Adapted from an article originally published in the June 2021 issue of America’s Benefit Specialist, the official publication of The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)

By John Kelly
CEO, Nexben
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thanks to smartphones, we’re used to having everything we could possibly need at our fingertips – a portable television, speakers, computer, camera, and even flashlight. Our grocery stores do our shopping for us, then deliver what we need to our door. It’s hard to think of anything that is the same now as it was ten years ago…that is, until you consider the health insurance marketplace.

As we all know from personal experience, health insurance is in desperate need of a boost in consumer accessibility. While other industries have progressed by leaps and bounds, the health insurance marketplace has intentionally been left as is. This isn’t a fluke; it makes sense why innovation in this field would be so unwelcome. If a machine can manage the health insurance marketplace, then where do brokers fit in? The fact of the matter is that brokers will be even more important in the future.

Brokers can use technology to position themselves as innovative, solutions-oriented partners who are finding ways to eliminate a very manual and mundane process. Here’s what’s in it for them:

  • Improved customer relations – a broker’s client wants the reassurance they are working with someone who is on top of the industry advances and understands the benefits technology brings to the table. Technology allows a broker to communicate more effectively and faster, ultimately providing much-improved service.
  • Time Savings – technology is a primary driver for improved efficiency. The manual processes can get greatly reduced, if not eliminated, by the adoption of technology.
  • Transparency – by embracing technology brokers are able to display all options available to a client. Being able to show a broader view of available plans and rates can lead a client to make more informed decisions and also lead to potential, and often tremendous, costs savings. Ultimately the broker provides better service and increases trust level with the client.

In the world of on-demand innovation, we’ve seen what happens to those companies who don’t adapt and embrace change. Like the retailers who have been able to rise above the challenges of online shopping via technology modernization and adaptation, brokers will also need to modernize their own way of operating to stay relevant.

Technology should be embraced and seen as a resource to enhance a broker’s value—not as a cumbersome roadblock. Billions of dollars are being invested into Insurtech and we’re going to continue to see new solutions and ideas that are designed to improve the health insurance industry.