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The Changing Role of HR: How Insurance Brokers Fit In

Economic conditions, legislation, and the competitive market environment have evolved, and with that, so has the role of the Human Resources professional.

They are challenged every day to add value to the business, and must understand the organization’s big picture to influence key decisions and policies. HR is no longer thought of as simple personnel management, but as a core strategic business component for companies to achieve organizational goals.

So how does the insurance broker fit in?  Long gone are the days where an insurance broker was just the “middleman” to provide insurance carriers’ quotes and compare various plans based on cost. More than ever, HR professionals need their brokers to step in as their advocate in achieving overall human resource objectives. Brokers are now taking a much more consultative approach in clearly understanding HR needs in providing solutions as trusted advisors.

Clarify and Identify

HR objectives vary by company or organization. Whether the need is specifically for employee benefits, or other HR concerns like organizational transitions or employee handbook updates, brokers need to learn about the tasks and challenges that each client faces.

For starters, the broker should have a genuine curiosity and thirst to learn about the client’s company philosophy, mission, demographics, operations, industry, competition, etc., in order to align consultations with specific HR concerns.

  • Are they trying to offer better benefits than their competitors to hire certain types of employees?
  • Do they want to cut premiums so that they can allocate their costs to production?
  • Are they acquiring another company?
  • Is the payroll vendor not providing the service that was promised?
  • Are they satisfied with their benefit plans, but want some additional assistance to educate a growing demographic of millennials?

Today’s HR professionals understand that their responsibilities and decisions have a direct impact on their company’s bottom line. Thus, as a trusted consultant, it is the broker’s job to have an in-depth, comprehensive understanding of “big picture” client goals by clarifying and identifying those HR concerns.

Pave the Way

After clearly identifying the client’s HR concerns and goals, the broker is now able to provide solutions. In doing so, it is imperative that the broker fully understands and provides specifics on how and why the proposed solutions make sense for their business, as well as any costs and risks associated with these solutions. Complete transparency goes a long way in solidifying HR’s trust in the broker as a valuable business partner.

Additionally, as companies rely more on technology to run their HR, brokers should  be just as tech savvy and familiar with various systems in order to compare tech solutions that address the client’s needs. Recent history has proven that many HR professionals value technology system integration and automation that lift their day-to-day load over traditional insurance broker relationships. A competent broker must offer both.

Lead the Journey

As today’s HR professionals wear many hats, the role of a proactive broker is more important than ever, as they look to them as an extension of their HR department. They should map out a realistic schedule of events, and set expectations that cover the “who," “what," and “when” for their clients.

The world of HR and benefits is more uncertain than ever before. Expect your broker to be responsive in delivering the solutions you need when you need them, and be dedicated to putting your business first. Understanding the clients’ biggest challenges and working to find a creative solution undoubtedly will have a direct impact on overall wellbeing and bottom line.

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5 Comments

  1. I agree that the main reason for using an insurance broker is because they work solely for you and your interests. Because of that, they would be able to customize a coverage plan just for you and what you need. They would also be able to help you find better rates than other companies. I think that overall it would be very beneficial to hire an insurance broker.

  2. I feel one of the great advantages of an insurance broker, apart from being a one-stop shop, is that they know whats available and good brokers keep their knowledge fresh and so can pass that on to the consumer and give the latest information on covers out there to meet the requirements of their customers.

  3. Diane R Campanile, SHRM-SCP
    August 12, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Insurance brokers with in-house HR and Compliance expertise can also bridge gaps left unfilled by insurance staff with neither the time nor the experience to answer some employer questions. A broker with a full staff is ideal to customize benefit coverage with strategy and requirements.

  4. I personally have found that an insurance broker if they are worth their salt would be able to find the most competitive cost of insurance also. I also think they would be well-informed on movements within the industry.

  5. It is nice to know that a broker can work with HR to make sure that business moves smoothly. I know that my cousin would love learning more about this. He has been looking for a private placement broker-dealer to work with and this might help him.

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