Caitlin Bronson | Jun 30, 2014

Released this week, the report shows that 49% of producers are thinking about leaving the industry while 67% say they know several peers who have already done so. The numbers reflect a slight increase from last year’s results, which surveyed producers nationwide.

Aflac attributed the increase to the uncertainty created in the marketplace by the Affordable Care Act.

“Due to uncertainty about the evolving healthcare landscape, brokers found themselves at a crossroads of either redefining their role in the industry or exiting it entirely,” Aflac said.

A lot of that has to do with the long hours and cut commission producers had to face.

“Considering the time and effort put into it, I would categorically say [participating in] the exchange wasn’t worth it,” Dan Eich of Olympia, Wash.-based Oak Insure told Insurance Business last March. “When 2015 comes around, I will likely make the decision not to participate.”

Of those who say they are mulling an exit, eight in 10 say they agree “at least somewhat” that their commercial clients are not prepared for ACA requirements. Another 31% “strongly” agreed with that sentiment.

Still, Aflac researchers believe there is reason to hope. Many producers see health reform as a great opportunity to grow business, including cross-selling of products to consumers they may not have met otherwise.

“Brokers aren’t bailing out,” said Oliver Wyman analysts Nick D’Addezio and Dan Lyons. “They’re hopeful about making money from advisory fees and cross-selling ancillary products.”

Similarly, volunteer benefits are garnering more cash for producers. Roughly 38% of surveyed producers told Aflac they plan to increase their product range, which makes them 12% more likely to grow sales despite the challenges of health reform.

Despite the troubled rollout of HealthCare.gov and several other state exchanges, an estimated 8 million people signed up for health insurance—many of whom were previously uninsured, according to a recent Kaiser survey.