The recent health insurance rate increases might be hard on employers, but veteran benefits brokers appear to be holding up reasonably well.
Five years ago, managed care companies were boasting that they would use the Web to cut out brokers and their commissions.
Today, brokers and benefits consultants say there is nothing like four years of double-digit major medical rate hikes to bring employers and their group health advisors closer together.
Employers “see me as being on their side,” says Neil Williamson, president of Group Health Plans of Louisiana, a New Orleans benefits broker. “Its really an opportunity.”
Brokers who are slow to respond to the rate increases are having a hard time keeping customers, but those who work hard to tell employers about all their options can solidify relationships, Williamson says.