Man on long path"The role of thebenefits advisor is evolving at a very rapid pace. What specificskills will advisors need to build and maintain their careers inthe coming decades?"

Youth movement

I think one of the most overlooked investments is in the nextgeneration of advisors. We need to be developing talent andknowledge right out of college, so they have the time andexperience to effectively advise clients. Grabbing a former carrierrep who has a lot of connections just isn't enough anymore.

The other piece of advice I would give is spend more timelistening than talking and as a result, "sell" the problems you aresolving, not the products you are going to use.

Nancy Giacolone, president, Olympic CrestInsurance

Absence management

As I look ahead to the skills and expertise needed to compete inthis evolving benefits arena, I point to the rapidly changinglandscape in managing leaves and absences. Whether employerinitiated or state mandated, there is a growing trend to introduceor expand income replacement programs, such as statutorydisability, PTO, paid family leave, paid sick leave, etc. A goodportion of our consulting business, and the topic which hasdominated much of our recent discussions with employer prospectsand clients, derives from the increasing complexity of managing newleaves.

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