My role as your broker has changed my thirty years in the industry, and never more than in the last 5 years. Some of this is related to the Affordable Care Act, of course, but some of it isn’t. It used to be all about price; that has changed alot – when everyone has the same price and the same product, how does your broker differentiate themselves? And the single hardest thing to do these days is keep up with all the changes.
So who should your broker be, and how should they behave?
- You must have a broker that you feel comfortable turning to with question and concerns, give you an education, and show you your options.
- When their is a problem (usually with medical insurance), the broker should be there to help you navigate through the craziness of the insurance world.
- A broker should keep you informed and updated. While they cannot do things that are your responsibility, you should be aware that you have that obligation.
- Your broker must be abreast of all the changes in the regulations, making you aware of them and providing guidance on how to comply.
- Your broker should be starting to work on your renewals well in advance, so that you don’t have to make last minute, pressured decisions.
- Your broker should be bringing you all the products available to you, not just their favorites. You may have a different opinion.
- They should work with your employees and staff easily and willingly to provide support, education and guidance.
What can’t they do:
- Handle your billing problems. Generally insurance carriers will not let us interact on billing problems, and we don’t have access to your financial records.
- Take on unusual tasks without additional compensation. Broker compensation has been cut by more than 50% over the last 5 years, so this is no longer an option.
Warning Signs that you have the wrong broker:
- Your calls or emails aren’t returned for several days, or not at all.
- Everything is always being done under time pressure.
- They are not familiar with the new regulations and rules as they apply to your company.
Your relationship with your broker is critical. Many people shop for the “cheapest” product not understanding that, for the most part, everyone has the same product and pricing. Instead, you should be interviewing Brokers like you would a high-end employee. Find the best fit for you, and hire them to do their job.