There Are Several Ways To Get Into Worksite Marketing

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More and more employee benefit brokers are contacting me about how to get into the worksite marketing business.

Years of hard work to find the best health insurance rates still result in double-digit rate increases, so even the smallest employers are asking for plan design alternatives that help them manage costs.

The result is renewed emphasis on Section 125 cafeteria plans and voluntary benefits.

As an employee benefit broker, surely youve been reading about the rapid growth in voluntary benefits sales. If you dont find a way to bring them to your clients, someone else probably will.

Of course, the answer to how to enter the worksite market is, “It depends.” Are you in the white-collar or blue-collar market? Do you work with small or larger employers? How much control do you want to keep?

On one extreme, if you market to smaller, white-collar businesses, you might be inclined to maintain control and manage your own enrollments.

On the other hand, it probably isnt possible to develop the capacity to do one-on-one enrollments for very large groups on your own. If you contract with a large group, therefore, you will want to contract with a worksite marketing company that has the capacity. Lets look at a few different approaches you could take.

To retain control over the worksite marketing process, one approach would be to hire a worksite marketing specialist into your brokerage firm.

The worksite marketing industry is a mature one, and there are many experienced worksite marketers ready to move up to account opening. They can advise and educate you and others in your firm, and bring you immediate product expertise. If you need limited enrollment capacity, these experts could train two or three people who would be available on an as-needed basis to do your enrollments. For larger accounts, this person will have the contacts to help you contract out the enrollment service.

Contract out all of your voluntary benefit services to a firm that specializes in the business.

This is an alternative to the previous approach. Many specialty firms have been created by worksite marketers who have gone into business for themselves. They will partner with you for a share of the commissions. They may also want to sell a product of their own when doing an enrollment for you, but you will still have some control because you work directly with the firm on a regular basis.

Go to one of the worksite marketing insurers that offer a full portfolio of supplemental products and accompanying enrollment services.

This approach provides you with a way to offer your clients a wide array of products. The enrollment resources will be under the control of the insurance carrier, but the benefit of broad product selection can be advantageous.

How do you decide which approach to use? There are some good worksite marketing conferences where you can go to learn more about the industry, its products and its players.

Worksite marketing is a mature industry. With that comes pre-conceived notions of whats the “right way” to do things. At the same time, the line between individual and group product types is blurring, and many new technologies are being introduced.

This means it is critical that you go into this market with a clear understanding of your own objectives. Then you can find the approach that will be best to meet those objectives.

Alan F. Barthelman is president of AB & Associates, a worksite marketing consulting firm based in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. You can e-mail him at: albarthelman@earthlink.net.

If you dont bring voluntary benefits to your clients, someone else probably will

Tips For Starting Worksite Sales

  • Hire a worksite marketing specialist into your brokerage firm.
  • Outsource your worksite benefit services to a specialty firm.
  • Draw upon the product and service support of your worksite marketing insurers.

Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, March 24, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved. Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.