With technology solutions like Zenefits piquing the interest of employers nationwide, brokers and agents will need to compete on a new level, industry experts say. Trusted advisers will have to offer innovative technology solutions coupled with exemplary service, or be prepared to become extinct, they warn.
The traditional broker model in which agents write contracts and renewals during open enrollment then disappear for the better part of the year, cannot survive in today’s marketplace, says, Ernie Harris, executive vice president of corporate development at Maestro Health. Still, neither can the new age tech-only broker, he says, in which someone identifies a market opportunity and simply throws out a tech solution with little to no consultation, mostly acting as a vendor, not a partner.
Brokers hoping to not just survive, but thrive, in a post-ACA marketplace riddled with myriad tech solutions and employers in dire need of quality advice and consultation, will need to find a way to offer not one or the other, but both: solutions and service, Harris says.
“Technology alone cannot provide the level of service that a broker is available to provide,” he says, adding that innovative and more forward-thinking brokers, which he calls “premier-school brokers,” know technology, and can provide consultation at a moment’s notice.
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