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TheStreet Open House

New Survey Finds Brokers Agree Health Care Reform Is An Opportunity For Success

COLUMBUS, Ga., June 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Due to uncertainty about the evolving health care landscape, brokers found themselves at a crossroads of either redefining their role in the industry or exiting it entirely. In fact, nearly half (49 percent) of brokers at least somewhat agree that they've been considering leaving the industry and 67 percent of brokers at least somewhat agree that they've seen many of their peers exit the industry in the past year according to the 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report for Brokers. However, this new study released today by Aflac (NYSE: AFL), the leading provider of voluntary insurance in the United States, shows that health care reform is presenting new opportunities for those choosing to stay in the business.

Conducted by Research Now on behalf of Aflac, the online survey of more than 300 brokers found that more than one-third (36 percent) completely/strongly agree that health care legislation represents an opportunity for them and their business and half (50 percent) say they completely/strongly agree that they have confidence in their firm and the industry's future.

"It's encouraging that many brokers have a positive mindset about their business and clearly see the opportunity in the marketplace," said Tye Elliott, vice president of Core Broker Sales at Aflac. "Many are adapting to the changing health care environment by expanding their focus to be more consultative and to offer a wider range of products and services. Our data shows that this has been a successful strategy as many businesses are now relying more heavily on their partners for guidance."

Brokers Are Needed Now More Than Ever

Despite many brokers exiting the industry, employers are relying on experts more than ever to help them make smart benefits decisions. In fact, employers have steadily increased their use of brokers over the past three years, with year-over-year use of brokers growing from 56 percent in 2011 to 61 percent in 2013 to 64 percent in 2014. Some of that increase could be related to employers' lack of preparedness for health care reform. The Aflac study found that:

  • Nearly 8 in 10 (79 percent) brokers at least somewhat agree that their clients aren't prepared for health care reform and nearly one-third (31 percent) completely/strongly agree with that statement.
  • 27 percent of brokers named "client uncertainty about health care reform" as the top issue for their firm right now.
  • Almost half (45 percent) of companies will be relying more on brokers or insurance providers to help make changes to benefits due to the changing health care environment.

Growing Business Through Voluntary Insurance Benefits

Brokers are going beyond their usual product offerings and taking advantage of new avenues to achieve success. In the next 12 months, about 4 in 10 (38 percent) brokers say the proportion of voluntary insurance benefits they sell will increase, and 53 percent say they plan to increase their firm's revenue from voluntary insurance benefits. Brokers who have leveraged this strategy are seeing it pay off. The study showed:

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