Brokers and consultants spend so much time focusing on clients and on the myriad outside threats to the industry that they too often overlook their own businesses. This idea of self-reflection—for both the industry as a whole, and the individuals who make it up — was a common theme during NAHU's recent Annual Convention in Albuquerque.

"What's your business philosophy?" Mark Gaunya asked, during a session titled "Practice management—Making it as a Successful Broker." Gaunya, co-owner and Chief Innovation Officer at Boston-based Borislow Insurance, urged the audience to think of themselves "not as brokers, producers or agents, but as business owners. Those other terms are the roles we fill; that's not who we are. You are a business owner who needs to run your business in a responsible way."

The session's panel of brokers discussed their various paths into the business and the keys to their success. Topics ranged from the safe — the importance of managing client expectations — to the more controversial — commission compression isn't the problem; it's brokers failing to define their value proposition.

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Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the editor-in-chief of BenefitsPRO Magazine and BenefitsPRO.com. He has covered the insurance industry for more than a decade, including stints at Retirement Advisor Magazine and ProducersWeb.