Hi, I am Elijio and I work at Decent.
Decent’s Agency Management Lead, Elijio Salas, is as Texas as it gets. Born and raised in Austin, he has enjoyed the last 25 plus years working as a commercial underwriter, real estate broker, mortgage broker, consultant, insurance regulator, and servant leader to many. He explains that he was drawn to Decent by its mission to engage/fix a broken healthcare system and inspired by the commitment of Decent’s leadership and staff to create and innovate the way forward. Past his love of coaching, developing, and mentoring his own, Elijio has been known to strategize over just about anything business, while trying to figure out how to cook a “good meal” for his family and guests.
What is your role at Decent?
I am the Agency Management Lead for Texas, which involves engaging, recruiting, contracting, training, and developing lots of independent agents/agencies to sell our products. I also functionally help our team for anything related to provider, marketing, agency, compliance, or operations, as needed.
What is your background?
I’ve been blessed to work in multiple financial industries, trying to figure out how it is all connected (it is, btw). The first 10 years out of college was basically my foundation in insurance. I was a P&C commercial underwriter and a state auditor/examiner with Texas’ DOI. It was a great time to study and learn about finance and risk.
And then, we had our first baby and I couldn’t travel anymore, so I started my own business, cold-turkey in real estate. This is not the way to do it, btw.
During the next 10 years, my family grew (four kids) and I became a broker/partner with a regional real estate firm. Because our customers needed more help, we opened a mortgage brokerage. I was the COO/CFO and am happy to say that our firm didn’t have any of the problems seen on popular movies about the industry. Not one foreclosure or complaint, ever. But, then again, we weren’t like everyone else. Business consulting evolved next as our client’s needs evolved. It was a terrific time of growth for my family and businesses.
Following a fight with cancer that involved three chemo protocols, radiation, five surgeries, and a bone marrow transplant, I moved back to regulation of insurance at the Texas DOI.
From 2013 until 2019, I was a Director/Associate Commissioner over companies, agents/adjusters, and managed care. I was blessed to work with about 90+ staff overseeing one of the largest insurance markets in the world. From legislative issues to operations, it was pretty complex, but we always tried to make regulation better.
Why were you motivated to join Decent?
While I had heard of Decent at the DOI, I had left before I knew much about their organization. There are a lot of complex filings at the department AC level. Months after I had left, I met Nick Soman, Richard Luck, Molly Moore and staff; I was struck by their mission and unity of cause – fixing and innovating healthcare.
From my own battle with cancer, I had experienced and seen many others impacted by a healthcare system ill-equipped to address health or wellness (of all things!) or be accountable to the patient. The problems here are hyper complex and I felt I had met the group of folks that were pushing forward to actually do something about it. There’s more, but let me just say it was inspiring as he--!
Why is improving healthcare important to you?
Honestly, during our battle with cancer, I couldn’t tell you what was owed, paid, or done, as my wife and I struggled to keep up with everything all the time. And, while I was blessed with family support and general knowledge of the industry, I saw other cancer patients that were not so lucky. For many with insurance, having illness is financially devastating and it shouldn’t be. It was interesting, too, to see caring doctors frustrated and sometimes powerless to make a difference.
It’s important to me because my family is watching and improving things here is achievable; there isn’t a reason to accept our “B-” in American healthcare.
Describe something not-work related you are passionate about.
I think a list is probably best here:
Cooking – nothing fancy, mostly comfort food
Golf – I play at it and love to talk about, but I’m not very good.
Family – My wife, kids, siblings, cousins, and elders
Soccer and other sports – Three sons and a daughter (all teenagers) and all they play at ‘nuff said.
Faith – Good to practice and have.