Six Questions to Ask Your Insurance and Benefits Broker

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Your company’s insurance and benefits offerings are the second largest company employee expense outside of your employee payroll expense. At the center of this second largest company expense sits your insurance broker who has the ability to impact your organization at a very large scale. Your insurance programs, total rewards and work perks directly impact the following:

Employee turnover and retention numbers

Employee stress levels as it relates to finances and insurance questions

Workplace productivity and production levels

Job offer acceptance rates and candidate quality

What is An Insurance Broker?

An insurance broker is the person or organization who sells, solicits, or negotiates insurance for compensation. An insurance broker is often thought of as a salesperson who is selling and negotiating insurance programs for companies. Yes, insurance brokers are compensated monthly a commission rate based on a percentage of a company’s employee insurance plan, they’ve negotiated with your carriers. However, an insurance broker is not just a salesperson. They have to be a partner, planner and communicator working on behalf of and the best interest of the companies who rely on them for employee benefit program communication, benefit compliance changes and recommendations for new plan offerings that better suit the company’s unique employee and also business needs.

What is an insurance broker? This is a question you probably might have asked yourself given the recent media frenzy surrounding Zenefits and questioning surrounding their licensing practices. I believe now is the perfect time to sit down with your current insurance broker to understand their business philosophies and practices to determine if he/she aligns with you.

Six Questions to Ask Your Benefits Insurance Broker

Recently, I sat down for a podcast interview with Decisely an insurance broker  company, and we discussed what an insurance broker does and does not do for business and HR leaders. In that interview, Justin Roberts outlined six important questions to ask your benefits broker either if you are interviewing new broker prospects or want to make sure your current broker aligns with your philosophies. You can listen to the podcast interview by clicking here, however, I thought these questions were so important they deserved their own article because a total rewards and comprehensive benefits package, really impacts the larger company.

1. What is your client profile and what industries you work in?

2. What is your unique way of controlling healthcare costs?

3. What is your approach to employee benefits communication?

4. What is your relationship with the carrier?

5. How do you handle compliance?

6. How do you measure and set up technology for your clients


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Scott says

    I like that you recommend to ask the broker what the relationship is with each carrier. I can see why some brokers might have a different relationship with different insurance companies. I think that it is also important to ask the broker what methods of communication would be best to use. That way, if you need to contact them, you can use the appropriate channels to get through.

  2. Precious Leyva says

    That’s a great idea to ask a broker which industry they work in. Some brokers have multiple niches. In case a person may need a broker for more than one project, they can have a go to if they find someone who can work with multiple industries.


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