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The buzzwords of the year have all circled around the idea ofnot being “status quo.”

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Brokers everywhere are focusing on being innovative, cuttingedge and creative. They're shunning the top-50 broker shops andother brokers who're still pushing the fully-insured BUCAs andthey're preaching from the hilltops about their ground-breakingsolutions designed to help employers mitigate their health careexpenses.

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The employer saves money and the broker looks like a hero. But,here's a question: What about the employee-funded dollars? Sure,when the employer saves money it should result in an employeesavings as well, but when it comes to what the industry still calls“voluntary,” or what I call enhanced, brokers are still, by andlarge, doing nothing innovative around the benefits that aretypically 100 percent employee funded. Thus, they're implying thatit's OK to be status quo when it comes to voluntary.

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Related: Disrupting the voluntary benefitsmarket

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Really? When it comes to the actual, hard-working employees —the people who are voluntarily spending their own hard-earned moneyon benefits to protect themselves over and above where their healthinsurance leaves off — it's perfectly fine, OK and normal to bestatus quo?

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I say this because even the most advanced group brokers arestill ignoring enhanced benefits. Or, if it falls in their lap,they'll begrudgingly outsource it to some random carrier rep who, more often thannot, is going to do a product dump that's going to lead to theemployee overspending on benefits and products that likely don'tmake any sense for them — all to get to the inevitable commissiongrab.

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Ultimately, the employee suffers because the broker eitherwasn't paying attention, thinks the carrier rep route is easier, orboth.

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Here's the truth. Isn't it two-faced to preach how innovativeyou are when you're only innovative for half of your business? Ican't comprehend why it's important to save the employer money, butit's not important to give a damn about the employee-fundedproducts. After all, isn't the employee the end-user, the trueconsumer, and isn't all of this for them anyway?

Strategic approach

I'm not telling you to not save the employer money. I'm notarguing that employers should have status-quo benefits. That's notmy point at all.

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For every 10 employees who are educated about enhanced benefitsin a one-on-one, in-person enrollment with a benefitcounselor, do you have any idea how many employees typicallyparticipate? Six to seven. That's a 60 percent to 70 percent closerate.

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You see, it's not a matter of if employees are going tochoose to participate in various enhanced benefits, but more amatter of if they're going to have a strategic product bundling putin place that is bespoke, customized and in concert with thecurrent health insurance strategy that the health broker and theiremployer has put together.

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Right now, most employees don't have that option. Instead, theyhave a shelf product status-quo offering. The carrier rep sits downand just pumps them full of extra products that they may or may notneed — typically at the highest rates with the most riders, bellsand whistles and with little-to-no rhyme or reason for why theywere offered.

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Related: The evolution of voluntary

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By the way, I'm not just bashing the largest “voluntary”carriers of the world. When appropriate, I customize, offer andrecommend products from the largest carriers, too. The realitythough, is that it's not about the carrier; it's about themethodology, delivery system and go-to-market strategy, or lackthereof.

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As a broker, if you're going to preach about how innovative andgreat you are and how you're not status quo, do it for the entirebenefits package. Don't stop after you're done with theemployer-funded or largely employer-subsidized healthinsurance.

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_____________________________________________________________________________________

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Silverman, founder and owner of Voluntary Disruption, adivision of Silverman Benefits Group (SBG), is an Amazon “BestSelling” Author featured in the new book Breaking Through TheStatus Quo, and he's also EBA magazine's 2017Voluntary Adviser of the Year. Voluntary Disruption works as the“adviser's adviser” for clients small to large all across thecountry, and is a nationally recognized as a disruptivecarrier-agonistic enhanced benefits boutique with in-housedistribution and enrollment services. Reach Silverman directly byvoice and text at (443) 676-0340, by email;[email protected], at his website;voluntarydisruption.com, on LinkedIn, on Twitter @SilvermanSBG, orthrough his business Facebook page; facebook.com/SilvermanBenefits.

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