People outside of our industry may not look at insurance brokers as leaders, but we do. Insurance brokers are leaders in as much as they help clients navigate the complex world of employee benefits to ensure that they come up with a package that is good for them and their workers. If you know how complicated our industry is, you should know why leadership skills are so important to insurance brokers.
A leader, by his or her nature, points others in a particular direction. Leaders have a very good big-picture view. They are able to see pitfalls ahead. They are really good at assessing risk versus reward. Employers attempting to come up with a good benefits package need an individual broker or a brokerage with those skills.
From our perspective, there are five reasons leadership skills are so important to insurance brokers:
1. The Broad Range of Products
Brokers who work with BenefitMall have access to more than 120 carriers and have a plethora of knowledge to guide clients on the right path. Now, imagine being a small business owner having to research all 120+ options before coming up with a good benefits package. These small business owners can quickly fall into uneducated decisions about what benefits package makes the most sense for their employees and their financial situation.
It is the broker's responsibility to know carriers, the options they offer and how to best explain the variations in products clients can choose from. Armed with knowledge, the broker knows what benefits packages are appropriate to each client. He or she can answer questions and propose solutions. He/she is the expert, which is what the client needs.
2. Technology is Changing
Today's benefits and insurance environment is growing ever more dependent on technology. Again, we cannot expect employers to understand and adapt to insurance and benefits tech. They have their own technology to worry about. Brokers bridge the gap between clients and carriers by learning, knowing, and using available technology.
3. Tax and Legal Implications
Next up, experienced brokers know that benefits packages come with tax and legal implications. As such, not every carrier product is right for a particular client. Brokers know how to match clients with those products that will put them in the best tax positions. They understand how companies can use benefits packages to meet legal requirements.
4. Clear and Consistent Communication
A big part of leadership is the ability to communicate. If nothing else, clients need brokers who offer clear and consistent communication at all times. Clients often need to know what is going on with her benefits packages. They need to be kept abreast of changes. They need to know what's coming for the next year, and so forth.
Without effective communication, clients are left in the dark. That often leaves them unhappy as well. On the other hand, the broker committed to clear and consistent communication keeps clients happy and well-informed.
5. Honesty and Transparency
Finally, the most effective leaders are committed to honesty and transparency in everything. Again, this is something clients desperately need. They need to know exactly where they stand with their benefits and insurance at all times. They need to know that they are doing right by their employees.
Leadership that does not embrace honesty and transparency isn't leadership at all. It is self-serving and ultimately bad for clients. An insurance broker willing to do business this way will not last very long. On the other hand, a broker committed to honesty and transparency creates loyalty among clients that can turn into long-lasting relationships.
Whether they know it or not, insurance brokers are leaders to their clients. That's why we believe leadership skills are so important to brokers.