The employee benefit and health care industry is going through a transformation. Brokers who don’t believe it, says Rob Lieblein, partner and executive vice president at MarshBerry, are going to struggle down the road.

“That doesn’t mean you’re not going to make a decent salary or living,” said Lieblein at the 7th Annual Employee Benefit Adviser Summit in Phoenix on Monday, “but what it does mean is you’ll become irrelevant in your marketplace.”

Lieblein, an EBA Advisory Board member, focused his session around organizational and compensation strategy, because he believes “90% of all issues in an organization are directly or indirectly tied to flawed organizational and/or compensation strategies.”

During a game with cards, holding is not an option, said Lieblein. He believes that you have to make bets in this world, and that philosophy applies to business.

“Holding is not going to work,” he said, adding that the outside environment will ultimately control where brokers are going to go if they can’t make hard decisions and changes.

“You’ll ultimately make your company less valuable, you’ll ultimately lose people, and you’ll be left with probably a shell of what you could have had,” he said.

2010 was the first time ever that Lieblein had employee benefit brokers come to him and say their revenue was decreasing and they were losing money.

“It’s because they were not able to implement abilities to organically grow,” he said.

He thinks there is a 100% correlation between organic growth, organizational and comprehensive strategies and brokers’ ability to grow organically.  

“If you don’t address the issues it will create a road block that is too big to overcome,” said Lieblein.

There are many reasons why growth is important, he added, sharing nine of them:

  1. Culture: energy and excitement
  2. Carrier minimum volume requirements
  3. Carrier compensation
  4. Profit to reinvest in the next generation
  5. Profit to pay bonuses and raises
  6. Promotion opportunities for staff
  7. Ability to hire quality new employees
  8. Growth + Profit – Risk = Value
  9. Sustainability: Control your future versus letting the future control you

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