Businessman looking into futureWhat makes a successful advisor of tomorrow? Spoiler alert: Itdoesn't have to do with trendy buzzwords or engaging a new buyerwithin the organization. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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The Advisor of Tomorrow presentation at the BenefitsPROBroker Expo specifically addresses the flaws and challengessurrounding the broker distribution model and the financing ofhealth care through insurance. We will discuss the faulty businessmodels and misaligned incentives that presently serve as thefoundation of the U.S. health care system.

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The industry is littered with trendy buzzwords and failed“silver bullets” like consumer-driven health plans, integratedresults-based wellness, benefits administration and the health caresupply chain. Brokers have a long history of approaching employerclients pitching the next big thing that will bring improvedefficiency and reduced costs within employee benefits, yet the datatells a different story.

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At the end of 2017, the Centers for Medicare and MedicaidServices (CMS) announced U.S. health care spending accounted for17.9 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP), whilethe World Health Organization (WHO) ranked the U.S. 37th in healthsystem performance. In many ways, the best performing segment ofthe U.S. health care system are the share prices of the companiessurrounding it, something that has not gone unnoticed bynon-traditional competitors like Amazon.


➤➤ Be sure to attend MickRodgers and Bob Gearhart Jr.'s Motivational Track session,“The Advisor of Tomorrow” April 2 at 3:00 p.m. at the2019 BenefitsPRO Broker Expo.


By and large, brokers distribute a product that is designed bysomeone else; have little to no influence or control over thepricing; and are primarily paid by someone who is not theirclient.

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Baron Rothschild,18th century British nobleman and member of theRothchild banking family, famously said, “The time to buy is whenthere's blood in the streets.”

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The almost quarterly health care mega-merger announcements andthe growth-through-acquisition trend in the brokerage space wouldsuggest the proverbial blood is in the streets.

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Early indications such as increased acquisition activity wouldsuggest that rather than fundamentally changing their businessmodels to adapt to the new landscape and competitors, carriers andbrokers are trying to become “too big to fail.” The problem is thatmost brokers will never have the resources necessary to scale atthe rate of their larger competitors, which leads many to pursue anexit while the multiples are high.

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Insurance carriers have simultaneously indicated through thereduction or elimination of broker commissions that theirconfidence in the broker distribution channel as a value-add movingforward is wavering.

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It remains to be seen if non-traditional competitors like Amazonwill even use a broker distribution channel when they enter themarket. How long will insurance carriers bear the cost of brokerdistribution if a non-traditional competitor can go to marketwithout that cost?

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While there's “blood in the streets,” brokers who do desire toremain independent are flooded with products, people, and programsthat all promise some form of fix or relief. Every producer andevery firm are different, but as with most things in life, becomingan advisor of tomorrow is not a superficial or quick fix.

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At the BenefitsPRO Broker Expo, Mick Rodgers and I will shareour vision on what makes a successful advisor of tomorrow. Spoileralert: It doesn't have to do with trendy buzzwords or engaging anew buyer within the organization. Advisors who survive the comingwaves of change will have to advance their business model andprocesses to develop proprietary deliverables that centerexclusively on driving value to employers and their employees.

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The advisor of tomorrow must evolve, because they won't becompeting with another national firm, an up and coming regional, oreven a scrappy independent firm. They will be competing in alandscape where disruption isn't a buzzword to be tossed about atconferences, but a core piece of the competition's DNA.

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Can't wait? Read up on the evolving brokerlandscape:

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