Benefit Brokers — What Makes a Good Fit
I have worked with benefit brokers my entire career and have nothing but respect for what they have done for my team, my employees and me. If this sounds a little too over-the-top, perhaps it is. My success and praise comes from being somewhat lucky, but also from doing my homework and choosing wisely.
Oh yes, I have made mistakes. However, they revealed themselves fairly quickly so immediate corrective action could be taken. And when I say I was lucky — I really lucked out. While most brokers are good, solid caring folks who only want to do their best for their customer I was extremely fortunate to find benefit brokers who did all that plus they aligned well with my company’s values.
What makes a good benefit broker fit?
In addition to aligning with the values of your company, you’ll also want to consider:
- Are the brokers knowledgeable about the market?
- Are they respected, do they have a good reputation?
- Are they flexible and creative? — often no single solution is perfect.
I also look at my company’s long and short-term needs:
- Who’s on board now?
- Who are we targeting for recruitment?
- Where are my folks located?
- What markets will we be in over the next five years?
Why set five years as a benchmark for choosing or changing brokers? Firstly, it’s a major commitment to lots of folks, including my employees, so it shouldn’t be viewed as short-term or whimsical. And most importantly, it takes time to build a relationship that will ensure the arrangement is a true success.
And, in my case, it also meant senior management had to have confidence in the person or persons chosen.
Benefit brokers should be team members, too
It should be noted, that most insured products include a commission paid to the broker. While pretty standard, the commission helps ensure the quality of service provided. Since maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction is as important to them as it is to you and your company, you should expect to participate in an annual satisfaction survey geared to measuring just that.
However, it’s important to express any concerns you or your employees may have about their benefits as they occur and not wait until the year-end survey to share them. Benefit brokers are there to help guide and, if necessary, fight for you — so be sure to keep them well informed.
You may also want to be mindful that your broker wants to be an extension of your team — so show them the respect, consideration and challenges that you would share with any team member. And know too that they are extremely knowledgeable about the market — past, present and future — so they can take your team a step or two further then if you were going it alone.
So, include them in your planning and budgeting process as, no doubt, it will lend credibility and precision to this process — what a relief that can be.
One last thought — celebrate any and all of your successes with your broker. After all, they enjoy praise and will respond accordingly just like you or any member of the team. Just think — Open Enrollment could become a non-event because of benefit brokers. I love that thought, so do take it to heart as it certainly is easier with them standing by your side. Easy is what we all want, so go for it!
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Interested in learning how benefit brokers can make a huge difference in your organization? Our PROs are happy to help. Schedule an appointment today Mercer PeoplePro — we’re standing by and ready to assist.