Eastbridge research has identified eight different types ofvoluntary producers. And today, everyone knows that different typesof brokers have different needs and different criteria forselecting carrier partners. In order to succeed with voluntary,small-case employee benefit brokers need different tools, support,products, etc. as compared with classic worksite brokers.

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And all but the largest carriers have learned—many the hardway—trying to please all types of brokers often means missing thetarget on each type of broker. Looking at only one issue—how thesetwo types of broker access enrollers—highlights the manydifferences that can impact market success.

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We also know that as brokers become more experienced, there arecertain common needs, or hygiene factors, that the carrier mustmaster. Hygiene factors are those that are “table stakes,” thingsthat cause brokers to flee if not done well, but don't necessarilyattract new brokers. All experienced brokers want their carrierpartners to be proficient at things like billing capabilities andclaims accuracy.

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As time goes by, the hygiene list continues to grow. But thereare still scores of items that are differentiators and theirimportance varies by the type of broker.

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Today, most brokers know they need to shop carriers to be surethey are bringing quality products and services to their customers.The days of automatically calling your employer-paid productcarrier or major brand carrier are disappearing as brokers come toappreciate the significant differences between insurancecompanies.

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Brokers need to understand how to measure the ability ofcarriers to perform on the hygiene factors and to identify thecarriers that excel at the specific capabilities that are importantto them.

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