John Word and Jessica Word Honored at 2022 NAHU Convention


Word & Brown General Agency co-founder John M. Word III and CEO Jessica Word were among the honorees during the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) 2022 National Convention, June 25-28, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
John Word was recognized Monday night as one of two health insurance industry “persons of the year” and recipient of the 2022 Harold R. Gordon Memorial Award. John was selected by a committee of past NAHU award recipients who carefully review nominees from across the country nominated for their contributions to the industry. Two awards were given in 2022, since there was no award during the past two years.
John Word began his career as a licensed insurance agent in the 1970s, excelling in life insurance sales. He later expanded into health insurance sales and partnered with Edward J. “Rusty” Brown, Jr. to form Word & Brown General Agency in 1985.
John saw the need to streamline quoting for himself and other agents. His efforts led to creation of Quot-O-Matic®, innovative quoting software that consolidated both insurance plans and rates along with carrier underwriting guidelines. This technology revolutionized the role of health insurance brokers in California, as they were – like never before – able to quickly, accurately, and with guaranteed quotes, find quality health insurance at the best price for their clients.
Further milestones followed, including, the creation of the first company in the nation to specialize in COBRA compliance and administration, introduction of a Flexible Benefits Plans division to assist businesses with Section 125 FSA administration and disbursements, and introduction of online quoting
In addition to Word & Brown, John Word and Rusty Brown also developed the CaliforniaChoice multi-carrier, private health insurance exchange, and ChoiceBuilder, the multi-carrier ancillary benefits exchange. Through CaliforniaChoice, John and Rusty expanded the Defined Contribution concept and applied it to group health insurance – enabling businesses to determine what amount they want to contribute to employees’ health insurance.
Beyond his company achievements, John has been active in the insurance industry for decades, having served as an advocate for health insurance brokers nationwide.
  • Orange County Association of Health Underwriters (OCAHU) president (1988-89)
  • California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU) president (1991-92)
  • National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) Leading Producers Round Table, Budget Chairman (1991-93)
Jessica Word Recognized for Outstanding Support & Encouragement
Also honored during NAHU’s convention was Jessica Word, CEO of Word & Brown. Jessica received the 2022 J.A. “Jack” Ferguson Associate Company Award. This award is given by NAHU in recognition of outstanding success in support and encouragement of NAHU and its membership.
Jessica is a long-time member of NAHU and the lead for the first-ever NAHU Technology Committee. In this role, she helps ensure reach of the trade industry group’s 2025 vision goals – advocating for ongoing advancement of consumer- and health-focused innovation in the health insurance industry. NAHU represents more than 100,000 licensed health insurance agents, brokers, general agents, consultants, and benefits professionals through more than 200 chapters across America.
For more information on the Gordon Memorial acknowledgement, go to

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