What do employers want from benefits brokers? More than what brokers are offering.
A new survey reveals a disconnect between what employers expect from their brokers and what brokers are delivering.
And that’s leaving huge opportunities for those willing to seize this information and provide the proactive services their clients are demanding, industry insiders say.
Zywave’s 2013 Broker Services Survey found that broker services are more in demand than ever, especially as the health care landscape shifts. And employers are demanding more “extra” services — such as help with workplace wellness programs and legislative compliance — from their insurance broker than in previous years.
Dave O’Brien, division president of insurance solutions at Zywave, says the extra need for brokers isn’t “terribly surprising.”
“Many brokers are already aware of the need to provide clients with more than just an insurance policy — particularly in light of health care reform,” he said.
But what was surprising, he said, is that employers are actually less satisfied with their current broker on the same services that they cited as more important than ever, a revelation O’Brien called “startling.”
In nearly every category that was ranked as highly important that a broker deliver, fewer employers than last year said their broker was delivering that service satisfactorily. For example, 86 percent of employers expect their broker to provide employee safety and health information, but 75 percent say their broker isn’t doing a satisfactory job.
Three-quarters (75 percent) want their broker to assist in creating or maintaining a safety program, though 68 percent of employers are no satisfied with their broker’s current support.
Likewise, 85 percent of employers want assistance with their workplace wellness program, but 66 percent feel their broker isn’t delivering to their expectations.
The wider-than-ever disconnect between brokers and employers were also underscored in Aflac’s latest worksite survey, released last week.
Aflac found that nearly half of brokers aren’t confident in their future in the industry and are considering quitting, just as employers and employees say they need brokers most. That report found that almost one-third of brokers said they’re concerned about remaining relevant.
Zywave addressed the top challenges faced by employers that brokers should help with. They are: Managing health care costs; keeping in compliance and up to date on changing legislation, including health care reform; benefits administration and employee benefits education; keeping up to date on regulatory changes; controlling workers’ compensation costs; and managing exposures.