Brokers need to be more active in educating clients on the value of their services and improving the depth of their own knowledge, a speaker at Employee Benefit Adviser’s Workplace Benefits Summit said Wednesday.

For the first time ever, both employer and broker are uneducated about what competing technology vendors are doing and don’t know what questions to ask, said Summer Hamilton, vice president of sales at Benetrac, at the conference in Orlando.

A broker “can learn about ben admin and private exchanges, but what I can tell you is [you need] technology,” Hamilton said. “That does not mean find a vendor; you need an educational plan for your clients so they know what they are purchasing.

“You are not the only person selling to them and if you are not consulting to them, someone else is,” she added.

Also see: Brokers aren’t serving up what employers want

Therefore, brokers need a plan to reposition their offerings and solve for multiple Affordable Care Act-related issues, such as compliance, which is “not always the same vanilla plan for every client,” she said. “The broker fear’s is you need to provide education, but that’s not your responsibility. How do you provide a solution and provide answers when you are not a CPA?”

“Wherever you were 12 months ago, you need a plan today,” Hamilton added.

She explained that employer clients are getting hit by every vendor and if that vendor has a strong enough technology play, they are likely to become a competitor. Guardian Life data found that in 2014, 64% of employers responding to a Guardian survey used multiple vendors, up from 48% in 2013.

Changing demographics

The need arises from the changing demographics of the workforce and consumer preference driven by new technology and social trends, Hamilton said. “People don’t understand what they are consuming; they are talking to friends/family [and] call centers.”

Also see: Are employers offering the open enrollment tools their employees want?

By 2030, the millennial workforce will be more than 50% of all workers. Those millennials, Hamilton said, love to text and don’t want to sit in face-to-face meetings.

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