The insurance industry is being been buffeted by howling winds of change, and corporate clients are putting tremendous trust in their brokers to protect them from the turbulence. But are employers really being served in the way they should be? If they knew everything that was taking place behind the curtain, they might think otherwise.

Mike Hanner

Some brokers are trying to stay ahead of the changes and help their clients, yet many simply are not. Employers need help ensuring that their insurance design, rates and benefits strategy are compliant and attractive to their employees. Yet it is not uncommon for many brokers to wait until the client reaches out to them because open enrollment is fast approaching.

Employees get the short end

The people who receive the rawest deal from this reactive approach are the client’s employees, who don’t receive adequate education to choose the best plan for their circumstances. This translates into more claims and higher costs for both the employees and their employers.

Very few brokers think of the employee when they are working with a client. I do know some who really do keep the employee in mind, but most don’t, referring to initiatives like wellness programs as “pixy dust” or “not really beneficial” behind closed doors. It’s this type of mentality that neglects the very people they need to be serving.

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"Some brokers are trying to stay ahead of the changes and help their clients, yet many simply are not."

Employers are constantly pulled in a million directions and have way more on their plates than they can effectively manage, so naturally when it comes to insurance and benefits they rely heavily on their brokers. Unfortunately, the ACA and healthcare reform has meant that brokers are confronting similar challenges, and the pressure faced by both parties is greater than it has ever been before. I’ve seen employers pay many thousands of dollars for mistakes made by their broker, who wasn’t prepared to manage the recent changes that have whipsawed the industry.

This whole situation could devolve into a ‘lose-lose,’ unless brokers take the initiative to change the dynamic. Learning how to service the employee is a great place to start.

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