As the health insurance landscape changes, so do middle market companies’ views on their relationships with brokers. The majority of companies surveyed by TNS, a Kantar Group company, view their employee health insurance broker or agent as a valued partner. In 2014, most companies — including smaller and larger companies — will be relying more heavily on their brokers to help them navigate through the choices offered under reform. This is evidenced by 75% of companies who think their health insurance broker will play a more important role in their relationship over the next three years.

Currently, businesses believe their health insurance brokers:

• are trusted advisers — 33%

• provide value through knowledge and a range of services — 30%

• provide necessary services — 15%

• ensure lowest prices and best benefits program — 8%

• are administrative service vendors— 5%

"Our results indicate a much stronger role for brokers than one might have expected," says William Bruno, VP at TNS. "One possible explanation is they fill a vital role in helping companies control the rising employee benefit costs. This is a key area that almost all (92%) of the companies surveyed identified as a concern — and one that for the vast majority (77%), say has increased in importance over the past 12 months. For health insurers, it will be important to recognize the significant role that brokers and agents may continue to play well into the future.”

Carrie Burns writes for Insurance Networking News, a SourceMedia publication.

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