Just ask any employer. Employee benefits are essential for attracting and retaining top talent. Employees agree: 56% believe benefits are “very” or “moderately” important, and an equal percentage would prefer extra benefits over extra salary. However, obtaining benefits is not simple. That is why employers rely on an employee benefits broker to create the best employee benefits package possible by utilizing the best vendors at the best prices. Not only that, but we have some additional information to help you choose the largest employee benefits brokers best suited for your organization, as well as salary and how to become an employee benefits broker. Simply keep reading.
What is an Employee Benefits Broker?
What comes to mind when you hear the word “broker”? Insurance? What about real estate? Brokers are typically people who have access to a variety of options (in their field of expertise) and can assist you in narrowing down your options. Employee benefits brokers are individuals who have access to (and knowledge of) various employee benefits broker options and can assist you in narrowing your offerings by providing their input and expertise on the subject.
However, it is important to note that not all employee benefits brokers are the same. Some may work for a single organization, such as a large health insurance provider, and thus only show you options from that provider. Others may not be tied to a single provider and instead specialize in a single type of benefit. Others may have a broader range of benefit options to consider, but may or may not have the same depth of knowledge across all options. There are numerous factors to consider.
What Services Can an Employee Benefits Broker Provide?
When choosing an employee benefits broker, consider which of the following topics (listed below) are most important to you and confirm that the broker you choose can assist you with those specific concerns. Not all brokers will complete every task on the list.
An employee benefits broker may be able to provide the following services to an employer:
- Advice and assistance in selecting various types of insurance, such as health, life, disability, dental, vision, and others. It should be noted that not all brokers provide the full range of insurance options, but the vast majority of benefits brokers do.
- Compliance information assists the employer in remaining in compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and any other regulations applicable to the benefits offered.
- Guidance on how to reduce total costs, such as total premiums.
- Assist with employee communications regarding benefits enrollment.
- Review the contract and negotiate (leverage) with the benefit providers to get a good deal. They may be able to design a tailored insurance package for your company.
- Problem-solving assistance A broker may be able to act as a go-between for the employer to help resolve any benefits issues with claims or benefits administration.
- Review your current benefits and claims to advise on changes and potential cost savings.
Keep in mind that not all brokers offer all of the above services. It’s a good idea to ask ahead of time which of these items will be provided. The more services a broker offers, the more he or she helps the organization and its employees. However, there are costs to consider.
Employee Benefits Broker Salary
The average annual salary for an employee benefits broker in the United States is $76,000 as of September 12, 2022. In case you need a quick salary calculator, that works out to about $36.54 per hour. This equates to $1,461 per week or $6,333 per month.
While ZipRecruiter reports annual salaries as high as $155,000 and as low as $23,000, the majority of employee benefits broker salaries in the United States currently range from $50,000 (25th percentile) to $92,500 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) making $110,000. The average salary range for an employee benefits broker varies significantly (by up to $42,500), implying that there may be numerous opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location, and years of experience.
According to recent ZipRecruiter job postings, the employee benefits broker job market in New York, NY, and the surrounding area is very active. An employee benefits broker in your area earns an average annual salary of $83,081, which is $7,081 (9%) higher than the national average annual salary of $76,000. Employee Benefits Broker salaries in New York were ranked third out of 50 states.
ZipRecruiter continuously scans its database of millions of active jobs published locally across America to estimate the most accurate annual salary range for employee benefits broker jobs.
How to Become an Employee Benefits Broker
As an employee benefits broker, you will have numerous opportunities to assist companies in developing robust, personalized offerings for a better workplace and industry. To remain competitive and continue to help people, you should approach employers and employees as partners, stepping in to work alongside their teams to improve processes. Employers believe you know the best options available and want to collaborate with you to gain an advantage.
There is always room for advancement! You may be considering expanding your employee benefits broker offerings or learning more about what’s new in the industry. There are several ways to strengthen your client relationships. Here are six quick tips to help you become a better employee benefits broker.
#1. Stay current on HR trends.
There are numerous publications and websites that provide the most recent HR news. Begin by becoming a better broker by staying up to date on the latest trends. Follow benefits and HR blogs and check for updates on a regular basis. Find the nearest Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapter or join online groups to network with local HR professionals.
Pay close attention to what your competitors are doing as well. Examine their social media channels to see how they approach the latest trends and innovations in benefits. To better serve your clients, it’s always important to stay one step ahead of the competition.
#2. Recognize what employers and employees want.
You can have the best intentions in the world, but they won’t get you very far unless they are in sync with what people actually want. The best way to find out is to simply ask them! Check-in with employers and employees to learn about their experiences. Distribute surveys and solicit feedback. Read online forums and social media posts about benefits and human resources.
Your services should be tailored to each employer’s specific needs and priorities, so take the time to determine what those are. Create opportunities for meaningful conversations with your clients by practicing being a good listener.
#3. Keep track of your clients’ public relations.
Companies with which you work may have exciting news to share, so make sure you’re asking for updates or reading their blogs. You can even set up Google notifications to be notified whenever a client’s name appears in the news. Then, send a “congratulations” email to your client. Demonstrate that you care about their success and are paying attention. They will believe you are truly on their side and rooting for them.
