There is a disparity between employer demands and broker offerings, a new survey from technology company Zywave finds.

A full 94% of employers say they want their brokers to consistently provide regulatory and legislative updates, but 72% of employers say their broker is not doing a satisfactory job with providing these updates, according to the survey of more than 1,000 employers.

Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) of employers surveyed want their brokers to provide plan design benchmarks during the renewal process, but more than half say their brokers are failing to do so.

This annual survey has seen a similar discrepancy for the last few years. “With every survey, we find interesting nuggets that represent the changing marketplace and evolving client demands, but we’ve also noticed a distinct trend over the past several years,” says Zywave CEO Dave O’Brien.

Part of the problem is that insurance brokers are very reactive instead of being proactive with their clients, adds Joaquin Santos, senior vice president of sales at Zywave.

This survey “reiterates that this industry is a wonderful [one] to be in, but you have clients and companies out there that are looking for brokers to be proactive, engaging and consistent in how they service accounts, rather than waiting for that moment when they are most needed,” he explains.

Also see: Are brokers the answer for reaching remaining uninsureds in the U.S.?

Part of the reason brokers are not providing the services that employers want may be because of expertise or capacity. Brokers might not have this compliance expertise that an employer is seeking, Santos says. They may also lack the capacity to provide these resources. “They are busy. … There [are] only five days in a week and they don’t have time to get to all these complex issues and touch hundreds of thousands of clients,” he says.


Companies are looking for their broker to be more proactive, timely and provide consistent communication, Santos says. The average yearly retention rate of a broker is 90% and that may be causing brokers to lose their consultative approach.

“We need to get brokers [to be] more proactive … to minimize challenges, issues and questions that clients will have,” Santos says. “If you change your mentality to be more proactive, which leads to being more consultative, the broker will benefit from that.”

This gap creates opportunity, O’Brien adds.  “By filling this gap, brokers can compete — even with large competitors — increase the value of their business and grow and retain their book of business,” he says.

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