Category: Brokers

Your Small-Group Clients Should Use Marketplaces

 

Sally Poblete says online health benefits exchange programs have proven their worth.

By Sally Poblete

In this digital age, consumers are not only accustomed to shopping online but oftentimes prefer it to other means of shopping.

In fact, according to a Marketing Dive analysis of Criteo data, 75% of young consumers prefer to do most shopping online when they can out of convenience. This is no different when it comes to health insurance.

The services provided by health insurance marketplaces bridge the gap between the online shopping experience that small business owners have come to crave and the expertise needed from licensed agents.

Marketplaces also shift some of the shopping experience directly to the small business owner, which saves time and money for the agency. This has a direct impact on the margins and makes this business segment more profitable for agencies. Less time spent face to face with clients or communicating back and forth with small business owners means brokers and agents have more time to sell to more clients.

Here are 3 reasons why brokers and agents should encourage small business owners to shop for health insurance via a marketplace:

1. Modern Shopping Experience

Gallup research has shown that millennials are twice as likely to buy insurance online. Through the technology provided by online health insurance marketplaces, agents and brokers can deliver a modern digital experience to their younger small business clients, who favor a digital experience; This means providing their clients with the freedom to browse and compare their own options on their own schedule.

2. Improving Margins and Profitability

Without the use of online marketplaces, getting small-group clients enrolled in health insurance can be a seemingly never-ending stream of tedious emails, phone calls, and spreadsheets. Enabling small business owners to shop and compare their options in an instant, online, simplifies the process and results in quicker, more informed enrollments. This time savings means that you will spend fewer hours closing deals and will have a direct impact on your agency’s bottom line.

3. Increasing Agency Revenues

Agents and brokers who use online health insurance marketplaces for their small-group clients can sell multiple lines of coverage on a national level thanks to user-friendly technology. Upselling is necessary to improve margins and an online experience allows a small business owner to browse without pressure. It may also help an agent see a small business product interest that they may not have been aware of. They can drastically increase their sales while growing their book of business, which at the end of the day is a goal for any agency or broker.

In the ever-changing insurance industry, brokers and agents are beginning to embrace the trends and tools that can ultimately make their jobs easier while also appealing to an emerging new customer base that desires a more digital experience. This need is even more necessary in the small group space as margins continue to get tighter and demands continue to increase. Utilizing a small group marketplace greatly benefits both the small business owner and the agency.

 

Learnings from Auto Insurance for Health Insurance

By Sally Poblete

Consumer expectations have decidedly pivoted towards an e-commerce experience that guarantees value. Yet, in spite of the high level of complexity, health insurance seems to have remained the exception – until now. Below are three lessons health insurance incumbents can learn from the auto insurance industry to better meet customer expectations, boost sales, and ensure long-term competitiveness.

One price doesn’t fit all

Auto insurers like Progressive, Allstate, and State Farm are using the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor behavior – driver habits, changes in speed, how often they drive, and the time of day they drive with the expectation are just a few examples. The hope is that doing so reduces costs by more accurately pricing driver risk. For consumers, this is a strong incentive to drive well and maintain lower premium rates.

This behavior-based model is a great example for health insurance companies in their product and pricing models for health plans. Walking 10,000 steps a day, getting an annual checkup, and other health-related behaviors can be a good indication that overall health can be incorporated into innovative behavior-based health insurance products.

This is particularly appealing to millennials, for whom wellness is a daily activity. Recent research indicates that millennials are exercising more, eating better, and smoking less than previous generations. This generation is using apps to track training and nutrition data, all of which can be incorporated into risk assessments to help insurers stay competitive. This data also presents insurers with more opportunities to incentivize healthy behaviors by rewarding members who reach certain milestones.

Insurance shopping has to be an online experience

Insurance is complicated, and there are many factors that go into understanding the value of coverage. For consumers, choosing the best plan for your needs is much simpler when marketplace comparisons can be made. In the auto insurance world, such comparisons exist. For example, NerdWallet allows users to compare quotes from multiple car insurance companies at once. Comparing exactly what is being offered – and at what price – simplifies the process of choosing a provider and plan.

Similarly, consumers would greatly benefit from health insurance marketplaces where they can get educated, view quotes, and enroll in plans within minutes. Easier-to-understand product information, reviews, and price comparisons should guide the transition to a marketplace model for the health insurance industry.  Considering that we may soon see more short-term plans and association health plans (which are not as comprehensive) alongside standard plans, it is especially important for consumers to understand exactly what they are purchasing and what services will be covered. An e-commerce platform would help ensure that consumers are actually comparing similar plans that will provide them with what they need.

Empowered agents can make personalized recommendations

Auto insurance companies such as Goji and CoverHound operate data-driven platforms that help agents match customer needs with the correct coverage through integrated networks of insurance carriers. In the health insurance industry, there is a similar opportunity for carriers to enable their agents to find more personalized options for customers at a fraction of the time it typically takes.

Brokers add value to the health insurance experience of many consumer segments, and there is a lot more agents can incorporate into their recommendations through technology. For example, a small business owner in the retail industry might want to know what other similar companies in the area have purchased based on their demographics. Through better use of data at the point-of-sale, a broker should be able to make those suggestions with ease.

Conclusion

Streamlined e-commerce experiences and improved value are key for consumers across industries, including health insurance. Health insurance providers would benefit from incorporating things that the auto industry has been doing well already — using technology to incentivize healthy behaviors, having easy-to-understand information available on marketplaces, and utilizing data to help agents show personalized offerings.

Wellthie helps brokers optimize small group sales (Video)

Wellthie’s powerful, easy-to-use Sales Optimization Platform, built specifically for insurance brokers and agencies, offers tools to help you easily quote medical, ancillary, and voluntary plans across the country.

Increase agency revenues
Sell multiple lines of coverage nationally with our easy-to-use platform, increasing your sales and growing your book of business.

Improve efficiency
Get unlimited live quotes and create proposals in just a few clicks, shaving time and effort from your daily process.

Modernize the customer experience
Deliver a modern digital experience with personal high-touch service to your small business clients, making you stand out.

Learn more about how Wellthie is helping insurance brokers and agencies optimize small group sales at wellthie.com/brokers-and-agencies/

The evolving role of the broker (Video)

Sally Poblete, Wellthie founder and CEO, recently discussed the evolving role of the benefits broker, and how insurtech solutions like Wellthie can positively impact their future.

Contact us today to schedule a demo and learn how Wellthie can help maximize your small group sales.