#4. Purchase efficient business management software.
Employers can now integrate offerings and employees can enroll and view their options more easily than ever before thanks to benefits broker management software. It’s worthwhile to invest in software so that your clients can use tools like automation and cloud computing. Make benefits administration easier for them by positioning them to succeed.
The software also assists your clients in remaining in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. When everything is saved in one location, they will be able to keep records with greater security. Online platforms are streamlining all aspects of a business, so don’t leave your customers behind by failing to provide a software option.
#5. Educate your clients’ teams
Companies want to collaborate with partners from whom they can learn. Go beyond making suggestions and become a consultant to employers and their teams. Take them on deep dives with packages. You want them to feel empowered and confident that they understand what they’re signing up for. Walk employers through all the benefits packages’ pros and cons, and always leave room for follow-up questions and ongoing learning.
#6. Provide more customized benefits packages.
Benefits are extremely important to today’s employees. According to one SHRM survey, 92% of employees believe that benefits are important to their overall job satisfaction, and 29% of workers said that their current benefits package is one of the primary reasons they plan to look for a new job in the coming year. Aside from traditional health insurance and vacation time, consider including extras. People want the following benefits:
- Paid Time Off (PTO): Make sure your offer is competitive for the industry in which your clients work.
- Retirement: Many employers want to provide retirement savings benefits, such as an employer-sponsored plan and a contribution match.
- Health savings accounts (HSAs): These plans allow employees to save money for medical expenses before taxes.
- Paid family leave: Right now, parental leave is a popular benefit. According to one survey, 82% of Americans want to pay maternity leave, which includes time off for adoption. Paternity leave is another desirable benefit for employees.
- Emergency Savings Accounts (ESAs): Help employees with their financial endeavors by including ESAs in their benefits packages, which allow them to establish foundational savings accounts for unexpected costs.
Completing your benefits package will allow you to provide all the assistance your clients require to remain competitive and keep their employees happy and productive.
Largest Employee Benefits Brokers
Employee Benefit Adviser, a SourceMedia brand, today released the first-ever independent ranking of the largest employee benefits brokers based solely on commissions and fees generated from large-group employer health and welfare benefit insurance policies. The following is a list of the largest employee benefits brokers:
#1. Mercer Health and Benefits
- New York City, N.Y.
- Revenue: $190,452,622
#2. Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc.
- Benefits division of Arthur J. Gallagher Itasca, Ill.
- Revenue: $158,581,563
- London, United Kingdom (New York City, N.Y., for Willis North America)
- $128,145,990 in revenue
#4. USI Insurance Services, Inc.
- Valhalla, N.Y.
- Revenue: $114,540,3095.
#5. Lockton Companies
- Kansas City, Mo.
- Revenue: $111,505,417
#6. Marsh & McLennan Agency
- White Plains, N.Y.
- Revenue: $102,550,050
#7. Aon Consulting
- London, England (U.S. headquarters in Chicago, Ill.)
- Revenue: $96,739,251
#8. Wells Fargo Insurance Services, Inc.
- San Francisco, Calif.
- Revenue: $86,762,224
#9. HUB International, Inc.
- Chicago, Illinois
- Revenue: $67,808,936
#10. Alliant Insurance Services, Inc.
- Newport Beach, Calif.
- Revenue: $64,884,177
How to Select an Employee Benefits Broker
While switching brokers is not a difficult process, choosing a new broker to work with can be. After all, you want to find someone who meets your requirements so that you don’t have to switch brokers all the time. Consider the following when deciding which is best for your company:
- Certifications – Confirm that any broker you are considering has the necessary licenses and certifications.
- Knowledge and experience – A top-tier broker will be up-to-date on the latest legislation and market trends. Ideally, your broker should also be knowledgeable about your organization’s size and geographic location. Look for brokers who are knowledgeable about the plans you require, whether they are medical, dental, vision, life, disability, retirement, or something else.
- Employee Assistance – Open enrollment is a hectic time of year. During open enrollment, look for an employee benefits broker who can answer employee questions, assist with claims, and provide advice.
Employee benefits broker issues are more complicated than ever before due to a changing workforce population, rising healthcare costs, and reactive factors such as a post-COVID-19 response.
Your company requires an employee benefits broker who is on top of all of these factors and more to help you navigate the world of benefits and offer your employees a plan that shows them how much you value them. Employees today need to feel secure in their jobs and know that their loyalty and hard work are valued.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of a broker?
benefits of using a reputable broker:
- Financial security assessment.
- Single access point to capacity.
- Claims management.
- Relationship with the market.
- Contract certainty.
- Risk submission.
What are the 4 major types of employee benefits?
Many employers provide four major types of employee benefits: medical insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and retirement plans. We’ve loosely classified these types of employee benefits and provided a basic definition for each below.
What is an employee benefits advisor?
A benefits advisor assists employees in comprehending voluntary group benefits. Explaining health plan options and working with plan vendors are among the responsibilities.
What value do benefits brokers add to your business?
Your broker will assist you in managing a budget of 25–40% of the payroll. Even minor differences in capabilities and outcomes can have a significant impact on costs. A broker’s work has an impact on more than just your company’s finances. It frequently has a significant impact on the health and well-being of employees and their families.