This piece on insurance agency HR support was written by Kyle Cupp, Content Author and Editor, at HRAnswerLink.
Insurance brokers looking to add value to their product offerings should consider providing HR support. Insurance agency HR support impacts important matters like legal compliance and employee engagement, but many companies don’t have the in-house expertise to give these matters the attention they need. Since inattention to HR could negatively impact business, many companies look for outside HR support. Increasingly, employers are looking to their brokers for help.
One reason insurance agency HR support is a great offering for brokers is because of the increasing speed of changes in health insurance laws and the impact they have on employers. Since the passage of the ACA, the health insurance landscape has drastically changed, and with a new administration, we can expect these changes to continue. While health insurance laws have changed over time in the form of ERISA in the 70s, COBRA in the 80s, and HIPAA in the 90s, none of these laws, caused the upheaval created by the Affordable Care Act.
Prior to the ACA, all a successful health insurance broker may have needed was the same skillset as a salesperson. The most important abilities to be successful were communication and relationship building. While both of those are still key, now a broker also needs to understand the nuances of the ACA and related laws to stay competitive. Not only should a broker be able to navigate complex aspects of the law to ensure clients stay in compliance and avoid potential penalties, a good broker must also help the client take advantage of aspects of the law like small business health care tax credits, Marketplace health plans, and wellness incentives. Brokers without intimate knowledge of the ACA, or at least the resources to provide this knowledge, could be less valuable to prospects and current clients.
Brokers who can offer expertise on health insurance laws and other HR-related topics have a competitive advantage. While some organizations view their benefits broker as simply a salesperson who finds the company a good health plan and collects a commission, many organizations now seek a broker who provides a richer suite of services and expertise. Clients want their broker to be a key partner and advisor. They will often bring HR-related questions to their broker expecting the broker to have the answers. Brokers who can offer certified, up-to-date HR support in a clear, approachable manner are in a great position to meet this demand and stand above the crowd. Certified, up-to-date HR support is available in many mediums, especially with the expanding technology industry. One example is HRAnswerLink, which offers customers flexible options to fit their needs, including an on-demand service.
In addition to the value of access to ACA knowledge and resources, many brokers find that having an insurance agency HR support offering helps them maintain long-term client relationships by making their services more “sticky.” Because HR is a rapidly expanding and developing field, clients who have access to quality HR resources quickly learn to rely on it. They like the service and don’t want to lose it, so they’re more inclined to stick with a broker who offers it. This “stickiness” gives brokers a better chance of maintaining long-term relationships with clients and provides an attractive offering to obtain new ones.