Brokers Need To Specialize to Attract and Retain Clients

June 9, 2016

A recent article in Employee Benefit Advisor (EBA) highlighted the fact that to be successful, health insurance brokers must increasingly make themselves known in a particular industry and have a depth of knowledge beyond that of a generalist.

Interviewed for the EBA article, Jim Blaney, health and benefits practice lead for Willis Towers Watson, maintained that in the large and mid-market, brokers might not even get a meeting with a potential client if they aren’t prepared to address more than just the employer’s insurance needs. Among the employer needs Blaney pointed to are ACA compliance, talent management, globalization, and private health insurance exchanges.

In a separate conversation, Blaney suggested that an apt analogy for the changing health insurance brokering industry is the travel industry, which was disrupted by the arrival of third- party booking sites. “New actors in the health insurance space have upset the apple cart of how health insurance used to get sold, and introduced transparency and price competition,” he said.

With regard to private exchanges, Blaney noted that they offer a way for employers to fund benefits and also relieve them of the burden of plan design. “An exchange handles everything from providing plan options and providing thousands of benefit advisors to helping employees and retirees pick the best plans for them, said Blaney. “This reduces administrative burden for the employer and gives employees or retirees better access to plans.”

Brokers with the right expertise can help employers figure out how to design and deploy effective exchanges for their employees, according to Blaney. “The most successful exchanges are those that optimize evaluating and selecting health insurance in much the same way Amazon did for online shopping,” he said. “A broker that can help employers make this transition is going to be in demand.”

Read the complete article in EBA here.

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