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First Niagara launches private insurance exchange

By Eric Reinhardt


BUFFALO — First Niagara Benefits Consulting (FNBC), a division of First Niagara Risk Management, Inc., today announced its launch of a private insurance exchange.

FNBC will offer the First Niagara Benefits Exchange to companies that employ 100 people or more.

The exchange “can accommodate a wide range of employer contribution approaches to offering employee benefits,” First Niagara said in a news release.

Businesses can use the exchange to offer their employees more choices and to reduce their “overall health-care spend,” FNBC contends.

The exchange enables employees to select benefits “best suited” to meet their cost and coverage objectives, Bill Hartz, senior vice president, First Niagara Benefits Consulting, said in the news release. 

Using the exchange, companies can work with FNBC to build and administer “flexible” contribution models and private exchanges to “simplify” benefit-plan administration, FNBC said.

The exchange offers web-based, decision-support tools and a call center, according to FNBC. In addition, it is designed to allow employees to choose benefit options for themselves and their families.

FNBC will partner with Chicago–based bswift, a firm that specializes in software and services for employee-benefits administration and exchange services.

The company will provide the exchange-technology platform for the First Niagara Benefits Exchange. FNBC and bswift currently partner in the administration of private exchanges in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and California, the company said.

First Niagara Risk Management, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Niagara Bank, N.A.

First Niagara Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Buffalo–based First Niagara Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: FNFG).

First Niagara is a multi-state bank with about 420 branches, $38 billion in assets, $27 billion in deposits, and about 5,800 employees providing financial services across New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

First Niagara employs about 400 people total in Central New York and ranks third in deposit market share in the Syracuse metro area.

Contact Reinhardt at

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