81 Percent of Employers Say Brokers Impact their Employee Benefits

Aug 21, 2017
| Dan Sheridan
Insurance brokers and employee benefits

It’s an interesting and uncertain time for employee benefits. This is especially true for health care and health insurance, centering mainly around the Affordable Care Act and if major policy changes are looming. The impacts of this uncertainty are widespread, but small and medium-sized businesses in particular face the biggest possible changes and problems.

Lost in the discussion around employee benefits, healthcare, and potential outcomes is how insurance brokers are faring in today’s market. Many originally predicted that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act would spell the end for health insurance brokers, but it seems some people forget how resourceful and resilient these professionals are. According to MetLife’s 15th Annual U.S. Employee Benefits Trend Study, brokers continue to be a valuable resource to employers of all sizes.

When asked how significant an impact outside professionals or firms had on the employee benefits selected during the most recent renewal process, 81% said an insurance agent or broker played a role. In addition, 75% said an employee benefits consultant or consulting firm played a role.

These findings offer a glimpse into how companies view benefits brokers today. Instead of shying away from them, organizations are actively seeking brokers for assistance when evaluating their benefits needs. And this doesn’t just pertain to large companies.

Benefits Brokers Are Extremely Valuable to Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

The study from MetLife shows that brokers are an important resource for all companies, but does this hold true for SMBs in particular? According to a study from Accenture that surveyed small employers exclusively, the answer is yes. The findings of this survey paint a very clear picture – brokers are extremely valuable to small business, and in more ways than one:
  • 54% of respondents believe brokers add value by helping them avoid dealing directly with insurance companies
  • 76% believe insurance brokers help them get the best possible prices on employee benefits
  • 72% of employers use their broker to stay compliant with their benefits
  • 67% say their broker helps with billing and related issues
  • 61% say their broker assists with insurance claims

It’s evident that brokers continue to be an integral and invaluable resource for many SMBs. With more and more brokers expanding their services to help meet the ever-growing needs of their clients, it’s no wonder why small business leaders view their brokers as an important part of business success.

What Do These Survey Results Mean for Brokers?

The results of Accenture’s small business survey and MetLife’s broader study both show that brokers provide tremendous business value to their clients and that their roles are only expanding. MetLife’s report compared 16 areas of broker expertise and the interest employers have in these services being offered. From 2015 to 2016, each of these areas saw significant percentage increases, signaling that employers are increasingly looking to their brokers for guidance on important benefit issues.

This presents brokers with an opportunity to grow their business by becoming more of an advisor to their clients, especially around compliance, billing and claims. However, not all brokers may be able to offer these services or be sure how to approach these complicated HR-related issues.

A PEO Can Provide Assistance to Benefits Brokers

This is where a professional employer organization (PEO) may be able to help. Instead of having to worry about expanding service offerings, partnering with a PEO is a great way for brokers to offer more to their current clients and grow their business at the same time. Since more and more SMBs are actively seeking HR services and outsourcing solutions, especially within certain industries, a PEO partnership may prove valuable for some brokers.

The benefits that PEOs provide their clients are well documented. PEO clients grow faster, save on HR administration costs, have lower employee turnover, and are much less likely to go out of business. However, employers and clients aren’t the only ones who can benefit from working with a PEO. Brokers, too, can gain a competitive advantage by partnering with a PEO.

A PEO is one option for brokers who are looking to meet the needs of clients and grow their business. The studies above show that brokers play an important part in employee benefits and that their roles will only continue to expand as time goes on. Those thinking that insurance brokers don’t still play a vital role in employee benefits are greatly mistaken.

Want to learn more about PEOs? Check out our eBook, How Well Do You Know PEO? This eBook provides an overview of the PEO industry as well as helpful information for brokers and employers!
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