Concept of leader and leadership as a group of chess pawn pieces with one piece casting a shadow of a king as a metaphor for potential as a 3D render.

Have you ever purchased something with certain expectations, only to find that they either exceeded what you thought you bought, or were disappointed in the purchase? And sometimes we think that certain things are similar when in fact they are different – either better or worse. We assume that because some things appear to be the same only to find out that they are not. Maybe it’s because of a brand, the way it looks, or we jump to our own conclusions.

I have been in this business for many years and in that time I have seen my former associates as well as competitors being labeled is all the same – insurance brokers – kind of like auto dealers. I’ve also seen employers who assume that since all brokers are the same, they must have access to the same programs and products.

Well, theoretically everyone has access to those programs and products, but at the end of the day insurance brokers and/or consultants only illustrate those that they are either very familiar with or choose to offer. Continuing the “status quo” makes it easy and profitable too.

A number of years ago I got tired of the way insurance agencies, insurance companies, and traditional brokers operate. Also, I got frustrated with being labeled the same as everyone else by employers. That’s when I chose to go a different route and form my own company. The route I chose was to put my clients interests ahead of my own, my company’s interest, and not put my bottom line ahead of my clients.

My father was an attorney, and as he was said when I first started this business “put everybody’s interest ahead of your own and everything with us work out fine.” I’ve tried to subscribe to that message in my career.

Putting everyone else’s interest ahead of my own means to put their bottom line ahead of mine, attempt to find the very best solution for their problems and issues, introduce them to the right relationships, follow through with my commitments and promises, and assure them that whatever solutions I bring to the table perform at a high-level.

Other brokers may not be able to deliver those promises due to the direction that their superiors want them to take, or that their agency requires. I’ve been there done that. Being able to set my own course and the course of my clients means that I don’t have to answer to a superior who wants to maximize and drive revenue every way they can.

A perfect example of that is those brokers and consultants who thrive off of commissions and are not transparent about revenue incentives that they get from insurance companies or other vendors. While commissions artificially inflate premiums for health insurance plans, brokers get paid handsomely through incentives and overrides on their book of business, which by the way are not disclosed. They may also get paid on prescription rebates, new business implementation incentives, trips, or other tangible items.

Just like a lot of other things, an employer needs to “look under the hood” and ask the right questions of those who they are currently working with, or those who they might choose to work with. While most brokers are all the same and enjoy the status quo, there are those of us who seek innovation and better ways of doing things for our clients.

If you’d like to learn more about “looking under the hood,” email me at frank.stichter@strategichpc.com and I’ll send you a free copy of my book “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.” It will tell you everything you need to know about working with brokers and consultants.

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Strategic Healthplan Consulting LLC