Employee benefit brokers continue to embrace voluntary products as a central part of their sales activities. But not all brokers are developing these new capabilities at the same rate and interesting differences are emerging. In addition to segmenting brokers by size, we’ve been asking them whether they tend to mix and match products from different carriers in accounts. Specifically, we ask them whether they prefer to use one carrier in order to offer bundled discounts, prefer to use one carrier for administrative ease, or whether they prefer to mix carriers in order to bring best-of-breed products in each category.

In other words, does their value proposition lead with pricing, administrative ease or overall product quality? Arguably, these approaches could correspond to their perceptions of their key customer: employer, plan administrator or employee. We consider the employee to be the first priority and the more sophisticated voluntary approach. One segment, the mid-size sophisticated broker, is pulling away from the pack.

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