5 Signs It’s Time to Switch Your Benefits Broker in 2018

Tim Sackett Benefits Communication

We all hang on to things too long.

We stick with our doctor even though we don’t like him. We stick with our cell phone company, even though they treat us like you-know-what. We refuse to throw out that suitcase we got in college that’s missing a wheel and a huge pain to drag around the airport, because who throws out a suitcase? We don’t.

If you’re an HR pro like me, the same holds true for our relationships to brokers. Way too often we grin and bear it, even when all the evidence is screaming at us to make a change. Why? We either think the bad stuff is par for the course, or we assume the pain of switching is going to be worse than the pain of sticking around…which just isn’t true.

So if you’re on the fence about your broker, how will you know it’s time to pull the plug?

Here are five warning signs to look out for:

#1. You keep getting surprised

You thought it was going to be a 4% increase in your plan this year, but your broker came back and “was surprised as you” that it was really 14%! This should not happen. If it does, it’s a sign you need to cut bait.

#2. You dread talking to your broker

If you dread meeting with your benefits broker, your body is giving you a sign that something isn’t right. You might know what’s behind it, or you might not, but pay attention to your intuition. A broker that doesn’t make you feel this way is out there, eager to win you over.

#3. You constantly feel like you’re being sold to

Every broker has to sell you stuff, that’s reality. But, you shouldn’t feel sold to. Your broker should be a partner advising you on products that can help your organization and telling you the expected ROI for those products. Because I love transparency, I ask my own broker what they’ll be making on me using the product they’re trying to get me to use. I’m fine with him making money on something that’s good for my employees, but the way I see it…let’s be upfront about the whole process.

#4. You’re the one educating your broker about new benefits tools, not the other way around

It’s your broker’s job not just to give you what you know you need, but to be thinking ahead to what you don’t know you need. Sure, sometimes you’ll ask them about something they’re not familiar with. And hopefully they quickly do some research and get back to you. But if this is the norm, not the exception, you’ve got a problem.

#5. They make you look bad

You’re in a meeting with your CFO. The CFO asks a question you’re prepared for because you knew it would be coming and you got the data you needed from your broker. However, the data was wrong or incomplete and you now look like a fool in front of your CFO. That should not happen.

Naturally, your current broker will always make you feel like it’s difficult and painful to change. It’s called self-preservation. The truth is, it’s not hard to change from a bad broker to a great broker. In fact, that great broker will make it so easy for you, you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t change years earlier!

So as we move into 2018, make it a priority to switch brokers if you’re not satisfied. It might be the single most important benefit change you make this year.


And if you enjoyed this post, make sure to also check out:

8 Questions to Ask Benefits Brokers Before You Hire Them
3 Reasons to Add an Interactive Benefits Decision Support Tool to Your 2018 Budget NOW
5 Tips for Helping Millennials (and Post-Millennials) Actually Use Their New Plans!