In a field driven by ever-changing rules and technology, brokers need to continue to work to provide the services their clients seek. Zywave’s annual Broker Services Survey recently found key areas in which clients have high expectations — and don’t necessarily feel their brokers deliver.

 

“Employers ask a lot of their insurance brokers — maybe more than they ask of their employees,” Dan Cook writes for benefitspro.com. “A gap exists between employer demands and their perception of how well brokers deliver on most counts.”

 

According to the Zywave survey, there are a few disparities that stand out: “Ninety-five percent want their brokers to help them become educated insurance buyers — 67 percent feel their brokers are partially or fully keeping them in the dark,” according to a release about the survey.

 

About 90 percent want their brokers to provide plan design benchmarks during the renewal process, and more than half say their brokers aren’t doing so. And, nearly 95 percent are seeking a total cost of risk analysis, and half say they aren’t receiving that information, either.

 

“Employer requests for services have shifted with the evolving insurance landscape,” Cook writes. “They want more webinars, more legislative counsel, more plan design direction, more cost containment support. They generally see brokers lagging on many of these issues.” Brokers are already delivering on offering advice and information via webinar, he writes. “Brokers seem to have the hang of this one, with more than 80 percent of surveyed employers reporting that they are satisfied with broker performance on this request,” Cook writes.

 

But when it comes to the rest of those client expectations, it’s possible brokers don’t have the expertise clients are seeking, or don’t have the resources to make sure thousands of clients have right information, Brian Kalish writes for Employee Benefit Adviser.

 

However, working to improve in these areas could make all the difference, says Dave O’Brien, CEO of Zywave, in the company’s release. “The primary takeaway for brokers is that the disparity between the current employer demand and the current broker supply creates opportunity,” O’Brien says. “By filling this gap, brokers can compete (even with large competitors), increase the value of their business, and grow and retain their book of business.”

 

In general, brokers can make strides in these areas simply by being more assertive and anticipating client needs, Kalish writes. ”Companies are looking for their broker to be more proactive, timely and provide consistent communication,” Kalish writes. ”The average yearly retention rate of a broker is 90 percent and that may be causing brokers to lose their consultative approach.”

 

Proactive brokers go out of their way to minimize challenges and questions for their clients on the front end, he writes, rather than waiting for problems to arise. “If you change your mentality to be more proactive, which leads to being more consultative,” Kalish writes, quoting Joaquin Santos, senior vice president of sales at Zywave, “the broker will benefit from that.”