By trade, insurance brokers work with business owners to shop, negotiate and implement employee benefit plans. However, over the last five years, there has been a dramatic change in our landscape – from health care reform, products and strategies to technology. Today, there are many ways benefit brokers can enhance (and should be enhancing) their value to business owners.
- Sharing in Technology Resources
In today’s world, benefit brokers are investing in tools that are easily shared with their clients. One example is online enrollment systems. Many years ago, businesses and employees were flooded with multiple enrollment forms and packets from various insurance companies. It was a mess. Today, insurance brokers are able to easily able to conduct open enrollment via online systems that are accessible via mobile phones or home computers. While the education still remains face to face, it simplifies the data gathering to ensure completeness, accuracy and organization. As an added benefit, most of these systems can be utilized year-round for business owners and human resource departments to better manage many aspects of their HR needs.
- Bringing Innovative Solutions to the Table
While there has certainly been tremendous change in the health insurance industry over the past five years, this change has also led to the creation of solutions that were not previously available. For example, school districts in Arizona have had access to pooled risk insurance products for many years. This has been extremely successful in stabilizing health insurance premiums and benefits. Today, there are industry specific group health insurance pools for: Charter Schools, Contractor, Hospitality, Non-Profits, Professional Services, Credit Unions and Public Service. These pools leverage the buying power of many businesses in similar industries. So, while the health insurance industry seems under constant regulatory change; just know that there are always creative solutions being developed to help meet the needs of businesses.
- Providing Unbiased Advice to Employees
Let’s face it: a few bad apples ruin the bunch. This unfortunately holds very true in the insurance industry. In an industry where the primary source of compensation is commission, one has to rely heavily on the trust of their advisor. On the contrary, most Account Managers who are conducting the open enrollment meetings are salaried and only have one objective…to help your employees understand their options. They have no interest in overselling products like a direct insurance representative could have. Similarly, account managers are a key resource for your team on an ongoing basis for claims questions. This is super helpful considering the complexity and private nature of such questions.
- Being a Resource for Other Business Challenges
A professional insurance broker should also be a reliable source for other business solutions. Examples are workers compensations, payroll or employee handbooks. Today’s insurance brokers have a wide variety of knowledge and contacts to share with their clients. Next time you are pondering a challenge, give your insurance broker a call. You may be surprised by their ideas! FBN
By Ed Gussio
For more information, please contact the team at Benefit Logic / Crest Insurance Group at 928-526-5691.