As part of an article I recently wrote for Benefit Selling regarding trends to expect in 2016, I solicited help from a handful of friends I consider among the smartest professionals in the industry. Due to article length constraints, I wasn’t able to share everything, however, they are graciously sharing their ideas here on our blog.

Our next guest blogger in the series is Alan Katz, Co-founder and CEO of Take 44. Alan is a true entrepreneur, past president of NAHU, and one of the great personalities in our industry.  He has a first-hand view of the relationship between technology, insurance agencies, and clients and shares some insights on how brokers need to be adapting. 

In Alan’s own words

Technology Use Hits a Tipping Point

Alan Katz Technology Insurance AgenciesNot only are benefit brokers likely to adopt digital tools at a record-setting pace, but increasingly, they’ll be providing technology to their clients in 2016. Consumers and competitors leave them with little choice.

Clients are increasingly using technology and expect their brokers to interact with them online. More importantly, the ACA reporting requirements all but demand employers to employ sophisticated software. They’ll turn to brokers for advice and, many times, as a source for this software.

Meanwhile, competitors like Zenefits and Namely are leveraging technology to increase market share. The rapidly unfolding reality is that if you’re not using technology to grow your business, someone else is using technology to take your business. Given these dynamics, 2016 is likely to be the tipping point in which going digital is synonymous with success in the benefits industry.

Benefit Brokers Become the Hub

Being an employer has never been more complicated thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act and its myriad new reporting and coverage requirements. Employers need help and it’s to their benefit brokers they will turn.

After all, of their many advisors (accountants, lawyers, etc.), benefit brokers are the ones most engaged with employees and the ACA. This doesn’t mean employers expect brokers to have all the answers, but they do expect their brokers to know where to find those answers.

Whether it’s through networking or bringing their clients HR software and databases, benefit brokers will find themselves acting as the hub to which clients turn for solutions. For creative brokers, this opens up a host of opportunities—and 2016 will be the year to grasp them.

Photo by Matthew Paulson.

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