Two weeks ago, we looked at the now infamous McKinsey survey and how it might impact the real world of our broker readership, to the tune of $600 million in lost commissions.

Some of you lamented that brokers are already working harder and earning less, and some poured over the data to see what truth there was in that statement.

The numbers in the 5500 don’t tell me how hard you’re working: they don’t paint a picture of missed piano recitals and cold dinners, or of late nights and cans of Red Bull. But they do tell me about cancelled vacations, missed mortgage payments, and crestfallen children on Christmas morning.

I looked at a thousand 100-plus participant welfare plans: health, life, disability, etc. In 2009, those plans paid a median commission of $53,000. In 2010 those same plans paid only $35,000. That’s a year-over-year drop in take-home pay of almost 34 percent.

Layoffs, dropped coverage, reductions in benefits, belt-tightening at the carrier level. What can account for such a drop, and what can brokers do to sandbag against those losses?

Median fees are “only” down 19 percent, but the bottom line is the whole system needs a reset button.