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Apr 10, 2017

Things aren’t always as they seem, are they? From the outside looking in, people might think commissions for health insurance brokers are at an all-time high given the steep rise in premiums over the last several years. And with more individuals seeking coverage to avoid ACA penalties, that should be adding to the pile of money, too. Right?

Industry insiders know commissions continue to be slowly siphoned off. Insurers strip commissions to influence which plans brokers sell, and some have stripped commissions from individual plans entirely. 

But brokers who survived the ACA years did so by evolving. These changes in commission (along with whatever comes from “TrumpCare” or whatever we land on) simply mean the stage is set for another evolution in how brokers conduct business. 

I’m sharing 4 mindsets the most successful brokers adopt in times of change… 

1. Diversify

Now more than ever, brokers need a diverse portfolio. When’s the last time you introduced a new benefit idea to your suite of recommendations? The workforce is more diverse than ever before and this plays out in the need for new and different offerings. Yes, there’s dental, vision, and life, but also identity protection, telehealth, pet care savings, elder care, advocacy and even surgery management programs. Staying current with non-traditional benefits positions you to customize packages to meet varying needs. In turn, this helps employers differentiate themselves with their benefits packages. 

Are you including these options in conversations with every prospective and existing client? Obviously, your game plan isn’t solely to offset reductions in commissions by capturing new business, but also to maximize the potential of and provide better solutions for your existing clients.

2. Maximize

Maximizing the potential of every group requires a broker who fully understands the specifics of each group. What type of employees do they have? What’s the nature of their business? What are their pain points? How much are they using their medical plan? How well do employees understand their benefits? 

Often, the HR Director of your groups will prove a great resource for these insights, and they may just think you’re a hero for putting in the extra effort to ask the questions and learn about them. Having answers and solutions will make you invaluable at renewal time. 

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3. Market

Today, growing your business is difficult without a distinguishable, reputable brand. I’ve looked at a few (OK, hundreds) of brokerage websites and LinkedIn profiles in the last few years and trust me when I say, there’s some work to be done. Brokers who’ve established an online presence that resonates with their key audience have a huge advantage in attracting and retaining business. 

Imagine I’m your prospect and we meet at a convention or networking event. My quick Google search of your company results in nothing. I’m naturally going to associate your company with being small and/or unproven. Let’s say I do find you online, but the site is clearly out of date and doesn’t prove relevant. In either scenario, I wouldn’t expect you could address my challenges and needs. I’m not saying you need to spend hundreds to thousands developing the most original, exciting webpage ever, but putting thoughtful effort into your messaging and the look of your online presence will pay dividends in the future. 

4. Lead

Leaders are constant learners. We’ve all heard it, because it’s so true. The two biggest upheavals in my time as a broker have been the ACA and now the ongoing TrumpCare discussion. I’m constantly reading articles about legislation, upcoming bills, and how likely it is for things to pass or get hamstrung – working alongside Eric Johnsoncertainly helps. He’s on the freshbenies team, but also owns Learn Benefits and is a pro at staying up-to-date on the latest legislation for our industry. 

Here’s my point: take advantage of the chaos. Learn all you can and establish yourself as a thought leader. What better way to become an authority, grow your brand, and attract new business than becoming a prominent source of knowledge? Don’t simply attend meetings and conferences. Seek to share your knowledge by blogging, securing speaking positions, sharing articles/tips on social media. Be a leader instead of a follower.

The bottom line: thriving brokers don’t simply present a medical quote and absolve themselves of the group until the renewal the following year. The most successful brokers I see are looking for ways to diversify their product mix, maximizing what they can bring to a group by asking questions and digging into the business, looking for ways to strengthen their personal brand, and taking steps to be thought leaders. In turn, they ease the burden for their groups and stay “sticky” when competitors come calling. 

Now it’s your turn! How are you sharpening your business strategy to cement yourself as the authority for your groups? Comment below or email me at


Having started his career in 2013, Jadd is a relative newcomer to the health insurance industry. With the disruption of the Affordable Care Act, he comes with a fresh outlook that drives him to pursue innovative and strategic solutions. He also writes articles to help spread those solutions to others!

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Tanya Boyd
Tanya Boyd
President of Tanya Boyd & Associates

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