What’s your relationship like with your employee benefits broker? Are you madly in love with the service you’re getting or just sticking it out for the sake of your employees?
Are you happy when your insurance agent calls because you know he or she has your best interests at heart? Or do you only see that person when they need something from you, like a census, a signature, or a check?
Clinging to the past
Maybe you’re having a hard time thinking about letting this relationship go. After all, your agent is a likable person. You guys go way back, and you get along well. Maybe you don’t see each other very often, so when you do, it’s like connecting with an old friend.
Sure, sometimes it may feel like you’ve been forgotten. But just when you think it might be time to move on, your broker comes through with a fancy wine and cheese basket, tickets to the big game, or an invitation to lunch.
But is that enough to keep you in it for the long run? Shouldn’t you expect a relationship that’s more fulfilling? A true partnership that addresses all of your business and HR needs?
Looking into the future
Running your organization isn’t getting any easier. And that’s not going to change any time soon.
You and your team have serious responsibilities. You need to make critical decisions about your benefit program and strategy, based on your business goals and desired results.
Meanwhile, you’ve got to stay on top of a constantly changing set of industry rules, regulations and compliance issues, and adjust your plans, processes, and operations accordingly. Once you’ve got that nailed down, you have to figure out how to clearly and consistently communicate this information out to your team.
In your spare time, you’re responsible for attracting and retaining employees, keeping them engaged with their work and the company, and dealing with any conflicts and/or issues that come up.
You need a broker who can help ease these pressures, not add to them.
Is there someone better out there?
Deep down, you know you need more. You know you deserve more. And you’re starting to fantasize about talking to other insurance agents. Looking around to see if there’s someone out there who can be the partner to help make all of your responsibilities more manageable.
Maybe this makes you feel a little bit guilty. Or unsure. This is the time to think about all of the results your current broker swore would be delivered. Did those things actually happen or were they empty promises?
If they did happen, did your work load, your processes, and your business significantly improve?
Aren’t all brokers the same?
Most brokers who come calling will arrive with an eerily similar list of promises. They say that they’ll be proactive, they’ll simplify your processes, and they’ll act like an extension of your HR department.
On the surface, it all sounds great, but soon you find yourself making excuses as to why you shouldn’t entertain the idea of making a change. You know you’re not thrilled with what you’ve got, but you’re not convinced the ROI is there.
A few common reasons you may be hesitating:
- The idea of ending relationships and switching brokers stresses you out
- You’re so busy with renewal or other things you don’t have time to take it on
- Deep down, you wonder if a new broker will be any better than your current agent
You’re not alone in your concerns. And many brokers do appear to be the same. Do the following scenarios sound familiar?
A new broker enters the scene:
- Promising superior customer service
- Bragging about the relationships they have with carriers
- Asking for your renewal date so they can give you a quote
- Talking about the “free” stuff they provide for their clients
- Showing up with a spreadsheet and a list of all the same old stuff
No wonder you think they’re all alike!
But they aren’t
There are employee benefits consultants out there who are capable of delivering much more than you have come to expect. You just have to find the right match. And once you do, you’ll never want to look back.
The right broker will:
- Have a significant financial impact on your business
- Make a measurable operational impact on your business
- Help you design a long-term, strategic plan for your HR/benefit program
- Build engagement through improved processes, enhanced employer/employee relationships, and meaningful organizational change
If your agent isn’t doing all of this, it’s time to change things up. Whether you commit to improving your current relationship or starting a new one, you deserve to get the results you need from this important business partnership.
Start looking around
Call your broker, and any others you want to consider. Invite them to come in (when it’s not renewal time) and ask them these important questions:
- How will you help create a long-term strategy for our HR/benefit program?
- What kind of operational improvements can you identify and help deliver?
- What kind of financial improvements can you identify and help deliver?
- How can you help improve employee relationships and engagement?
If you don’t like the answers you get, swipe left.
How will you know when you’ve found the one?
Think of your first meeting like a first date. If a broker comes in making assumptions, telling you what they think you need out of the relationship, and not letting you get a word in edgewise, this person isn’t interested in getting to know you. They’re interested in selling you.
Now, imagine an employee benefits consultant who is genuinely interested in you and your business. One who asks a lot of questions, and then actually listens to what you have to say. A broker who doesn’t expect you to go all in during the first meeting. A benefits consultant who will invest the time and energy it takes to determine how best to reach your goals. A trusted advisor who will provide custom tailored options instead of offering a one-size-fits-all “solutions.”
When you find that person, you’ll know. Because letting your old broker go will suddenly seem like the right thing to do. And be a whole heck of a lot easier.
There’s so much more to employee benefits than policies and premiums. A great benefits broker will make sure you, your employees, and your business are protected. Is your agent looking out for you? Get in touch with Raffa to find out what working with a true employee benefits consultant feels like.
Photo by Vienybe