Posted June 2, 2015
Broker relevance is a term that is discussed in many industry and community circles. But what does it take to be relevant? Let’s explore three characteristics.
1. Customer expertise – In order to satisfy employers and employee needs with the right benefits packages, brokers should thoroughly understand the challenges, needs and opportunities they face. Know your clients’ industries, current issues and future trends. Here are a few suggestions:
- Gather information on the demographic groups employed with and attracted to the industry.
- Identify employee preferences and expectations of benefit plans.
- Talk to employees from diverse backgrounds and differing work responsibilities. Ask questions about personal and professional values and concerns about their health and well-being.
- Listen to their ideas.
- Ask employees for help in ranking benefit preferences and plan features.
2. Fresh ideas – After gathering information from employers and employees, work with an insurance sales representative to identify new benefits and plan designs that address those expectations. If employers struggle with employee engagement, offering an assortment of perks may not solve the problem. Instead explore ideas to improve morale and job satisfaction, including:
- Changing the culture.
- Providing challenging work and community service opportunities.
- Improving benefits.
- Educating employees on evaluating coverage needs and options.
3. Valuable team member – Being relevant means you’re more than a vendor who comes around several times during the year to check in or update policies. Instead, strive to be a trusted partner employers appreciate for the innovative solutions you offer. By demonstrating a thorough understanding of the issues, you become indispensable and soon are considered a valuable team member.
- Keep employers apprised of benefit utilization trends and expenses. Offer ideas on how to update benefits to provide better coverage, reduce benefit costs by encouraging employees to pursue healthy lifestyles, and update records to ensure all plan members meet benefit rules.
- Several months before benefit renewal period, prepare a proposal that addresses plan utilization trends, employee coverage requests and budget specifications.
- Work with the insurance sales representative(s) to provide information for employers to share with workers on the value of their benefits, tips on using coverage options, ideas for evaluating benefit needs and reminders to update family records to avoid surprises.