What Do Clients Expect from Their Brokers and Financial Advisors?

Dec 02, 2019
| Michael Altiero
What Do Clients Expect from Their Brokers and Financial Advisors

The role that benefits brokers and financial advisors play today for businesses continue to expand and evolve.

Rising healthcare and benefit costs coupled with emerging HR trends and ever-changing employment legislation create numerous challenges for business owners. And more often, owners are seeking the help of brokers and financial professionals to overcome their HR headaches.

For brokers and financial advisors, this represents a tremendous opportunity to provide even greater value to clients. But just what do employers want from their brokers today? That’s what survey data from Zywave uncovered.

Which Services Do Employers Want from their Broker?

The 2019 Broker Services Survey provided insights into the services, solutions, and help that employers want from their brokers in today’s market.

Looking specifically at employee benefits brokers, the most important services that can be offered, in order, include:
  • Answering compliance-related questions
  • Providing online access to policies
  • Compliance tools
  • HR resources
  • Customized employee benefit booklets

Next, the survey asked employers to select the things that they look for most when selecting a broker to work with. Here are the top 5 results:


  • Prompt, effective service and quick answers to questions – 83%
  • A trusted advisor as opposed to a salesperson – 80%
  • Offer compliance resources – 78%
  • Regular communication from the broker – 77%
  • Competitive pricing – 77%

What is interesting to note is that pricing came in 5th on this list, meaning that brokers can distinguish themselves in other ways in addition to offering the lowest costs and finding the lowest premiums.

The survey also provided a look at the top reasons why a client would look to change their broker:
  • Doesn’t answer questions quickly or provide effective service – 71%
  • Only sells insurance instead of providing trusted advice – 48%
  • Lack of communication – 43%
  • Doesn’t offer employment law compliance resources – 32%
  • Doesn’t know your company or industry – 32%

In what may be surprising for some brokers, pricing isn’t nearly as big a driver as you might think. Out of 9 responses, “if another broker was able to negotiate lower premiums” came in at 21%, the 8th lowest percentage.

Biggest Business Challenges that Brokers Can Help Address

The next section of the Broker Services Survey explores the most common challenges that clients are currently experiencing. It was broken down into employee benefits challenges and risk management challenges.

First, here are the top 5 employee benefits challenges that employers are currently experiencing:
  • Managing healthcare costs – 71%
  • Attracting and retaining workers – 43%
  • Maintaining compliance with employment legislation and ACA – 42%
  • Health and wellness education for employees – 28%
  • Benefits administration – 27%

And here are the 3 biggest challenges employers are encountering with risk management: managing exposure (40%), keeping up to date with regulatory issues (39%), and controlling workers’ compensation costs (37%).

How Can Brokers Increase their Value to Clients?

Zywave’s report also pinpoints areas of opportunities for brokers and financial professional to provide greater value to their clients and prospects.

To figure this out, the survey provides a look at some of the most in-demand areas for employers (the percentage of importance to clients), the percentage of brokers that fully provide the service, and then the percentage gap that exists.

Here are some of the more notable findings when it comes to the gaps that exist in client and prospect expectations:
  • Answer compliance-related questions – 31% gap
  • Builds compensation statements to show employees the value of benefits – 54% gap
  • Multiyear benefit plan that aligns with company goals – 53% gap
  • Has employee communications that helps employees become more knowledgeable healthcare consumers – 43% gap
  • Offers compliance support and employee communications via video – 46% gap

By addressing these areas, brokers can set themselves up to be even more valuable to their current clients while also increasing the services that can be offered to prospects.

Business Leaders Continue to Rely on Their Brokers for Guidance

With all the changes and uncertainty surrounding the healthcare and employee benefit markets, one thing remains clear – brokers and financial advisors will play an even greater role for business owners in the years ahead.

And for brokers, the growing challenges represent an opportunity to be seen as a trusted advisor to current clients and potential prospects, helping to protect and grow their book of business!

Not all PEOs want to take clients away from brokers. Broker-Only PEOs look to partner with brokers to help protect and grow their book of business. Download our latest eBook to learn more about Broker-Only PEOs, how they operate, and what this partnership could mean for you.

Broker Only PEO eBook