In the world of employee benefits, there are several options for building a successful brokerage business. One of the most important considerations involves how best to efficiently manage and understand the wide range of products and services available for your clients, as well as managing carrier relationships, while maintaining the trust your clients place in you and your firm.

Many brokers opt to structure their business as an independent brokerage, rather than work as a captive agent for a single carrier. There are a number of benefits to this approach, including:

  • Customization of offerings. As an independent broker, you have the flexibility to customize proposals and plans for your clients, using your knowledge of relevant products and services. Working your own way, you do not have to follow a process imposed by someone else.
  • Ability to offer multiple products. Independent brokers have the ability to offer voluntary benefits and supplemental benefits, which allows you greater freedom in meeting your client's unique needs.
  • Autonomy to make your own business decisions. As an independent broker, you can decide the type of clients you want to pursue, how to market to them and how to manage your own business and schedule.

As a broker, regardless of how you operate, the most important part of your business model has been, and always will be, your ability to build a trusting relationship with your clients. This starts with the initial client proposal and includes enrollment and ongoing account support, and especially renewal periods. The power of that relationship cannot be understated and, in order to remain successful as an independent broker, maintaining full ownership of the relationship is key.

However, the speed and complexity of the industry can tempt you to consider going in-house for structure and support. If you have thought about this, you aren't alone. But you don't have to give up your autonomy to get support – you just need to consider a different kind of partner.

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