Which came first?

The economy is weak. Unemployment numbers are staggering. Business is bad. Pessimism has replaced optimism. And this is all two years after the Great Recession supposedly ended. Like every other industry, the economy is taking its toll on the broker business.

Take this for example: Employee Benefit Research Institute statistics show that the recession had significantly affected health coverage of workers in various job categories. “During a recession, some employers will drop coverage, some will increase the worker share of the premium, and some may change eligibility requirements,” the EBRI report says. “Structural changes in the economy during a recession, such as the substitution of part-time workers for full-time workers, reduce the number of workers eligible for health benefits.

This reflects the fact that while unemployment is rising, an increasing share of workers may decline coverage for a number of reasons.” “Employee benefits are not immune from fluctuations in the economy. When employers are tightening belts, brokers and carriers feel the pinch,” says Alan Katz, principal of the Alan Katz Group and past president of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

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