With technology solutions like Zenefits piquing the interest of employers nationwide, brokers and agents will need to compete on a new level. Trusted advisers will have to offer innovative technology solutions coupled with exemplary service, or be prepared to become extinct.
The traditional broker model in which agents write contracts and renewals during open enrollment then disappear for the better part of the year, cannot survive in today’s marketplace, says, Ernie Harris, executive vice president of corporate development at Maestro Health.
Still, neither can the new age tech-only broker, he says, in which someone identifies a market opportunity and simply throws out a tech solution with little to no consultation, mostly acting as a vendor, not a partner.
Brokers hoping to not just survive, but thrive, in a post-ACA marketplace riddled with myriad tech solutions and employers in dire need of quality advice and consultation, will need to find a way to offer not one or the other, but both: solutions and service, Harris says.
“Technology alone cannot provide the level of service that a broker is available to provide,” he says, adding that innovative and more forward-thinking brokers, which he calls “premier-school brokers,” know technology, and can provide consultation at a moment’s notice.
A lot of technology solution vendors have begun to inundate employer clients with products and solutions, he says.
When employers suddenly have dozens of new vendors coming to them with technology solutions and every one of these solutions claims to save money, how do they know if it really works? How do they know which ones are good, he asks.
“If you as the broker have a good relationship with your client then you become the trusted adviser that helps employers sort these solutions out, helps them know which ones save money and why. There are lot of things out there coming out that sound exciting, but pragmatically have a lot of challenges,” he adds.
A lot of these vendors are untested or have few clients, he also says, so also include some risk, but is that risk worth it? Are these vendors willing to guarantee?
“These are questions an employer client might not think about, but as a broker, you do,” he says.
At Navinsure, we play offense. The need for technology solutions paired with insurance expertise has never been far from our minds, but the experts have managed to shine some light on exactly why there is a dire need for BOTH.