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Employer benefits is a very competitive industry and with CobraHelp being a third-party administrator we can attest to number of brokers there are out there and the number of clients we have that have hired or made broker changes in the past.
Having worked with both the largest brokerage firms in the country to single independent brokers, there’s a few common attributes that the brokers with the best retention all have in common.
Being available, prompt, and responsive to calls and emails is perhaps the most singular commonality of successful brokers. The brokers that encourage their clients to contact them with even the slightest concerns or questions truly make their clients feel special and it goes a long way in building a long-lasting partnership.
Provide and Explain Different Options
Some brokers become so accustom to working with the same carriers or plans that they offer essentially the same benefit package to all their clients. With the ever-rising cost of healthcare employers are seeking brokers who can be creative and find plan designs that are customizable to their specific needs instead of going with traditional, one plan fits all, insurance designs. Employers want options and they want their broker to be able to articulate the difference between those options.
Not just an expert on benefits, but on Human Resources too
For a lot of companies looking to hire a broker, they're not only looking for whomever can get them the best insurance rates, but they are also looking for their broker to be and extension of their HR department. Whether it’s actually part of the job description or not, clients look to their brokers for expertise and guidance on an array of HR matters. So sure, you might be a broker and not a Human Resources Consultant, but again, with the space being as competitive as it is, if you can be both to your clients you'll have a leg up against the competition.
Stay Current to Keep Clients Current
Local, State, and Federal laws that impact healthcare and HR compliance are always changing which is why clients appreciate a broker who is dialed in to the industry so that the client can focus on their business needs with the trust that their broker will keep them updated. Not only are laws and regulations changing but so is technology, best practices, and industry innovation. Whether it’s a monthly newsletter, quarterly briefings, or sending client specific informative emails, brokers that are engaged and stay current in the industry develop a trust and an appreciation from their clients.
Be a Resource
There's a saying, "If I can’t do it, I know someone who can" - a broker shouldn't have to do everything for their clients but whatever services they don't offer they should be able to advise on the best alternatives for those services. Be it recommending a payroll, COBRA, FMLA, or retiree third party administrator, or simply providing a contact at the DOL, brokers who have done their research and can advise their clients on the best and most cost efficient TPAs and practices are best equipped to solidify a long-lasting business relationship.
Be Straightforward So Clients Have Realistic Expectations
It’s always better to be upfront with a prospective client then it is to tell them anything they want to hear just to close the deal. Far too often we see clients hire a broker and it becomes apparent that there’s a disconnect on what the client expects from their new broker and what the broker is accustom to. Honest thorough communication on what is expected and what is realistic always prevails over disappointing or underwhelming a client down the road.
COBRA Help is always available, will provide you with all your options, be transparent with all benefit information and is a constant resource to our clients. If you're needing better help than your current third party benefits administrator, give us a call. We can make your life a whole lot easier.