At the time this post was written, companies all over the U.S. were rolling out open enrollment for 2023. HR managers and company owners were working with their benefits brokers to evaluate everything from health insurance to retirement plans. Some employers have had more options than others.
This understanding leads to an important question: does your benefits broker work through a general agency? If so, chances are you had more options than other employers whose brokers work independently. This may leave you wondering what a general agency is and why some brokers choose to work through one.
A Broker’s Broker
The individual or firm you rely on for broker services is tasked with helping you find the best possible benefits package for your employees. Your broker researches products and pricing. They evaluate both voluntary and involuntary benefits. But how does your broker access the products they turn around and offer you?
One method is to go through a general agency. A general agency is essentially a broker for benefits brokers. Take Dallas-based BenefitMall. As one of the nation’s leading general agencies, BenefitMall gives insurance brokers access to more than 100 carriers. Each one of those carriers offers their own range of products and services benefits brokers can recommend to clients.
Independent brokers can still choose to represent multiple carriers. However, a single broker trying to establish relationships with 100 carriers just isn’t practical. That’s why independent brokers are more likely to represent just two or three at a time.
More than Just Access
Access to a large number of carriers and products is the primary advantage of working through a general agency. But when brokers go with a reputable agency like BenefitMall, they get so much more. Here are just some of the additional benefits of working through a general agency:
- Technology Support – Digital transformation has finally come to the insurance industry. As such, the best general agencies support their brokers with the latest digital technologies that make what they do more efficient. Technology makes an enormous difference in modern benefits administration.
- Larger Portfolios – A secondary benefit of carrier access is a larger product portfolio. Through a general agency, benefits brokers have access to a range of involuntary benefits covering everything from pet insurance to long-term illness and disability coverage.
- Compliance Assistance – The benefits industry is heavily regulated at both the federal and state levels. Compliance is not an option. Unfortunately, things can get very complicated for brokers. A good general agency offers compliance support to ensure that brokers and their employees keep everything above the board.
- Back Office Support – Moving a brokerage from the old way of doing things to a modern digital environment creates the need for new back-office functions. Working through a general agency that offers technology support means getting back-office support at the same time. That support allows brokers to focus on their clients rather than worrying about the back office.
All these benefits are supported by comprehensive industry expertise. A general agency knows the benefits of business inside and out. The agency team understands both sides of the equation: the carrier side and the broker side. And as a broker of brokers, a general agency is tasked with making sure its brokers are always well taken care of.
If working on open enrollment with your broker has left you with few choices and a level of support you feel is in inadequate, there is a good chance your broker is working independently. You might want to recommend working through a general agency instead.