It often seems to me that many brokers are on auto-pilot these days. The dynamic of many firms is to acquire a client, review their benefits, offer alternatives, collect their commission, and offer some predictable services. 

I don’t believe this cookie-cutter modus operandi will be a successful approach in our ever-changing world of unknowns. My company, Selden Beattie, has never conducted its business on auto-pilot and remains successful as a result. That’s the magic of a good adviser.

Obtaining competitive quotes for coverage and handling claims problems is only a small part of what you should expect from your employee benefits advisers. A true trusted adviser must go further by providing stellar service, creating a long-term strategic plan, and preparing clients for an uncertain future.  A prime example is the Supreme Court ruling on individual mandates. 

That coupled with MLR rebates has created an even more compelling reason for our clients to lean on us to help keep their company and plans compliant – and that is exactly what our clients are doing. 

If we didn’t before, we all know now the indeterminate transformation and complex arena of plan administration and legal compliance.  We must be ready to react.  As a trusted adviser, we must create that strategic roadmap for our clients, even if it has twists and turns and forks in the road. At least the foundation exists, perhaps with unpaved streets and a toll road – but at least it exists.  Is your autopilot on or off?

Beattie is president and chief executive of South Miami, Fla.-based Selden Beattie Benefit Advisors. She can be reached at 305-661-9090 or


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