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The changing insurance climate for brokers

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In the changing landscape of insurance, more and more brokers are finding it hard to make the kind of living they’re accustomed to. In fact, it’s safe to say their entire world has changed since the inception of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Changes in the market mean voluntary benefits have grown increasingly popular among employer groups as a means to alleviate the rising cost of health care. As medical benefits continue to move to voluntary, ancillaries are following suit.

There is hope for the struggling broker. Consultative selling and a stronger focus on ancillaries could be the path to success for the many brokers who have been squeezed by the medical insurance market. One reason is growing popularity of health and wellness initiatives among employer groups. That trend has created much more of a demand for various ancillary benefits offerings. Employees increasingly want a range of benefits options that meet their needs, and they’re willing to share the costs.

Consultative selling means brokers will need to show that they have a high level of knowledge about the product. That knowledge will create a bond between the buyer and seller allowing brokers to recommend ancillary options once the big medical decision has been made. Adding ancillary insurance to the mix means added revenue for brokers who have seen commission numbers diminish in recent years.

The change to the consultative approach will be an adjustment for brokers used to selling insurance using the features and benefits method. But, for the brokers who make the change, the financial gains will be worth any initial headaches.

Here is the good news about cross selling ancillary benefits, like dental and vision. They’re not the headache that medical is. When you sell ancillary, you’ll not only increase your compensation, but you improve your overall stickiness with customers who are benefitting from a superior level of service.

I recommend leveraging your carrier expertise, where possible. If brokers are strapped for time, they should partner with a carrier that’s equipped to step in and answer questions, or provide seminars to help employees understand how their benefits meet their needs. You can use this strategy to help boost enrollment.

Another way to gain clients is to look for carriers who offer a bundled suite of ancillary offerings. The bundled approach simplifies the decision-making process. It also allows you to provide a combined bill that eliminates the headaches of dealing with multiple carriers. All of these factors equate to time saved. Bundled packages can also provide discounted pricing, which can keep ancillary costs down while healthcare costs continue to rise.

Ancillary used to be an afterthought for some brokers. Now it should be considered a weapon in your arsenal of sales strategies. 

See also:

5 Oregon insurers under orders to raise their rates 

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