Lowered commissions, increased competition, loss-ratio mandates, buying direct from exchanges, carriers withdrawing from the medical market, and on and on and on. While it has become fashionable for industry pundits to talk about the impending demise of the broker, benefit managers and employers tell the real story. In a survey released in early 2010, the majority of benefit managers said they use a broker for their benefits package.

The exact percentage varied by size of the case as seen below: But even more important than the percentage using a broker is the increasingly important role the broker is playing. Several years ago, benefit managers felt that the role of the broker was “secondary” and that they were doing much of the due diligence and/or decision-making. In the more recent survey, however, almost half (48 percent) of benefit managers said their broker either investigates the alternatives and makes recommendations or is their trusted advisor whose advise they typically follow.

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