While brokers will be needed now more than ever to assist their clients, they must be sure to partner with the right provider, or potentially risk losing everything, said a panel of experts at the Workplace Benefits Transitions conference Wednesday.

Recalling a time a vendor stole a client right out from under his company, Sam Cozzo, director at Aegis Administrative Services, said that it’s very important to vet technology companies when making strategic partnerships to administer employee benefits. “Look for best-in-class providers, but you better make sure you have agreements in place that will protect you from something like that happening,” he explained.

Speaking at the show, co-sponsored by Employee Benefit Adviser, in Chicago, Ja’Nene Kane, chief operating officer of BenefitsConnect, explained that bringing a partner in can add many solutions to the table, but when that opportunity exists, “you have to protect yourself. Make sure your partners interests are aligned with [your interests].”

It’s important to consider, Kane said, what that partner will do in the future. “Will they get into your business? Will they sell benefits?  Are you going to grow together or grow separate?” Such questions need to be asked before forming a partnership, she said.

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