Hey Employers: Your “Buts” Stink! Maybe You Need a New Insurance Broker.

Kevin Trokey on Nov 15, 2016 3:00:00 AM

So often the relationship between an insurance broker and the head of HR can be best described as love/hate. Sure, the broker is a likeable guy/gal, they work hard, they have great tickets for all the best events, and they are always good for a free lunch. What’s not to love about that, right?

Then again, it seems like all they deliver is bad news. You don’t really see them until you call them with a problem. And they promised you they had all of these great – what did they call them – oh yeah, “value-added services” you could access, but you have yet to see anything of real significance.

Your job has never been more difficult, or critical

As the head of HR, you have unbelievable responsibilities:

  • You have to help make decisions for the benefit program
  • You have to communicate it to the employees
  • It’s your responsibility to attract/retain those employees
  • It’s up to you to keep them engaged in their job
  • And you have an ever-increasing list of compliance issues to deal with . . . where does the list end?!

Deep down, you know there has to be a better way; there has to be someone out there who can be the partner to help make all of your responsibilities more manageable. Then, you think of all of the “value-added services” your broker promised and it hits you – IF only they would deliver everything they promised, your life would be infinitely easier.

The real deal or smoke and mirrors?

The funny thing is, every broker who comes calling on you boasts about their eerily similar list of value-added services: They tell you they will deliver less-bad news; they promise to be “proactive”; they tell you they will make life easier for you by being like an extension of your HR department.

On the surface it sounds good, but you keep making excuses as to why you shouldn’t change. You tell yourself and others, "I’m not especially thrilled with what our broker does; I really would like more help; I’m tempted to change, . . ."

  • But, I already have a guy and it would really be hard to fire him.
  • But, I’m so busy with renewal and don’t have time for anything else.
  • But, I’m not really crazy about change and what if the new guy isn’t any better than the one I have?

“Buts” are like excuses, they all stink. (pun intended)  ; )

It’s not your fault

Don’t blame yourself. Blame your broker and 98% of the others that come calling on you. Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar.

  • You phone rings constantly with brokers wanting to know your renewal date and asking for a chance to quote.
  • They brag about the relationships they have with the carriers.
  • They talk about all of the free “stuff” they make available to their clients.
  • They make promises of the great service their team would provide.
  • And, then everyone shows up with the same spreadsheet and everyone has the same list of stuff.

It strikes you, they ARE ALL ALIKE. And honestly, anyone capable of staying in business better provide good service! What is that promise about anyway?!

Two critically important decisions

Here’s the problem, most of the brokers who call on you are doing you a huge disservice (beyond the obvious). They are asking you to make a decision about them being your broker, but because they are asking you at renewal time, they are forcing two critical decisions at once.

  1. Renewal time is about choosing a carrier and the right insurance plan.
  2. This should be an entirely separate decision than choosing the broker to help you make that renewal decision.

TALK ABOUT UNFAIR TO YOU!

You can’t afford to not have the right partner

It has never been more difficult to create success through your HR/benefit program. And it has never been more critical for you to find the right broker partner to help you achieve the predictable success/results your business needs.

The right broker should be:

  • Helping craft/define the strategy for your HR/benefit program
  • Making a measurable operational impact on your business
  • Making a measurable financial impact on your business
  • Making an emotional impact on your business because of the improved employer/employee relationships they have helped foster

It’s time to expect and demand more

If your broker isn’t doing this, it’s time to raise the expectations of what you get from your broker. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change brokers, but it is time to expect more.

Invite your broker, and any others you might want to consider as their replacement, to come in off-renewal and ask them:

  • How can you help us craft a longer term strategy for our HR/benefit program?
  • What kind of operational opportunities for improvement can you identify and help deliver?
  • What kind of financial opportunities for improvement can you identify and help deliver?
  • How can you measurably help us improve the relationships we have with our employees?

If they don’t have clear answers or if they start making excuses, kick their “but” out. You deserve better.

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Topics: Employer/Broker Relationship