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The more things change the more they stay the same

Dec 29, 2020

It has been twelve years since we started Employee Navigator, and while it’s amazing to think how much change we have all witnessed, in many respects the fundamentals of our industry are the same today as they were when we started the business.  I came across an old presentation we put together for brokers from 2009 that discussed the importance of a broker being in control their customers data.

Slide from 2009

While the words have changed, the key themes discussed over ten years ago have stood the test of time.  If a broker takes on the job of managing their customers online enrollment, they are in the driver’s seat compared to another agency that decides to outsource those same responsibilities to a 3rd party.  Here is a slide from a presentation we did for brokers earlier in 2020. Notice the the messaging over that ten-year period has remained remarkably consistent.

Slide from 2020

What has changed is that we now have data to prove this is the right strategy. Brokers who control the technology used by their customers don’t have to work with a 3rd party to add new benefits and drive additional premium dollars. They simply add the benefits to Employee Navigator and magically the employees are presented with those options during the enrollment process. Moving online also meaningfully impacts both participation rates and employee education. In the past, new hires had to rely solely on HR to summarize the benefit offering. In practice that meant a discussion of the group’s health plans and 401k options, but rarely were new hires provided details of the additional voluntary and worksite products being offered. Leading brokers are now spending time adding in comprehensive details including vides, FAQs, plan comparisons, and plan documents to ensure that every employee has access to the information they need to make an informed decision.

The upside of managing customers online extends well past driving additional revenue. Doing so enables brokers control the customer experience by increasing the number of interactions they have with customers. What does controlling the customer experience look like? It means a broker controlling the implementation timelines and the customer service standards, not a 3rd party. It means the broker is the first person a customer calls when a question or issue arises, not a nameless call center. It means a broker has their finger on the pulse of their customers, knowing every time an employee is hired, terminated, or has a life event.

At Employee Navigator we have the benefit of being able to measure these key trends across thousands of brokers and over forty thousand employers. The data shows that the fastest growing agencies are moving more of their customers online beyond just enrollment. Those brokers are providing more services including call centers for employees, HR services like onboarding, PTO, and ACA reporting. In talking with these brokers what we hear time and again is that they are focused on delivering the best digital customer experience and understand when they outsource those responsibilities, the quality drops and negatively impacts their customers.

George Reese


Employee Navigator