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PIA National President Andy Harris Touts the Value of Agents in Healthcare

The confusion surrounding healthcare reform plays to agents’ expertise and points out their value, according to PIA National President Andrew C. Harris...
July 3, 2013

The confusion surrounding healthcare reform plays to agents’ expertise and points out their value, according to PIA National President Andrew C. Harris. Harris was interviewed for the cover story in the July 2013 issue of American Agent & Broker magazine on how producers are evolving in order to adapt to the new health insurance landscape.

“Who else has the insurance knowledge, the relationships with the clients and the ability to inform, educate and roll out these programs other than insurance agents?” he asked. Employers and individuals already look to agents for direction in the risk management process, and Harris said that producers are the “logical solution” to the need for far-reaching education, as the country transitions into healthcare reform. He said that agents may be uniquely qualified to guide people through the various mandates and legislation related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Among the Challenges, Opportunities
Increased responsibilities combined with a squeeze on compensation are resulting in pressure within agencies to deal with the current benefits dilemmas in a sustainable way—a situation that Harris believes is really an opportunity for agents who can think outside the conventional client relationship. Rather than dealing with just the employer, agents will now have direct access to employees—lots of employees. “If we start looking at voluntary benefits and products that we might be able to sell to employees, it’s just possible we could make up some of the compensation shortfalls,” he said.

Products and services such as wealth management and disability coverage may provide good inroads to this new client base. But agencies that aren’t ready to recognize and seize on these potential opportunities, that instead choose to “live and die by group insurance,” could find their revenue stream slowing to a trickle, Harris said. You can read the full article here.

Adapt to PPACA (American Agent & Broker 7/1/2013)

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