The world of employee benefits is increasingly becoming more and more complex for brokers.
The new costs and challenges associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is causing employers to reconsider how to gain the greatest ROI provided by a Broker of Record (BOR). Technology solutions exist today that assist with the transactional requirements of ACA. Software is available to easily set up and manage benefit administration on behalf of clients. This is cutting edge technology that automates compliance testing and reporting. It can also provide a single point of entry for health data, if required, that populates multiple carrier quoting requirements. Some have developed this technology for the purpose of selling benefits even though it isn’t part of their core competency. With the cost of such software being less than 1% of the average commission earned per employee, this is no surprise.
New technology brokers are rapidly entering the market through a practice known as “broker of record change.” Employers sign existing insurance over because they believe the technology will take care of all of the intricacies around enrollment, HR and ACA compliance.Taken by surprise, many existing brokers lost business last year to the new technology broker. However, this model isn’t working for all employers.
The temporary advantage of the new technology broker is quickly disappearing.
New technology brokers are now under criticism because of a lack of quality service. Some of the largest technology brokers offer no onsite, personalized service. The ROI is compromised once employers realize that a BOR without personalized high touch support does little to improve actual benefits or fine-tune the cost of a company’s benefits program.Rather than taking a back seat to new technology brokers using novice agents with little or no industry experience, existing brokers need to incorporate technology that complements sound advice and guidance built on experience. This is the model that provides the greatest value to employers.
When it comes to small and mid-sized employers, efficiency is important but expertise is more important.
Business owners want to buy from a broker they trust, provides service and will be there when needed. It is far easier for an experienced broker to adopt technology than it is for a novice with software to start advising business owners about complex insurance needs.
The benefits industry may have been disrupted but for those that have chosen to adapt, the tables have turned quickly.With the incorporation of a centralized platform, it is possible to manage an entire book of business without increasing staff. It provides accurate insights into complicated ACA rate tables. As well, it maintains carrier enrollment, automatically maps employee data, presents correct documents for e-signature, and keeps a detailed and accurate audit trail every time an employee views or acknowledges distributed forms.
Our industry is changing. Brokers with the right technology solution can change with it. We just need to combine the advantages of technology with awareness and expertise. This provides the environment for brokers to thrive and grow.
Ease is a technology company built with insurance DNA dedicated to making easy to use software so agents can focus on what they do best, provide expertise.