However you feel about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there's no denying it has served as a catalyst for changes in the health insurance marketplace. Vertafore, a Washington state-based firm, is helping employee benefits brokers and their agencies better meet the changes and challenges brought on by reform with the latest technology.

"We started getting a lot of interest in 2010, 2011, after the passage (of the PPACA). In the beginning, I'd say it was fear-based," said Brent Rineck, Vertafore's vice president for product management in benefits and health care.

There's still plenty of fear in the business but Vertafore's tries to help brokers and agents who also have been thinking longer-term, about how to stay relevant and deliver the best options and service to their clients.

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