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Employee benefits brokers have served as a long-standing bridge between carriers and their clients. Many employers value working with a trusted benefits professional to help navigate a daunting array of oftentimes similar options. While well established, the broker-employer relationship is evolving at a rapid pace.

LIMRA recently partnered with EY to better understand the future direction of the workplace benefits industry. The research explored the perspectives of key stakeholders in this segment (i.e., employers, employees, brokers, and technology providers) and found that while brokers are still highly regarded, their role is rapidly shifting from a sales-focused, transactional business model toward one that is more consultative in nature. We expect this shift to accelerate over the next five years as several environmental trends driving this change continue to unfold.

With five different generations of employees, the makeup of the U.S. workforce was already changing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased use of independent contractors, the rise of the gig economy and emergence of remote work arrangements were each altering the traditional work model. The pandemic accelerated many of these trends and created new ones. Work-from-home became the only way for certain employers to remain open. The importance of benefits technology grew significantly. Employees, meanwhile, gained a renewed appreciation for protecting themselves, their families, and their livelihoods, which exposed the gaps in their existing coverages and available benefit options. As these trends converge, employers struggle with making sense of this rapidly evolving benefits landscape, increasing their reliance on brokers to help them navigate it.

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