In the days of gladiatorial combat the audience could decide the fate of a gladiator. Their wishes were expressed through simple hand gestures—either bestowing mercy on the fallen warrior or calling for the highest price the contest would allow.

I’m sure we all agree, we’re lucky that times have changed and that professional blunders and oversights don’t result in such dramatic outcomes. However, something that has not changed since the days of Rome’s Colosseum is that the masses speak and expect to be heard. In effect, the masses can still decide our fate.

Also see: "Employers expect more from brokers."

Each year, Zywave sends a survey to employers asking what they are looking for in an insurance broker or consultant. This year, we surveyed more than 1,000 employers across the country — both large and small — from a wide range of industries. Remember: The people who respond are your prospects and your clients. They are the masses that tell you what they want. Here’s what they said:

  • 65% and 75%, respectively, rate compliance updates and compliant plan documents as two of the most important services that a benefit broker can provide.
  • 79% want regular communication.
  • 79% want a trusted adviser.

More importantly, this is what we learned when we asked employers what the outcome would be if their most important needs weren’t met:

  • Nearly 40% would change brokers if they don’t offer compliance-related resources.
  • 40% would change brokers if they don’t receive regular communication.
  • 40% would change brokers if they only sell insurance and don’t provide trusted advice.

Here’s the upside to what could be deemed as an ominous message: The masses that you need to appeal to are telling you what they want. They are providing critical information and insight that you need to yield positive outcomes for yourself and maintain successful relationships with prospects and clients. In as much as you respond to the needs of today’s employers, you’re leveraging the demands of the masses to help guide your direction, rather than allowing them to determine your fate. In essence, you’re taking back control and seizing opportunity by simply listening to, acknowledging and acting on the information you’ve been provided.

Also see: 'How to become indespensible."

In the Colosseum, the gladiators didn’t know what their fate would be until it was hanging in the balance. You, on the other hand, have been given a rare glimpse into the minds of the masses. Use this intelligence to develop strategies and to form a plan of attack that will help you to meet the demands of today’s employers — becoming a rare champion in the proverbial arena known as the insurance marketplace.

Email for more information about Zywave’s 2015 Broker Services Survey.

O’Brien is the CEO of Zywave, Inc., a leading provider of software solutions for insurance brokers. He has been with Zywave since its inception in the 1990s, helping to create new technology tools that drive profitable results in a dynamic marketplace. Reach him at or visit

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