Come first quarter 2016, NextAgency, co-founded by two former National Association of Health Underwriter presidents, Alan Katz and Trei Wild, will be entering the online enrollment/benefits administration space. Given two of its four founding partners are NAHU past-presidents, the company has a unique pulse on the market. One might wonder, why get involved in this already crowded space — especially so late in the game?

According to Katz, there are advantages and disadvantages of being late to the party. “The advantage is we’ve been able to see what works and what doesn’t and can offer a better product. The disadvantage is that competitors have a head start, so we will have to compete for market share and name recognition.”

Also see:How to overcome two of your biggest sales hurdles.”

As much as I hate giving Zenefits any more press than they’ve already received, it’s they who are driving the industry to make changes that are in the best interest of clients and agents. NextAgency is responding to this reality. As Katz put it, “Zenefits is a $4.5 billion Goliath and we intend to provide thousands of Davids with the slings and stones they need to win.”  

‘Agent-friendly’
But, they have taken their time in an effort to bring a superior, agent-friendly product to market. Again, given who the founders are, they have interviewed agents across the country to find out what they would like to see in an enrollment/administration platform. Outside of the basics you’d expect, NextAgency will deliver additional services to help agents manage their business. For example, side by side comparisons and sales pipeline tracking. NextAgency partners will also have access to specialty products and business services.

Knowing Wild and Katz personally and having served with them on the Board of Trustees of NAHU, I can guarantee they will put the agent/broker first. They are interested in helping brokers compete against the Zenefits of the world, and that is why NextAgency is being developed.

Also see:Technology is the future of benefits, but it’s not what will make or break your business.

If you are not delivering a benefit enrollment/administration solution to employers you are putting an unnecessary target on your back. Its purpose is to simplify the process and eliminate administrative headaches. As an agent, you should do your due diligence and interview multiple venders in this space and see which best fits your needs. The point of this blog is to let you know another vendor is coming. I would pay attention to what they have to offer because of who it’s being offered by.

Editor’s note: This is the third in a regular series of blogs from Hodges that will highlight products and services that will help advisers sell and retain business and increase their bottom line.

Hodges, RHU, REBC, CBC, is president of The Brokers Broker and a senior adviser at GMG Savings. Reach him at khodges@thebrokersbroker.biz or khodges@gmgsavings.com.

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