doing the necessary “legwork” to shop for the best rates for clients. She is licensed in 12 states, including Maryland, Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C., and adds additional state licenses as needed for clients all over the country. She works directly with other brokers, financial planners, CPAs, attorneys and other trusted advisors to meet the needs of clients within their budgets to integrate long-term care insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and health insurance, all essential components of a comprehensive financial plan. She also provides product assistance to other agents and coordinates relations with insurance carriers.
“It’s important to have the discussions with your spouse and family members about your preferences on issues like senior living, caregivers and how to pay for care,” she says. “It is much better to be prepared rather than working in a crisis mode.”
Barnickel’s extensive financial background allows her to provide clients with a customized policy, which blends well with their retirement income and resources. The planning process includes a commitment to educating clients before they make decisions, but it doesn’t end there. Barnickel provides continuing service after the purchase.
Education is a key component of her practice. She provides public lectures for clients and prospects, caregivers, and CPAs and other insurance professionals about the risk and how to take control of future events through planning, changes and upgrades to industry offerings.
Each day, Barnickel puts her more than 40 years of experience in the financial industry to work for her clients.
“I like to help people,” she says. “I work to explain all of the offerings to clients so that they can make informed decisions that will help them in the future.” I95