Here’s what employers really want in a benefits broker

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Employers are increasingly seeking out benefits brokers who can assist them with compliance issues.

That’s according to a new employer survey from Zywave, which found the vast majority of clients (98%) want their brokers to assist them with compliance related questions and 78% want compliance resources.

“Insurance brokers are expected to serve in many different roles — from HR specialists and compliance consultants to risk managers and business advisers,” Patrick Noonan, vice president of content development for Zywave, said in a statement. “The purpose of our survey is to help brokers identify what’s most important to their clients, so they can prioritize the services they are providing and address their clients’ most pressing business challenges.”

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But compliance is just one service in a long list of adviser requirements desired by employers, the insurance software provider says. Other important services brokers can offer include providing online access to policies, HR tools and providing customized employee benefits booklets.

The role of the benefits broker is changing, as many are being asked to take on more of a consultative role with clients. Some advisers are expected to advise on human capital issues, and other topics outside of benefits. This change has occurred most significantly over the last three to five years, Nicole Delimitros, head of broker and consultant development at Lincoln Financial Group, told Employee Benefit Adviser earlier this year.

“Now they’re really being brought in and expected to understand all things related to human capital,” she says.

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But that there are still a few key areas where advisers can improve, Zywave says. The company found several areas where employers reported gaps in service including offering a way to build total compensation statements, creating multilayer benefits plans and employee communications surrounding healthcare benefits.

Brokers should think about ways to implement these changes immediately, Noonan adds. “By improving responsiveness and proactive communications on the subjects their clients have identified as most important, brokers can help ensure their clients truly recognize their full value,” he says.

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Adviser strategies Compliance Compensation Benefit management