The relevance of brokers in the health insurance industry
Today’s article by Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers is a commentary on the recent ITIJ piece about the relevance of insurance broker services in the health insurance industry. Here, we will explain what insurance brokers do, and why using brokerage services for travel insurance, international medical insurance, or group health insurance is a supreme option for clients, and insurance companies too, as seen by the industry experts, including prominent global insurers such as Aetna health insurance, brought up in the above-mentioned article.
What do insurance brokers do?
In short, there are insurance companies that you can buy policies from directly, agents who will sell plans on the insurers’ behalf, and brokers that search and compare coverage for you. Brokers act in the best interest of the clients, helping them to compare and secure coverage based on their needs and budgets. Brokers, just like agents, take a commission from the insurer for the products sold and renewed. However, brokers remain independent of all insurers and offer many types of plans from multiple insurance providers.
Additionally, brokers will make impartial recommendations based on your, or your business’s insurance needs, and leverage their strong partnerships with insurers to negotiate the best premiums. Brokers also offer a wide range of additional, complementary services such as claims processing assistance, current plan review, and renewal, and many more, all at no additional cost.
The relevance of brokers in the health insurance industry
So why do brokers gain on relevance in today’s health insurance world? The first thought is that insurance products are often quite complicated, and for those looking to purchase travel or individual health insurance online, it can backfire in denied claims and a plethora of other issues that might arise from not fully understanding the terms and conditions of insurance jargon. Here is where insurance brokers come to benefit individual and corporate clients: with their comprehensive, personalized advice.
Professional impartial advice
One of the greatest strengths that brokers have is their territory and global insurance expertise they can share with their clients. This includes in-depth knowledge of the plans, insurers, local laws, benefits and exclusions, trends and even available network provider lists in the medical plans. Using all that knowledge to help compare and choose the right individual health plan, or group health plan between multiple insurers is something no comparison website can do to the client’s advantage as good as the brokers.
To cite our Pacific Prime’s Global Marketing Director, Stephen Ho, “While many [IPMI] insurers will have similar benefit schedules on paper, many aspects of their service (general turnaround time, leverage and communication with hospitals or additional value-added services) can vary significantly. These intangible aspects are harder to compare but are equally important to consider when buying an insurance plan”. Professionally advising clients and explaining the ins and outs of the policies ensures higher satisfaction among clients also towards the insurers.
Additional client support
Better customer service and additional customer support benefit not only the customers but also the insurance companies. “The most significant benefits brokers can bring to insurers include improved customer service and experience,” said Ho, “which ultimately lead to improved reputation and higher client retention for the insurers.”
These include smooth buying process led by the brokers, and offering further client support by, for example, claims support, ongoing education such as insurance guides and reports, help with renewing and renegotiating policies, or consulting on employee benefits plans in case of corporate clients. That way, brokers will take care of selling and keeping customers while insurers can focus on improving and developing new products.
Technology of the future
Sophisticated online quotation and comparison tools give an estimate of the price and benefits to those looking for coverage online. Investing in such a program is a must for any brokerage nowadays. Take for instance Pacific Prime’s own ‘state-of-the-art quotation system’. It compares up to 50,000 different plan combinations and issues quotations that are tailored to customers needs within 24 hours.
Besides the in-house quotation technology, investing in marketing tools to target customers online, be it via SEO, or paid ads, chatbots or apps, is what makes brokerages around the world afloat. Businesses have to adapt to the changes, and reliable answer and advice is important to gain trust and new clients.
Technology in health insurance is especially crucial when we talk about employee benefits brokers, as technology plays an enormous role in attracting, keeping, and servicing corporate clients. HR portals that can manage international employee benefits policies in different locations for one company are rare, but at the same time so much desired. Until recently treated as a nice perk, now those programs are expected by larger clients as they save hours of administrative work, and serve as a leverage point in employee benefits provider discussions with the management.
Pacific Prime at your service
Having said all that, broker services not only come at no additional cost to the clients but also with a wide range of benefits and services that enhance the usually tough experience of purchasing and managing health insurance. Pacific Prime’s 20+ years of international insurance experience, paired with exceptional customer support confirmed by multiple industry awards and thousands of happy customers are only some parts that set us apart from other companies. Besides that, strong partnerships with the largest insurance companies such as AXA health insurance, Aetna health insurance, or Bupa health insurance further give us an advantage in terms of plan recommendation, claims assistance, and even premium negotiations.
By choosing us as your employee benefits consultant, you will be paired with experienced consultants, who will help you with choosing, securing and managing your next group health insurance plan along the way. The process includes understanding your needs, requirements, and objectives over both short and long terms, helping you choose the right insurer and plan, and ongoing administration of employee benefits via experienced client teams supported by advanced, bespoke IT solutions.
Whatever your insurance requirements are, contact us for obligation-free consultation, plan comparison and quotation anytime!
When she isn’t writing, you are most likely to find Elwira in search of the perfect plant-based burger or enjoying Hong Kong’s great outdoors either at the beach or from the boat - the closer to the sea, the better!
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