Raising the Bar: Working With an Insurance Salesperson vs. Benefit Consultant

Raffa Financial ServicesRaffa Financial Services on 08/27/2020

Today’s employers are at their wits end when it comes to finding cost effective, comprehensive benefits for their employees. They need increased ROI on their employee benefits. They want an affordable option that works for their business, their families, their employees, and their bottom line.

Meanwhile, healthcare costs continue to spiral and the demands on HR have become increasingly complex. Throw in remote employees, telehealth, increased risk due to the pandemic, and you’ve got yourself a full-on rodeo. This puts employers in a difficult position having to navigate some very complicated and expensive circumstances.

What is it really about?

Every business needs to have some degree of control over these critical factors related to benefits and employees.

  • The cost of the benefit/insurance program
  • The time demands of service issues associated with the program
  • Clearly defined goals for the HR/benefit/insurance efforts
  • Effective benefits communication and implementation strategy
  • Their ability to attract/retain the best talent
  • The level of morale and employee engagement in the organization

Historically, insurance brokers have only focused on the first two items: The cost of the program and how it will be serviced.

But as the needs of employers change, so too should the level of discussion and the range of advice your insurance consultant brings to the table.

You need more than a salesperson

But how do you tell if your broker is up to the task of meeting more than the bare minimum requirement of selling you an insurance plan? If they are simply there to sell, they will come in talking about two main things:

  • The product
  • The price

They may also try to sell you on their great customer service, the power of your relationship with them, and their relationship with the carriers. But this is where it ends.

Here’s where a benefits consultant will shine

They won’t come in talking. And they won’t breeze in with a spreadsheet full of carriers, price points, and policy recommendations. A true benefits consultant will come to you with a list of questions.

In order to offer ideas and advice on how to improve your business through a strategic approach to employee benefits, they need to hear from you.

  • What are your most pressing issues?
  • What are your pain points?
  • What are the things that are not only keeping you up at night, but also keeping your business from getting where you want it to be?

The conversation you’re tired of having

“We have great relationships with the carriers! Let us give you a free insurance quote! We can beat your price!”

“Nobody provides better service than we do! We’ll be like an extension of your HR department!”

“Look at all of the ‘free stuff’ we’ll give you if you become a client!”

If you’re hearing these things, you’re probably working with a salesperson. It’s time to expect more from your broker. As the prices and complexities have risen, so should your expectation of the quality and breadth of the service you’re receiving.

Re-writing the script

True benefits consultants are much more interested in helping employers craft strategies for better alignment between HR and company goals.

Yes, they are committed to ensuring their clients have the right insurance solutions at the right price, but they also understand that insurance is just one part of the answer they must bring to their clients. These folks show up with a level of insatiable curiosity focused on uncovering what may be holding your organization back from reaching new heights.

This kind of conversation could cover:

  • Benefits communication
  • Plan design
  • Employee recruitment and onboarding
  • Compensation structures
  • Wellness programs (and more!)

Keep your clarity

Don’t be fooled by the terminology. Just because a broker refers to himself as a consultant doesn’t mean he is one. And just because a consultant refers to herself as a broker or agent doesn’t mean she’s simply swooping in for the hard sell. You’ll need to make your assessment based on the focus and level of conversation presented to you.

If it’s all about product, carriers, price, and spreadsheets – you’re probably working with a salesperson. Or a glorified distributor of carrier products.

If it’s all about you, your HR and company goals, your employees, your strategy, their process to help you with those things, and a clear distinction between the insurance carrier and their own advising services, you’re talking to a consultant.

The fact is, you deserve better. And so do your employees.

No, you’re not crazy for being frustrated. The system is broken, and you are sick of struggling to implement expensive benefits that don’t fit with your goals or the needs of your employees. And yes, you really can expect more. You just have to raise your standards and know what to look for.

Who would you rather work with?

A policy peddler who focuses on one year at a time or an advisor you come to trust and rely on who wants to help you create a long-term strategy for success? Think about your current insurance agent. Which category does that person fall into? Is it time to take a look at some other options? In the end, the choice should be clear.

It can be daunting to think about breaking ties and starting anew. But it can also be a great opportunity for you to take your benefits, your broker, and your business to a whole new level of performance.


Need a better ROI on your corporate employee benefits? At Raffa, we’re not interested in finding you a policy solution for this year. We’ll create a long-term, employee benefit strategy designed to help you become an employer of choice. Want to build a better future for both your business and your employees? Get in touch with Raffa. 

Photo By thodonal

Want our business blogs delivered to you?

Enter your email address below to start receiving updates in your inbox!