President, JTS Financial Services LLC
“Everything we do is a team effort, so this isn’t about me. It’s about all the knowledgeable and talented people we have in our family of companies,” says John Starling, founder and president of JTS Financial Services LLC, a full-service insurance brokerage firm headquartered in Little Rock. An attorney with a background in labor and employment law, Starling entered the employee benefits insurance industry in 1998. Since then, he’s launched multiple companies in the benefits space, beginning with JTS, which focused on high-deductible health plans, customer service and providing savings to clients. In 2011, JTS entered the school benefits market and, in 2017, acquired Educational Benefits Inc. (EBi), its largest competitor.
JTS and its family of companies now operate in nine states and the employee count has grown from 15 to almost 200. In 2020, John and attorney Patrick Murphy launched SimpleWill, an automated platform that allows individuals a simple and affordable process for creating estate plan documents.
Your JTS company tagline is “Intentionally Different.” Could you tell us what that means to you?
At JTS, our goal has always been to change the way employee benefits are done. Our team has open and honest conversations with clients about the employee benefit packages we offer and what the clients and their employees really need. We work for our clients, doing what is in their best interests and we’re with them throughout the process, providing guidance and ongoing customer service. The world of insurance can be confusing and challenging for both business owners and employees, so our client support teams are always working to monitor, analyze and make recommendations and to educate clients on the best possible products and services.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?
I’m very pleased with our tremendous growth over the past 10 years and the amazing and experienced team we’ve assembled. We recently held our annual JTS Town Hall – a companywide meeting with employees from across our nine-state (and growing) service area – and it was amazing to see so many gathered in one place. That said, I think I’m most proud that all these team members have taken our “intentionally different,” customer-focused approach to heart, and it shows in the great feedback we receive from our clients.
Like anyone, I appreciate recognition and honors, but it's impossible for me to be the sole focus of anything related to our companies now. We simply couldn’t maintain our level of service and success across multiple states without the team we have in place. Because we do things differently, we’ve set very high expectations among our customers, and we meet and exceed those expectations, only because everyone in our family of companies has the necessary expertise and understands our client-focused approach.