"Roger" owns an employee benefit consulting firm in the Northeast with $1.2 million annual revenue. He was quite blunt in an email to me about his options as he considers the new industry landscape and 2014 looming. He's talked with Gallagher, Digital and Brown & Brown, but doesn't like the idea of sacrificing his independence. At 58, he's not ready to quit, although he knows several agency principals a few years older who are looking frantically for the exit.

"If I don't sell or retire, I'm just not sure what to do," Roger wrote. "I know in broad outlines some of the changes I need to make - consultative selling and wellness programs, for instance - but damned if I know what the specifics look like. And fee-based comp scares me to death. I do know that if we don't change to adapt to the new health care reforms I'm not sure we'll survive."

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