An Additional Staff Member at No Extra Charge: Too Good To Be True?

By:  Carol Nibley
Recently, I undertook the process of vetting insurance brokers for a rapidly growing Utah company. As this company has grown, the complexities of benefits administration have also become increasingly challenging to manage.

As I interviewed several brokers, a few things quickly became apparent:

  • Some brokers have more resources than others, but all seem to promise the same basic services.
  • Partnering with a great broker can save time and money. My client may save an additional employee headcount due to the many services the new broker now can manage.
  • Online benefits enrollment is a necessity for groups with more than 50 participants. A broker must be able to facilitate technology
  • A regular audit of benefits compliance activities can potentially save thousands of dollars in Department of Labor fines. Good insurance brokers will have strong compliance resources and provide training.

How should you select a broker? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Do not fall for the first pitch. Dig a little deeper to see what exactly the broker will do as part of his or her service offering, versus what is promised for additional fees.
  • When possible, visit the broker’s office in person and meet the team members who will service your account.
  • Speak with current customers. I asked each of the finalists for references from customers who had switched from the other two brokers—an illuminating exercise.

Realize that a broker decision is not final. If you find your broker is not performing as expected, you are free to make a change at any time. However, once you develop a great broker relationship, you’ll never want to leave.

For a list of questions to ask prospective brokers, feel free to email me at cnibley@peopleserveonline.com.


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