Leaving the industry is on the minds of brokers nationwide, while employers say they need them more than ever.
Virtually half of brokers (49 percent) said they’re considering leaving the broker biz, according to the annual Aflac Workforces Report for Brokers, released this week.
Furthermore, 67 percent of brokers say they’ve seen many of their peers exit the industry in the past year.
The numbers of those considering leaving are up slightly from last year’s survey results, indicating brokers are increasingly losing confidence in the insurance business, and the changes of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is continuing to take its toll.
“Due to uncertainty about the evolving health care landscape, brokers found themselves at a crossroads of either redefining their role in the industry or exiting it entirely,” Aflac said in a news release.
“I’ve seen brokers who jumped out of the industry when health care reform first started. They went on to get involved in the financial market or whatever else, but they left insurance and benefits behind, feeling that their career was doomed,” Gene Ramsay, a benefits consultant in Birmingham, Ala., told our sister site BenefitsPro.com last fall.
“They had all their business tied up in health insurance and were living pretty,” he said, “and they felt that the government involvement would flush it all away.”
Despite the tumultuous rollout of HealthCare.gov last fall, more than 8 million people signed up for health insurance though PPACA’s exchanges during 2014 open enrollment. Many more are expected to sign up this year.
Though that success threatened some brokers, insiders point to the continued role brokers still have in the exchanges. For example, roughly half of those who bought a plan that met the PPACA’s rules said they got help enrolling from brokers, navigators or family members, according to the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Aflac, for one, says there’s hope in the survey results. Brokers choosing to stay in the business are saying that the health care landscape is presenting new opportunities — noting the increasing prevalence of voluntary products, consulting services and PPACA guidance.
The online survey of 300 brokers found that 36 percent “completely or strongly agree” that health reform represents an opportunity for them and their business, while half say they completely/strongly agree that they have confidence in their firm and the industry’s future.